Applauz Blog

12 Simple Ways to Improve Employee Happiness

Published: January 14, 2020

Last Updated: February 7, 2024

  4 min read


Here are simple ideas you any leader can implement to improve employee happiness and morale on your team.

The days of prison-like cubicle farms are gone. At least for the most part. These dubious and rigid work environments, which prioritized profit and above all else, have been slowly replaced by an open, human, and socially-driven work culture. Modern leaders know that producing profit and happy customers starts with a strong foundation of happy employees.

That said, the ultimate goal of improving work culture is to not only keep up with the evolving job market but to prioritize employee happiness above all else. Because when you put your people first, the rest will naturally follow.

Business team working togetherCost-effective ideas to boost employee morale

In this article, we will look at twelve (12) simple and cost-effective ways to boost employee happiness. These easy-to-implement ideas are the types of “perks” that work to boost morale and sweeten the deal in terms of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

These are especially great ideas to implement if you’re a small or growing business that is not always able to remain highly competitive in terms of salary or benefits.

1. Offer paid lunch

Offering the occasionally paid team lunch is a great way to boost morale, make time to socialize, and show appreciation for your team. Especially in the context of accomplishing a challenging goal or long-term objective. If you’re on a budget, you can opt for something more economical like pizza, and if your budget is more flexible, you can even splurge for some sushi. You can use the Poll feature on an employee recognition software like Applauz to determine what type of meal would make your team happy.

2. Allow employees to bring their dog to the office

Many modern offices are moving towards being fully dog-friendly. Depending on the size of your office and the number of employees, it may not be realistic to make this a daily event. However, making “dog day” a monthly or even weekly day will bring smiles to the whole office and definitely boost morale.

3. Break up the day with an activity

Long monotonous and repetitive days are the antithesis of fun. Sure, work isn’t supposed to be fun and games ALL the time, but it shouldn’t be dreary and dull either. Intentionally breaking up the routine with organized group activities can be very beneficial to team morale. Group activities allow employees to relax mentally but also have the added benefit of building connections with colleagues.

4. Take an interest in your employee’s lives

Think about how it feels when someone takes a genuine interest in your life and asks you questions about who you are, your background, what your interests and passions are, etc. For most people, this feels good. After all, people generally love talking about themselves. Managers should be taking notes, as this costs absolutely nothing, and also requires very little time. However, for impact to occur on a higher level, managers must make regular time to chat with their employees. Being genuine is key.

5. Reward big wins

It’s important to give recognition for the work employees does on a day-to-day or weekly basis. However, rewarding a big win or goal is even more critical. Recognizing employees that raise the bar will elevate the standard for everyone on the team. It sets a precedent, boosts morale, and inspires everyone into action. Formally recognizing employees is easy with a cost-effective employee recognition software like Applauz.

6. Regular mini team huddles

Sports team huddle during games for a reason: To go over a pre-planned strategy, but it also mentally "pumps up" the team for the next play. Team huddles unite people, which helps create a sense of positive energy and affiliation with each other. Regularly having team huddles has been a long-standing way for businesses to boost employee morale cost-effectively.

7. Prioritize physical wellness

Happy employees are both physically and emotionally healthy. Employers can provide employees with options for a healthier lifestyle at work. For example, you can provide healthy breakfasts and snacks throughout the day instead of the standard junk food and sodas from vending machines. You can also help promote an active lifestyle by creating a designated area for stretching, yoga, and other physical wellness activities.

8. Encourage employees interests

People feel more satisfied in all types of relationships--professional or otherwise--when they feel like they can “be themselves.” Ultimately, people are happy when they feel seen in their relationships. This truth extends to our work environments as well. Encourage your employees to be themselves and encourage their interests and passions as well. People will feel happier going into work when they believe they can take their "mask" off.

7 Research Based Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement Download PDF Now

9. Offer paid day off for birthdays

If you are unable to offer an entire day off for a birthday, you can provide a free extended birthday lunch instead. It’s important to highlight an employee’s milestones (like birthdays, weddings, having a baby, etc.) but also their formal work anniversaries. These celebrations add a component of fun and lighthearted energy into the work environment, which helps to break up the monotony and boost people’s moods overall.

10. Host social events

Nothing boosts morale like a social event. When the walls come down between coworkers, and we learn to get to know them on a personal level, our day-to-day becomes a lot more pleasant. You can host a simple “happy hour,” or organize a more elaborate event like a keynote speech or panel discussion on a topic of interest. Ultimately, hosting social events of any kind promotes interpersonal relationship building.

11. Comfortable and flexible relaxing lounge areas

It’s a misconception that you need a huge budget to create an employee lounge area that’s comfortable, warm, and relaxing. Inexpensive furniture has never been so widely available. Also, small accent items like plants, rugs, colourful posters add much-needed "homey" warmth to a dull office space. Ultimately, a designated space where employees can unwind, socialize, or do some quiet work is essential to employee satisfaction.

12. Support interdepartmental collaboration

Feeling stuck in a predetermined role and a rigid structure can have a profound negative effect on one's mental well-being. In short, people never want to feel trapped in a dull routine or role. And even the most exciting job can begin to feel routine after some time. Allowing employees to spend half a day with another department, learning about their tasks and responsibilities is a great way to break up the routine, grow individual and shared knowledge, and build connections between colleagues.


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A Happier Workplace


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