Employee dissatisfaction is costing global enterprises big time; over three hundred billion USD annually to be exact, according to the Healthways Gallup Wellbeing Index. So what factors contribute to employee happiness? And how can managers truly begin to address them? Plenty of companies have responded to these daunting statistics with free food, table footballs, gym memberships and office dogs (A for effort) — but it turns out that there is much more to the equation of employee happiness.
A little vacation goes a long way. In a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study, 77% of talent managers and human resource professionals asserted that fully utilizing vacation time leave drives higher employee performance and productivity, boosts organizational morale, promotes employee wellness, and in the long-term, upholds higher employee retention. Plain and simple, more rest and relaxation for employees is a game-changer in the workplace.
There’s no ‘i’ in “team” (or “happy”)
Companies are more frequently experimenting with team building workshops and bonding exercises. Why?
Steven H. Carney, author of bestselling teamwork and human resource guides, explains that such exercises can help managers and employees develop interactive skills and learn how to collaborate and communicate effectively. Team relationships are a direct contributor to employee happiness. The glue that holds any team together is where the recipe for success lies: this “glue” is what promotes problem solving, creative thinking, and in turn, productivity.
Freedom & Flexibility
87% of workers report that work flexibility increases their productivity and overall job satisfaction.(Center for Work & Family, 2010).
Some of the most progressive companies like Netflix, are incorporating a “make your own schedule” policy, with the option of working from home. With perks like frequent breaks, personal space, and all the comforts of home (literally), it’s no wonder allowing and encouraging employees to work remotely directly translates into personal empowerment and thus, job satisfaction. Granted, everyone works differently, and while one employee may thrive creatively at home, others still will prefer the traditional office space. It’s worth mentioning that we are certainly not out to discredit the traditional office environment — there are benefits to this setup which do not go unnoticed, like easy access to team face-to-face communication, facilitation of group brainstorming, comradery, routine, and physical resources like reliable internet.
Mix it up
What do some of the world’s most successful companies, like Automattic (who is responsible for powering nearly a quarter of all websites on the internet) and Buffer, have in common? They take their employees for an annual meetup, workation or a team retreat.
‘Hack week’, grand meet-up’, working holiday, team escape — call it what you will, the concept has a universal motive, and universally proven results in boosting employee happiness. A change of scenery with encouraged R&R at the end of the day is a great way to spark creativity and boost productivity. It’s easy to get into an unproductive rut while staring at the same wall eight hours a day, five times a week.
Not only that, but the interaction of team members in a new environment where they feel relaxed opens doors to “new” communication — communication spanning beyond “the 12 o’clock meeting got pushed back to 1” or “can I borrow your stapler?” talk that makes for a more comfortable relationship and connection. It makes employees more readily confident to ask a team member for help; turn to them for support — mentally, professionally, and establish a team relationship which is symbiotic and productive. In short, it is metaphorically bringing life to work and work to life.
The Silver Bullet
So what if there was a way to combine all of these factors into one simple solution? What if there was a way to boost employee happiness by offering them a team retreat — providing the team with the benefits of a traditional office, some well deserved rest & relaxation, increased workplace freedom, all while strengthening team relationships through bonding activities?
Welcome to The Wolfhouse®
‘Los Gigantes, Tenerife’
The philosophy of the NextRetreat is rooted in the manifestation of each of these core components to employee happiness. A team retreat — a fully equipped office space with a remote lifestyle twist, comfortable accommodation, team building activities like surf or stand up paddle lessons, yoga, wine tasting or mountain hiking, and a tropical island of Tenerife with a vacation-like scenery. What you’re left with is happy, productive employees. Who said there was no such thing as a silver bullet?
Kimberley Murphy is a remote worker, solo traveler and tourism/destination marketing specialist. She studied public relations in Virginia, USA and received her MBA from Kingston University, London.