Most people experience at least a little bit of dread when Monday rolls around, no matter how much they love their jobs. But even if your line of work is the most boring occupation imaginable, there are ways to liven it up and stave off the deep feelings of dread. While it may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that inviting some fun into the workplace can actually help motivate employees, instead of making them goof off. If you're the manager tasked with livening up the office, take some simple steps to make things more interesting.
Plan a monthly gathering outside of work, such as a happy hour, pizza night or weekend barbecue. If your budget allows it, use company funds to pay for the event. Employees may not have time to talk and socialize while they're working, so giving them time during off-work hours may lead to a better rapport and a more lively atmosphere during work hours.
Allow music during certain work hours. If your office is too quiet and music won't distract workers from their tasks, music may actually make workers more motivated, according to a report in "Business Management Daily." Select a genre that will appeal to a wide audience; or better yet, allow workers to choose their favorites, and then feature different genres on different days, based on the most popular choices.
Hold a contest. This could be tied to motivation in the workplace, for example, a contest to see who can make the most successful sales calls, or it could be a contest that rewards the people who are on time to work. Create a poster that tracks the progress for the contest, and then make a big deal of awarding prizes to those who succeed. This can create a buzz around the office, while at the same time motivating people to improve their work habits.
Plan a regular exercise routine. Pick one day of the week and invite everyone to go on a walk or run during their lunchbreak. Not only will this help establish rapport among employees, but it will also stimulate those employees' endorphins -- the hormones responsible for a feeling of happiness.
Rearrange the office to allow more natural light in. Move cubicles away from the windows and open the drapes. If your office is in a place with no windows, or is arranged so that you can't utilize outdoor light, consider using full-spectrum light bulbs that mimic the light you get from the sun. These measures can help reduce the fatigue created by harsh florescent lighting and help employees feel more energized throughout the day.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.