C. Productivity hacks
Bring the entire department together for check-ins daily or weekly. Everyone should be aware of what everyone else is doing to eliminate overlaps and facilitate cooperation. Crystallising and articulating the plan for the day or week also helps each team member set achievable goals and specific tasks.
35. Setting goals
Whether you’re discussing work or health, it’s important to set goals, SMART goals at that. Having a specific goal that is agreed upon or acknowledged by everyone is incredibly motivating. Take care to reward progress but not be overly harsh when someone does not meet expectations.
36. Defining tasks
Before embarking on any project, encourage employees to think about the process and the individual tasks. Then, they should write or type them down in order of priority. This will help to reduce panicking and procrastinating, and allows managers to supervise and assist more effectively.
37. Tactical Tuesday
Leaving the office for meetings can be really disruptive, even if travel times are relatively short is small-sized Singapore. Keep the momentum from Monday, and strongly discourage out-of-office meetings on Tuesdays. This enables team members to concentrate on their deliverable tasks.
38. 20% Time
Google famously encouraged employees to spend 20% of their week on side projects related to the industry, which led to massive creative breakthroughs like GMail and AdSense. However, that’s not really feasible anymore, especially in SMEs. Nonetheless, the concept remains attractive. Budget versions of 20% Time include hackathons and case study focus group discussions.
39. My space?
There are many conflicting studies about whether cubicle-like layouts or open floor plans are better for productivity. Closed spaces offer privacy, which can help employees focus; open spaces foster a sense of togetherness, making everyone on the team feel equal and included. Ultimately, what works best for your team depends on your team’s preferences. Just keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you should revisit your strategy if you have a high turnover rate.
40. Collaboration spaces
Whether employees are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder or behind walls, they’ll have to communicate. At least some spaces in your office should be conducive to meetings and discussions, where everyone can sit and put their notebook or laptop down. Try to avoid the overly formal meeting room vibe, and instead making the space aesthetically pleasing to stimulate the creative juices.
D. Corporate Social Responsibility
41. Donation drives
There are always donation drives ongoing in Singapore, providing essentials like food and clothing to underprivileged groups like the needy and foreign workers. Find a collection point near your office, then encourage your employees to contribute.
42. Recycling drives
The National Environment Agency has resources for corporate recycling. You can encourage employees to recycle by gamifying the process and rewarding the less wasteful!
43. Incentivise ride sharing
In the corporate world, it’s impossible to avoid taxis and Grabs and Go-Jeks. Take steps to save the environment (and your budget) by rewarding ride sharing.
44. Encourage public transport, walking, biking
This is even better for environmental sustainability (and your budget) as well as your employees’ health. This goes hand in hand with other initiatives like shower facilities (see #13) and providing umbrellas for rainy or exceptionally sunny days.
E. Activities and Challenges
45. Meat-less Monday
Singaporeans eat way too much meat, and this is bad for our health and the health of our planet. Try to avoid meat completely for one day; Monday is a good option as most people would have eaten more over the weekend. However, if habits prove to be too hard to break, consider eating less meat – perhaps avoiding meat during lunch with colleagues, and having it for dinner with your family.
46. Healthy festive feasts
If your team is planning an office party, skip the traditional goodies that people already indulge in with their family and friends. Instead, hold a potluck and challenge your employees to bring something innovative and healthy. For example, aim to create a low calorie yu sheng for next Chinese New Year!
47. Reminders to take the stairs
On average, someone weighing 65kg burns 4.33 calories per minute when climbing stairs. While this doesn’t seem like much, a lifestyle change does make a difference! Taking the stairs instead of the lift is a great way to get your blood pumping, to break the monotony of the work day or boost your alertness.
48. Walking meetings
Meetings don’t have to be boring and stifling in the same four walls of your meeting rooms. Encourage employees to walk and talk, which can boost clarity of thought and creativity. It’s also a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy some weekday sunshine.
49. Start meetings active
If there are too many people to go out walking, try starting meetings with a short physical activity to get the blood and creativity flowing. Depending on the amount of space available, you can try jumping jacks, wall sits, pushups, and many more!
50. Chair race
Who doesn’t love a chair race? On a slow day, get your employees away from their desks and have some youthful, wholesome fun.
51. Fitness challenges
Set a weekly fitness challenge and reward the winner. After lunch, encourage everyone to attempt the activity of the week, like planks or high knees running, and see who clocks the record! This will energise your team for the second half of the day, and encourage them to improve their fitness on their own time if they want to win.
52. Fun impromptu contests
Like a fun spot check, you can randomly test your employees with fun contests. See who’s the most flexible with a game of limbo, who has the greenest thumbs by counting desk plants, who regularly stretches with desk-bound exercises, and who has the healthiest snacks at their desk, among other wellness-related achievements.
53. Water-drinking challenges
For every 5kg of body weight, you should be drinking approximately 160ml of water, according to health club and celebrity trainer Don Saladino. Challenge your employees to hydrate adequately and reward those who do!
54. Sleeping challenges
Adults require at least 7 hours of sleep nightly to be sufficiently rested. Incentivise your employees to meet (or exceed) this amount – they’re most likely staying awake to finish work, or unwind with personal tasks after an exhausting work day.
55. Active challenges
The Health Promotion Board recommends 10000 steps a day and 150 minutes of activity a week. Challenge your employees to meet these targets and celebrate those who do!
56. Virtual exercise challenge
In the leadup to an overseas trip or branch opening, engage your whole company in a virtual exercise challenge. You can set a distance goal to a faraway land and add up everyone’s daily contributions. Your team is sure to be motivated by a tangible and unique goal, and the celebrations will be extra sweet.
57. Weight loss challenges
Losing weight may not be everyone’s goal, but for those who want to, it can be difficult. Host a Biggest Loser challenge to motivate your employees to meet their goals. They’ll feel healthier and more confident when they see results, no matter how small, and everyone who takes part will be a winner in their own right!
58. Field day
Bring your team out of the office for some fun in the sun. You can organise a trip to the beach or park, complete with fun activities like a (healthy) picnic or barbecue, or even games like frisbee and volleyball.
59. Enrol in a sports league
Singapore has many sports leagues, co-ed ones too. Sponsor your entire team’s enrolment fees, or just for those who are interested. Sports leagues require a minimum level of commitment, so your team will get regular exercise. They’ll also benefit from the healthy competition.
60. Company band
Give the musically talented among your team the chance to shine! Start an amateur band, and give your employees the opportunity to make time for their hobby. You can consider sponsoring or subsidising some studio sessions, and you may end up with an EP of your own!
61. Book club
For the bookworms, consider starting a book club. It’s a great way to expose everyone to new genres and authors. Everyone will benefit from reading widely and critically and participating in an open sharing.
62. Company library
For those who prefer to read on an own time own target basis, dedicate a section of the office to a company library. The National Library Board gives books to offices free of charge, and you can also encourage employees to donate books of their own to share.
63. Random gift exchange
You don’t have to wait until Christmas to host a Secret Santa. You can organise random or ongoing gift exchanges. This can encourage your team members to get to know each other and care for each other. And of course, receiving a thoughtful gift will surely brighten the recipient’s day!
64. Mindfulness Monday
Mindfulness is about being present, not dwelling on regrets from the past and worries for the future. This is especially helpful in a work context, so why not start Mondays (perhaps at your weekly check-ins; see #34) with a guided meditation. Start your week right with energy and calmness.