There is a plethora of priceless ways you can promote motivation and happiness in the workplace. The common misconception is that a high-performing environment needs a big budget for incentives and other superficial tangibles.
What if I told you there are activities and habits you can adopt in your workplace culture that will yield immeasurable benefits at little to no cost?
The key is finding creative ways to trigger natural happy chemicals.
Happy chemicals motivate and inspire us to do productive and positive things in our personal and professional lives. The bonus? We feel good about it!
Think of happy chemicals as D.O.S.E.
Dopamine: Enables motivation, learning, goal accomplishment, and pleasure.
Oxytocin: Enables the building and sustaining of relationships, bonding, and trust.
Serotonin: Enables natural happiness, feelings of significance and acceptance.
Endorphins: Enables euphoria and blocks physical pain responses, stress and anxiety reliever.
Studies have shown ways to trigger natural happy chemicals include:
A workplace proficient in adopting habits and activities that trigger and/or increase these happy chemicals experience benefits of: healthier individuals, positive relationships, and problem solving skills.
In a workplace deficient of happy chemical producing individuals can experience: more employee call outs (increase in sick time and FMLA), procrastination, low motivation, mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and social phobias.
Each chemical has their own trigger benefits and deficiency risks. Activities like exercise, meditation, and certain food items are common triggers among the four natural happy chemicals.
Deficiency risks like anxiety, lack of motivation, and compulsive behaviors are also common among the four chemicals. It is important to be an observant leader to detect these habits and create strategies or sustaining traditions that will boost employee morale and performance by triggering the release of D.O.S.E.
There are things currently taking place in the workplace and things that can be implemented to professionally trigger a release of natural happy chemicals. For example, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Atlanta Chapter has events like “Walk With The Consultant.” This offers participants a chance to enjoy the outdoors (sunshine), exercising (walk), socializing, and learning.
Employers are beginning to understand employee self-development and career planning offers exponential benefits to their overall atmosphere, but has served as an important tool in talent and succession planning.
An organization elevated their thinking and implemented “career passports.” After sitting down with leadership, the employee would be involved in planning their careers as well as the tasks and skills needed to attain those goals. The employee is given a tangible “professional passport” that earns accomplishment stamps as certain trainings, projects, and roles are fulfilled. There are many more best demonstrated practices and ideas that have gained popularity and favorable results.
Organizational leaders have championed activities such as:
- Professional pep rallies
- Lunch and learns
- Motivational music at recognition meetings and day openers
- Playing clips of motivational/inspirational speeches and allowing discussions
- Changing up the locations of meetings and conferences
- Providing more training opportunities
- Innovative, optimized, flexible Schedules
- Volunteer and training opportunities
- Lunch and town hall meetings with senior leaders
- Fun and creative retrospective meetings
- Team builders/ice breakers
- Fun nostalgia activities like “Name That Theme Song”
- Themed production competitions, i.e., divide your team into Harry Potter Houses and create friendly competitive games, March Madness, Ultimate Tag, Survivor, etc.
As leaders, take a moment to think about how your team meetings, recognition strategies, one-on-ones, and everyday work activities can be elevated with an implementation of D.O.S.E.
You are challenged to take it a step further and have brainstorming sessions with your team. This is an easy way to show that you recognize and value their opinions. Additionally, it will give your team a sense of significance and empowerment.
Investing time in these strategies will offer you and your organization significant lifts in mood, employee satisfaction, and overall performance.