Team morale in the office has hit a low. For some reason, it seems that pitch meetings and brainstorming sessions are more full of awkward silence than buzzing ideas. For those in creative fields, such as advertising and marketing, this plunge in morale can be a death sentence for successful campaigns and a return on investments.
So what happens when morale goes down? Let’s visit a fictional marketing agency that prides itself on its boutique approach and casual work environment. In this agency, there are no cubicles, no conference rooms — simple collaborative desks and clusters of chairs, combined with a few partitioned “office” spaces for private meetings.
The idea behind the structure of this workplace is collaboration. An open workspace, many say, is conducive to creativity.
But despite this particular agency’s best efforts, it seems the results of this seemingly incredible workspace are actually the opposite of what they planned.
What’s the best way to fix this? A dip in morale is normal in most workplaces. It can come from stress, understaffing, overworking, and lack of work-life balance
Listen to Employees
It seems simple, but believe it or not, this is often not the case. Listening to the needs of employees, opening up the floor for open communication, is something that should be a regular occurrence in any workplace.
And even more importantly, there should be actionable items identified with each meeting, on both sides of the conflict. If an employee is justifiably concerned about an increased workload, then the person in a position of authority should be able to divide up work or hire additional staff to help.
For a marketing professional, often simply feeling heard and empowered is enough to boost morale and get those creative juices freely flowing again.
Don’t Just Go With What’s Trendy
Yes, open workspaces are trendy. It seems that every cool tech startup has a similar office structure, complete with juice bars and a massage room. But this isn’t always what employees want to be able to get through their workday successfully.
This is again where proper active listening comes in to play. Perhaps some individuals on the staff would prefer to have some quieter space to work away from everyone else. Perhaps every project does not need to be “collaborative” — sometimes giving someone the opportunity to “own” a project encourages them to flourish.
So invest the time and resources into actively finding out what makes the staff in a business tick. For a creative group of employees such as designers, writers, and marketers, ask them regularly for feedback on the work environment. After all, employees who feel heard will automatically have a higher level of investment in their work. Investing resources into a positive workspace will translate well into tangible results.
-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian