Staff Morale Boosters That Don’t Cost a Penny

Dec 19, 2022

Mental wellbeing at work has become a big concern in the last few years, with the rise in awareness of mental health and its impact on productivity. Making sure your employees are happy and healthy is a key part of managing and leading people, and there are many ways to stay on top of this without breaking the bank.

If you have the budget to invest in a wellbeing platform like Champion Health, then go for it, you’ll soon see the value in encouraging your staff to focus on their own mental wellbeing. But if that isn’t possible right now, here are a few cost-effective methods of boosting your staff’s morale and increasing retention and productivity at the same time.


Recognise Your Staff’s Achievements

Everyone likes to have their contribution acknowledged and appreciated, and it doesn’t have to come in a monetary format. So if bonuses aren’t an option at the moment, then a sincere thank you to each of your team members for their hard work this past year will go a long way to making them feel valued.

If one of your team has achieved something specific, such as passing an exam, gaining a new qualification, or getting some positive feedback from a client, then acknowledging this in a staff meeting, a company newsletter, or on Linkedin could also help to boost morale and encourage your employees to keep striving for success.

Never underestimate the power of a few words of encouragement and appreciation, they can mean the difference between a staff member feeling valued and advocating for your business, and not.


Let the Music Play

If you’re firmly in the camp that music is a distraction at work, then wrap your minds around this. Music has been proven to:

  • Improve memory
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Increase motivation
  • Improve focus
  • Boost positive emotions
  • Promote camaraderie

The list of positive effects of listening to music is endless, plus it creates a more inviting environment for both staff and customers.

If your team can’t decide on one radio station or genre of music, try letting each team member choose the music one day of the week/month. Soon, you’ll all find something you can agree on, and you might even discover a newfound love of Stomp and Holler (if you’ve seen any Spotify Wrapped posts on social media, you might know this refers to folksy bands like The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons).

Whether your team prefer classical or pop, a bit of gentle background music could boost morale and get your team bonding over their favourite bands.


Ditch the Dress Code

Since the first lockdown, we’ve all gotten used to dressing more casually (Zoom meetings in your pyjamas, anyone?) and being able to express our identities at work. Clients are accustomed to seeing your team in a more informal setting, whether that’s without a tie, sitting in their own kitchen or being interrupted by an inquisitive puppy or toddler—if it’s good enough for BBC correspondents, it’s good enough for us!

Returning to the office doesn’t have to mean returning to the old ways of doing things, and that includes the traditional suit and tie. If you don’t wear a uniform and formal attire isn’t essential, then why not loosen the dress code up a little and let your staff members choose what they wear to the office? If meetings with clients require a slightly more professional appearance, then why not have dress down Fridays? Or whichever day of the week works best for your business.

Allowing your team members to express their identities at work is a small, cost-free way to increase company loyalty and boost morale.


Flexibility is Inclusivity

Flexible and remote working options aren’t just nice-to-haves, they also open up opportunities to a much broader range of candidate, allowing you to recruit the best person for the role, whatever their personal circumstances.

The pandemic forced many companies to find solutions for remote working, and if yours was one of them, then there’s no reason to stop allowing your team to work from home—if not every day, then at least when necessary.

A little flexibility will allow your staff to find a work/life blend that works best for them, whether they’re parents juggling childcare and school runs with meetings and deadlines, or they care for elderly family members, or have health issues that might impact on their ability to work a traditional nine-to-five, office job.

Giving someone the chance to work in a role that they enjoy and that challenges them, when they may not have otherwise been offered such an opportunity, will create better company advocacy than money can buy. And building a more diverse and inclusive team will bring more benefits to your business than you could ever imagine.


Team Building Builds Better Teams

Your best teams aren’t built on the job, they’re forged in the coffee breaks, at staff social events and on team days out. Team Building doesn’t have to mean trust exercises and personality tests, if you want your team to get to know each other better outside of their normal business setting, just getting out of the office for a day will do the trick.

A company sports day with prizes for the winners might be right up their street, or a day at the races split into teams (ideally not their usual work teams) and given £10, with the challenge of bringing back the most winnings at the end of the day might get them bonding over odds and statistics. If you prefer a less competitive team day out, why not try something like GoApe where it’s all about encouraging and supporting each other, or an escape room where you need to work together to decipher the clues?

You could even couple your team building day with your corporate social responsibility policy and arrange for your entire team to volunteer for a local charity, or organise a fundraising event like a Tough Mudder or the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Just make sure you consider all of your staff members’ abilities and requirements and allow them to make suggestions so that it’s a fun and inclusive day for all.


Festive Fun and Frivolity

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and while Christmas can be an expensive event, it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t have the budget to treat your staff to a Christmas meal or party, or to splash out on gifts for every employee, then consider some of these free and low-cost options so that your staff still get to celebrate and get in the festive spirit:

Decorate the Office

If you don’t have any decorations for your premises, then ask staff to donate any old deccies they don’t need any more. Your staff will feel better about reusing the tinsel and garlands they would otherwise have thrown away, and you’ll be able to make your office Christmas-ready on a budget.

Get Dressed Up

Host a Christmas jumper day. You could even sync up with one of the charity jumper days and turn it into a fundraising event. Nothing gives people a warm glow like giving back (especially while wrapped up warm in a festive jumper).

Festive Freebies

Search for Christmas quizzes, word searches and games online and you’ll soon find a treasure trove of free games online. You can print out (or email, the greener the better!) a different festive quiz or puzzle each week and let your team have some fun on their lunch break. If you can stretch to a small prize, an advent calendar or selection box, then it’ll really get their competitive sides into the Christmas mood!

Burnout is on the rise after the stress and worry of the last two years, and add to that the current cost-of-living crisis; plus boreout is just as much of a problem in many businesses. Finding budget-friendly ways to boost your employees’ morale and increase retention in the dark Winter months can be difficult, but hopefully with a few of these suggestions your team will feel positive and valued, increasing their productivity and their company advocacy at the same time.


What are your best tips for boosting morale and keeping your staff motivated at this time of year? Let us know on Linkedin.


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