Creating a work environment where workers are free and interact with their superiors without fear is beneficial for a business. Such environments have been praised to improve creativity and productivity among workers. But, as a boss, it’s not always easy to break the norm and get all workers feel free to approach you. What are your options?
Perhaps, you should invest in the social area of your office – the break room. Having such a space in your office doesn’t mean workers will spend the rest of the day there, but their one hour spent here breaks the monotony of the normal work schedule and will revamp their creative side. Now, as the leader, you have to make a deliberate effort to visit this roam during your break time so that you can meet with those under you. Here are 4 ideas you can implement and get the benefits of active interaction with employees:
Equip Your Office Coffee Area
If you must turn the coffee space into your spotlight, then there has to be enough room to accommodate as many workers as possible at once. They will flock here during their break time and you increase the possibility of chance encounters and unforeseen conversations with them. But, the break room should be well equipped to attract workers.
Today’s enterprises are designing their offices to include fun facilities such as swings, bowling alleys, video game rooms and others. You can also follow suit and have your coffee break room equipped with nice chairs, a coffee machine, fridge, and microwave. In fact, you may go further and add snacks, coffee varieties, and other beverages so that employees can always find a bite anytime they are here.
Make Break Time Mandatory
Even if you have a well-equipped coffee area in your office but everybody is busy with work, you are likely to find yourself alone in this room. And definitely, this isn’t what is going to make you a social star in your office. You need people to hang around this room. A quick way is to come up with office rules that encourage breaks from work.
No matter how busy the day is, make it a rule that every employee must enjoy some time for a break. It could be half an hour break, one hour, two or any amount of time that’s agreeable with the business’s policy. This way, you’ll have higher chances of finding people in the coffee area. Besides, a break gives them time to re-energize and make sure the rest of their day is spent productively.
Organize Weekly Fun Activities in The Break Room
“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” goes the old adage. Some fun in the office doesn’t just relieve work tension and stress, but it’s also a good way of breaking the social barrier between employees and their superiors. By organizing games and friendly competition, you create a relaxed environment where people can interact without the constraints of their job status.
As the leader, you get a chance to know different workers and can forge relationships that could be hard to achieve in a strict work environment. If you make these a weekly routine, you increase non-official interactions which could encourage even the introverts in a team to feel at ease. So, go on and begin a barista competition, celebrate birthdays in the coffee room, or hold an occasional dress-down day with a certain theme and award the best dressed.
Do Office Coffee Space Personalization
One of the important aspects of an effective break room is uniqueness. You don’t want it to appear like an additional office room. Though you may paint it in different colors and choose a unique layout to make it stand out, you can achieve better social results by personalizing it.
For instance, try allowing workers to use personalized coffee mugs, hang group photos of different teams or add the organization’s structure chart. On the bulletin board, don’t just put official announcements only, but also include fun items like “pet photo of the week” or any other items that can easily trigger conversations. The idea here is to have décor items that can easily get unfamiliar people talking.
Whether in business, homes or civil service, leadership is about influence. A leader can influence people to act in a certain direction by setting an example. So, as the boss in your office, use the break room to bring employees closer to you and boost their spirits, as you inspire the kind of culture you want for your business.
Cassie Smith is a Marketing Manager at 7 Grams Coffee, an office coffee and machine supplier for 300+ offices around Australia. Her pleasures in life revolve around traveling, cycling and spreading the word about high-quality coffee.