The benefits of Casual Friday

Casual Friday is a time-honoured tradition. The once a week opportunity to dress down has been re-appropriated into many different facets such as “Hawaiian shirt Friday” and many charity groups run their fundraisers such as “jeans for genes day” on Friday to fit in with the usual office day of casual attire. Countless articles online proclaim the correct choice of clothing for a casual Friday, including Oprah, the daytime-talk Queen herself. But does casual Friday work? What are the benefits for such a deviation from the norm? Below are the reasons for allowing your employees to dress less formally once a week:

  1.       It’s a fun change of pace

Anything that promotes a break from the monotony of the usual workday can help employees feel more engaged with their work, and more motivated to achieve success in the workplace. Even something so simple as music in the office can dramatically improve productivity and efficiency. So let your employees have some fun with it. You can even run themes where employees come wearing their favourite sport colours or crazy socks or whatever you would like to do. Get creative with it! Of course, as Oprah herself says, there can be some inappropriate casual wear choices, so ensure a clear policy for casual Friday dress codes to avoid any uncomfortable situations.

  1.       Promoting team building

More casual dressing may promote more approachability, and therefore you may find that interpersonal collaboration is strengthened by a casual Friday tradition. Generally, with casual attire, there will be less stratification of work roles, and employees will feel less identified by their wardrobes and status but by their contributions. With greater cross-communication, social relationships will also be strengthened and ultimately your teams will be stronger and more interconnected.

  1.       Meets employee needs

Enabling your employees to display a sense of individuality whilst attending their work helps them to feel more like a person than just a number. Looking out for employee comfort also promotes the idea that personal needs of employees are seen to by management and that each individual is valuable.

  1.       Everyone loves a free perk

Ultimately, this is a free strategy to enhance workplace engagement. Everybody loves a freebie, and this is a win for employee motivation which literally doesn’t cost a thing. Many employees look forward to and enjoy the opportunity to express their individuality on a casual Friday.

Don’t hesitate to add this free motivating strategy to your office environment. Develop a policy on appropriate office attire, and you can put this into place almost immediately. Don’t forget to measure the impact of this technique on team strength and workplace engagement to see if it is having an effect. But according to the anecdotal evidence, this is usually a winner, helping employees feel more motivated on both casual Friday, and through the week whilst looking forward to the end of the week coming around.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

A good break-up with a bad employee

It is vitally important that employees are in roles that suit their strengths. An employee who is in the right job for them feels they are making a meaningful contribution to the world around them. They are highly engaged, motivated and productive members of a company. However, all too often, we have employees in roles that simply do not belong. They come into work everyday, often punctual, even diligent, but they lack creativity and motivation. At best, they will barely fulfil their job requirements, and at worst, completely miss the boat. So what can be done with an ineffective employee?

Matthew Hussey

You may have heard of this new kid on the block who gives out dating advice to women: kind of a reverse pick up artist. He has recently appeared on the channel seven show “the Single Wives” to give advice to newly single women. One of his most common lines of advice to women is to let go of men who are unwilling to invest in what they need, as this is a common plight of many women, unfortunately. Like women, bosses often hold onto people who aren’t giving them what they need. And like men, bad employees need to be let go before you waste too much time with them.

A “Good” break-up

However, while employees are like men in so many ways, they are unlike them in a way that counts. You might get called a bitch if you send a text to break up with a boyfriend, but that will be the most severe of consequences. Legislation governs when, how and for what reason you can break up with an employee. And even when you satisfy these minimum requirements, they manner in which you perform a termination can affect your professional reputation. Follow these tips to ensure the break-ups with your employees go as smoothly as possible:

  • Be positive

This cannot be understated. Don’t make it a personal attack, simply point out that the role doesn’t suit them. Stick to the facts and keep their hope up that the right role is out there for them!

  • Consider reshuffling rather than terminating

Before jumping to the result to terminate your ineffective employee, consider whether they might be useful in another role. Think about whether certain strengths that they possess could be utilised in other areas. This will promote loyalty, and you may end up with a very effective employee in a different role.

  • Give a good reference

If that approach fails to work, and you have to terminate an employee, maintain a good working relationship. Offer them a positive reference, and stick to your word. Instead of personally ensuring their mistakes haunt them, speak of their strengths in refereeing them, in the hope that they will reach their effective role in the future. Your commitment to providing a smooth exit strategy for your terminated employees will suit you much better for your Glassdoor reviews and will help the right employees for your company to respect the culture available in your workplace.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

On-site corporate childcare options for employee engagement

This blog has gone into the importance of employee engagement and how to improve it many times. But it really cannot be understated how important it is for employees to be engaged in their work, both for their job satisfaction, and for the bottom line, employees are much more productive when effectively engaged. In the modern workplace, where women are increasingly represented in teams, it is important to consider specific needs to ensure your female workers are well engaged also. As a female writer, I somewhat grit my teeth as I say that an issue important to women is their children. This is because I know it shouldn’t just be a woman’s problem, and that childcare should be the responsibility of men just as much as women. But in reality, society still places the majority of the burden of childcare on the mother. It follows then, that a really effective way of ensuring productivity of your female employees is to ensure they can look after their children.

 

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo

Traditionally, a popular strategy is to job-share or to work from home. But ultimately, there is some downsides to this idea. Not being in a work environment and not being physically present to assist the lines of communication between coworkers and ensure effective teamwork can certainly hamper employee engagement and put detract from productivity. This is why the female CEO of Yahoo took the controversial step to ban remote working. For her, however, she did not see this as a problem in terms of her other parenting responsibilities, as she set up her own personal nursery in her office.

 

On-site childcare

Since then, more and more companies are offering the option of onsite childcare to satisfy the needs of their female workers, and keep them engaged in their roles. London-based investment banking firm “Goldman-Sachs” opened up their first internal corporate office creche as early as 2003. In addition, they offer subsidies and provide free-of-charge childcare in transitional times when parents return to work from taking parental leave. This has been so successful that they have rolled out the program to their Tokyo and New York offices, and they find a local childcare to subsidise if they can’t provide a local facility.

 

The business case for office-based childcare

Ultimately, onsite childcare is a fantastic driver of recruitment and retention. People want to work somewhere where they feel their family-life will be supported. Not only that, but the cost of replacing employees due to family commitments is exorbitant, especially when the employees are competent, with a good knowledge of the company processes and clients.

 

The Australian example

As yet, most Australian companies are not on board with this initiative, though it makes a lot of sense. The costs of running these facilities is certainly prohibitive for some smaller companies. One solution to this issue is being spearheaded by KidsCo Australia.  This start-up offers “pop-up” creches provided in office spaces during school holidays in whatever environments are offered to them by companies. This solves the problem of the mismatch between school holidays and annual leave at least. With this program, parents can be put at ease, knowing their children are well taken care of during the school holidays, and there is no extra drop-off and pick-up time.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.