By Charissa Struble

The environment you provide for your employees is important. In fact, a comfortable workplace can do wonders for morale. Employees feel energized, valued, and creative.  Productivity increases, absences occur less, and leaders emerge. It’s a win-win situation with you, your employees, and customers on the receiving end.

Aside from perks and recognition programs, what can you do to encourage your employees? There are actually a lot of things you can do but this list is among the most unexpected. Occasionally, it takes something unpredictable to catch your employees off guard and to give them the motivation that they need to succeed.

Create a Comfortable Work Environment

Creating a sense of comfort doesn’t require a complete remodel of your office. You don’t have to include a high dollar coffee machine or pool table in the break room to see results. There are a number of different things you can do to inspire your employees.  Most cost very little, if nothing, to implement.

Here are four unexpected ways to boost office morale.

1. Color

If you want productivity to increase, choose blue. In addition to its ability to calm people, the color also is associated with honesty and safety. If you want to empower your employees, paint your office a tranquil shade of blue.  People respond emotionally to certain colors so a simple paint job can energize your office quickly and inexpensively.

2. Sound

University of Miami Assistant Professor Teresa Lesiuk wrote an article about how sound affects workplace performance. Her findings determined that people who listen to music in the office perform better than those who don’t.  A release of dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, can help workers focus.  The reward area of the brain is activated which makes for a far more successful workday.

3. Charitable Giving

Support your employees’ favorite charities and causes by encouraging a “day of giving” each quarter. Allow your workers to take a day off from their normal responsibilities and help out in the community. Make it a part of their benefits package. Factor in one paid day of service every few months and share photos and stories on your social media accounts as a way of encouraging others to volunteer.

4. Fragrance-Free Policy

Scent sensitivities can make it hard to work in closed quarters. Rather than subject people to their employees’ fragrance preferences, many employers are adopting a fragrance-free policy. This ensures that everyone is comfortable and working optimally. Everyone has experiencing the overwhelming odor of too much cologne or perfume. What may seem like just a spray or two to one person can make their co-workers lose focus and even develop headaches because of the fragrance. It’s not that pleasant smells aren’t welcome in the workplace. It’s more about accommodating everyone rather than being preferential to a few.

Office morale can be boosted in a number of different ways. By changing the culture of your workplace, you can operate better which will ultimately show in everything you do.  Your employees will be happier, healthier, and more cooperative. This will show in your day-to-day operations.

Satisfied Employees Equals Satisfied Customers

Your customers will also benefit from the increase in productivity and positivity in your workplace. You’ll see satisfactory results and big profits whenever you invest in your employees. People will feel more inclined to share their opinion of your company with others, which will increase your customer base.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on workplace incentives. Make a few changes and see how they brighten the atmosphere. Chances are, your employees will show you how pleased they are with the performance they deliver each and every day.