Fall for your office: Tips for making your workplace more efficient and productive this fall
Get ready for a productivity party
Though you might think the opposite, bad weather is actually good for productivity (Harvard Business School). That means that in addition to now being the right time for major projects, product launches or corporate initiatives, it’s also a good time to initiate employee recognition and/or reward programs you may have been considering. At a loss for creative perks? Check out this list of “101 Super Effective Ways to Reward Your Employees” from Inc.
Amp up for sick days
While January tends to be the peak month for missed work due to illness, injury or medical appointments (Bureau of Labor Statistics), September and October see their share of sick days. That’s why right now is a good time to remind employees about guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce the spread of seasonal illness—and consider piggybacking on those recommendations with employer-sponsored programs to underscore your commitment to keeping employees healthy.
Some ideas to consider:
- Flu shot field trip during normal business hours
- Hang a humorous “Keep Your Germs to Yourself” poster, reminding employees to stay home when they’re sick
- Monthly Disinfectant Day, where employees help clean germ-heavy surfaces like door handles, keyboards, desktops and conference room tables
- Consider extending access to sick days to part-time employees
And remember, sick days don’t just apply to employees. Parents often need to stay home with their sick children, with that burden falling more on the moms than the dads (Pew Research). Creative scheduling like flexible hours for parents of germy kiddos could go a long way in making employees happier this fall.
Acknowledge more hectic schedules
In nearly half of two-parent households, both parents work full time (Pew Research), which means back-to-school and early fall schedules are probably a lot more hectic for at least half of your workforce. With a new school year comes things like teacher conferences, curriculum nights, committee meetings and more. Consider programs like:
- Fall Hall Pass, paid time off to volunteer for half-day in a child’s class or attend a school-related activity
- Employer-sponsored childcare on non-holidays when the kids are off school for teacher work days or conferences, which usually happen once or twice in the fall
- Companywide policy to try to limit meetings to the hours of 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to allow for participation from parents who drive their children to school or sports
- Offer flexible schedules, incentives and/or assistance programs for employees going back to school themselves
Remind employees about giving back
With the weather growing colder and the holidays approaching, fall is a great time to give back to health and human services and other philanthropic organizations. Remind employees of your company’s existing philanthropic program—or consider launching one now if you haven’t yet. Giving employees a few hours of paid time off to donate time to their favorite charity may be a cost-effective way to allow employees to stay involved in their community. Or, host a company-sponsored event where you all give back together.
Fall for a shorter workday or workweek
Though it may not work for all companies, the shorter workday/workweek is being adopted across industries as a way to get more focused effort out of employees and thus, in many cases, actually gainproductivity—while allowing employees a better work-life balance. In this Fast Company article by Stephan Aarstol, author of “The Five-Hour Workday: Life Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness” and CEO and founder of beach-lifestyle company Tower, Aarstol says, “The five-hour workday exposed weaknesses that had been hidden by hourly work.” The CEO reports that after a three-month test of the five-hour workday, annual revenues were up 40 percent. Thinking of trying it at your business? Fall’s shorter daylight hours could be just right for a test.