During this recent time of economic hardship, a frequent question our clients have asked is “What can we do to boost staff morale without breaking the bank?” This is a big question at any time, but it especially applies now, as many companies have gone through downsizing, which always hurts morale. Below is a compiled list of tips that you may find helpful in giving your employees the moral boost they need.

Ideas for low-cost morale boosters

Simply saying “thank you” doesn’t cost a penny and is incredibly long. There are many creative ways to say thank you, such as:

* Write a thank you note

* Award a certificate of appreciation.

* Leave a thank you note in the employee’s work area.

* Announce your appreciation for the company’s location system.

* Publicly express your appreciation at a company meeting or event

Random acts of kindness (similar to the holiday favorite secret Santa). Employees who choose to participate choose the name of another participating employee and at some point during that week do something for the chosen person. Some ideas are to make the file of the chosen person, answer their phone, bring them a flower, or bring them a donut and a cup of coffee.

Organize a silly contest like; The ugliest tie, the dumbest socks, the ugliest pants or the ugliest sweater and they award prizes to the winners.

Have “Monday afternoon”. If possible, once a month allow your employees to arrive an hour late on a Monday morning or to leave early on a Friday.

Sponsor of “Noon Movie”. Once a month (depending on employee schedules), set up a VCR in the dining room and show a fun movie during lunch. If time is limited, show reruns of “Seinfeld,” “Fraser,” or other comedies. You can also have employees sign in to bring in their favorite movies and share them with their coworkers.

Hold a “Guess the Baby” contest. Ask the staff to bring baby photos and post them on the wall. Give a prize to the employees who can guess the most correctly.

Make non-cash office funds at high-profile events like the Oscars, the Superbowl, or the NBA Championship.

Be lucky that it encourages employee engagement and is profitable. Also, there are a lot of variations like; breakfast or lunch, Christmas themes, cuisine of different cultures, food with color themes or a meal with all the desserts.

Establish a “humor corner.” Designate a section of the office as a place for humor and encourage employees to post cartoons, jokes, or other funny material. Buy some disposable cameras and ask employees to take random candid photos of themselves and add them to the “Humor Corner.” (Make sure you get permission from the employee in the photo before posting.)

Send birthday and / or anniversary cards home to employees. This simple and sweet gesture will remind employees that you care about them as people.

Take your employee out for a cup of coffee or, if managing multiple employees, bring coffee and bagels one morning for the whole group.

Many of the suggestions above are contests, and of course contests must have prizes. Prizes don’t have to be elaborate and there are many low-cost prizes, such as:

* A couple of movie tickets

* An hour or two of paid time off

* Leave an hour earlier or arrive an hour late

* Grant an extended lunch period

* A special parking space for a day, week or month

* Place a photo of the winners on the “Mood Board”

* Print award certificates

* $ 10.00 gift cards to a local coffee shop, yogurt shop, or gas station.

* Flowers or a plant for your desk (s)

* Box of chocolates or a jar of candy / trail mix

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