Thinking Outside the Cube: How to Boost Your Office’s Culture in the Windy Cityby Gavin Meacham on March 11, 2019 in MindSpring News
Business leaders spend a majority of their careers chasing productivity, searching for team members who can effectively churn out work and keep the books positive. It’s for this reason that office culture often falls by the wayside and can be overlooked by employers focused on workflows and impending deadlines. However, encouraging a fun, inclusive, and thriving office culture allows for more effective collaboration between colleagues, leading your employees to work better as a team and become more invested in your organization while building meaningful workplace relationships.
Boosting your office’s culture doesn’t happen overnight. Luckily, in a cultural mecca like Chicago, employers have endless opportunities at their disposal. Here’s where to get started.
Promote Recharging Activities
Operating in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting every day is enough to turn even the happiest employee sour. And while many of us know the benefits of taking breaks throughout the work day, it’s a lot easier said than done. Take the initiative and offer optional recharging activities throughout the work week that allow employees the opportunity to unwind while still keeping their brain active.
Whether it’s sticking a puzzle in the lunchroom, organizing a mid-day walking group to get some fresh air, or gathering a club to try out a new local coffee joint each week, it’s important to create situations where employees can momentarily disconnect from their 9-5 work. The best part of all: these few extra minutes a week don’t result in time lost. In fact, when employees participate in these activities, they go back to their desk with more focus and energy than before.
Provide Brain Fuel
Did you know that career development opportunities contribute to job satisfaction for 89% of millennials and 73% of baby boomers? Your employees want to learn. Take advantage of this by providing educational material to your staff that they can access during breaks or in their free time, like LinkedIn Learning courses. Another great (and relatively cheap) initiative is a lunch-and-learn. Simply enlist a subject matter expert from your staff and have them prepare a short presentation on that topic for the rest of your team. Offer catered food from a local eatery and let the conversation flow. If you don’t want to cut into employees’ personal time on the job, opt for a happy hour with a cold one after work instead.
Do your best not to make this brain fuel feel like homework. Similar to planning recharging activities, these should be optional benefits to supplement your employees’ hard work, not additional stressors for their to-do list. If done correctly, these programs are great ways to make your team feel valued and get their creative juices flowing – not to mention the additional investment you’re making into your organization. Win-win!
Take It O.O.O.
Now, it’s time to take your strategy to the next level – out of office. Chicago is the perfect landscape to tackle this challenge. Who said field trips were only for kids, anyway?
You may want to dip your toe in the water with something simple and straightforward. If that’s the case, consider:
- Treating your employees to a Cubs or White Sox The atmosphere in a baseball stadium is one of comradery and excitement. While your team may not get much work done, it’s a nice change-up from the office.
- Taking your staff to one of the many spring and summer events hosted at the Lincoln Park Zoo. With options like Chicago Wine Fest, Craft Brews at the Zoo, and Breakfast with the Animals, you’re guaranteed to find something everyone will enjoy.
And don’t stop there. A staggering 88% of millennials find their job to be more fulfilling when provided with the ability to make a difference in their community – capitalize on this by sponsoring a local cause, such as:
Work together to donate resources, time, or your services, and even consider offering quarterly Volunteer Time Off for employees to volunteer during regular work hours. For your more active employees, create a team to participate in charity walks or runs. The Move for Kids 5K and Dash for Detection 5K are just two of the hundreds of incredible events that your team could support.
Okay, that was a lot of information to digest – but there are just SO many opportunities for team development in the windy city. Ultimately, implementing a strategy to boost your office’s culture is relatively easy, especially when you’re based in a metropolis like Chicago. By making some minor tweaks to the daily office routine, you’ll be sure to see a monumental difference in your office’s culture, and productivity, in no time.
Help us help you. Tell us about the talent that you’re searching for, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Gavin is a natural at navigating obstacles. As our Managing Principal, he strives to be a high-level resource for clients looking to make the most out of their workforce. Gavin also actively provides the MindSpring team with insight and mentorship to constantly improve the ways the candidate experience.
Gavin loves living in Wicker Park, winters and all, but would ideally like to live beachside in southern New South Wales. When his life inevitably gets turned into the next Pixar blockbuster, he’s betting they’ll cast Hugh Jackman to bring his character alive. Plus, Gavin is completely convinced that toast is the best food ever (you can do anything with it, he says) and routinely crushes the New York Times crossword puzzle with his mind powers.