Turning Crabby Employees Into Happy Employees


By now moody March is behind us and we’re looking forward to warmer weather and revived spirits. At least one can hope. With hard winter weather creating difficult driving conditions, plant and office closures and many a missed deadline, you and your staff may be under considerable stress. You may have even seen an increase in workplace meltdowns.

So what’s to be done with a crabby workforce? Lots!

  •  Plan some fun activities, such as a bowling night, card tournament or pizza night. If that doesn’t work with your workplace culture, find a charity to support and organize fund raising events that can be done at work, during working hours. Social activities give everyone an opportunity to focus on something other than work-related annoyances. Even if the participation rate isn’t the best, those who do participate, and the charity will benefit from a fun time.
  •  Hold a ‘Take your Dog to Work’ day. We love our pets, and having an opportunity to show them off can be an act of kindness to both the pet and the proud owner. Take Your Dog To Work Day® celebrates dogs and promotes their adoption. The next organized TYDTW Day is Friday, June 20, 2014. More information and helpful tips on making this a successful event is available on www.takeyourdog.com. For maximum impact, combine this fun event with a charity fund-raiser.
  • Consider setting aside a private space where employees can go to nap, meditate or just chill out for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a quiet spot with a bit of privacy will do.
  • Organize a lunch time walking group. A five-minute stretch followed by ten minutes of walking, followed by a glass of water can be invigorating and a healthy alternative to sitting in front of a computer screen or gossiping in the lunch room.
  • Do a spring cleaning. Sort through and store or dispose of unwanted documents and publications (keeping in mind your organization’s document disposal policy), and give work areas a good scrubbing. The clean-up can be done over a few days to keep the activity fresh. 
  • Say a big hello to greet co-workers, especially if you’re a manager. Set a great example by being courteous and friendly. If it doesn’t feel genuine at first, keep at it and sooner or later it’ll become second nature.
  • Talk about it. Open dialogue before behaviours escalate can act as a deterrent and even help smooth over troubled waters.
  • Consider including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in your benefits offering. EAPs help those experiencing personal and work-related problems access professional help before their productivity is compromised. It is a confidential service that is available to managers and employees alike.
  • Ask for, and listen to feedback. Simply asking your workforce for their thoughts can go a long way to helping them feel included and important to the success of the organization. Give the feedback or idea the right amount of consideration and say thank you. You may be surprised at the great ideas people bring forward.
  • Bring in treats from time to time. Communal dining is a very social activity and the occasional free donuts (or fruit) and coffee can turn a humdrum day into a good day.
  • Encourage chair yoga to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Even 15 minutes can calm the mind and help your workforce feel better.
  • Bring in the green. Plants are said to improve air quality and add luster and beauty to a space. Some evidence shows that office plants increase productivity, by helping us reduce stress and boost creativity.

All of us are, to some extent, a product of our environment. So, make your business/organization even better by adopting small changes that can improve the at-work experience of your managers and employees. You’ll be rewarded by improved turnover rates, employee motivation or satisfaction scores, and an enhanced level of staff engagement.