23 September 2019

The tools that keep your employees happy

Submitted by Bronwen Dowman

By Katie Chodosh, Content Consultant at TopLine Comms and TopLine Film

Anyone who has ever been unhappy at work will tell you how debilitating it is. It stops you being productive and affects your life outside of work. It’s not uncommon to have trouble sleeping, engaging in homelife and feel anxious all the time.

The last week of September is the International Week of Happiness at Work. Introduced in 2018, it’s designed to get all workplaces thinking about their employee’s happiness and ways in which they can increase it. Some suggested activities on the website include inviting an expert to give an inspirational talk and starting an initiative to give more positive feedback. These are great ideas (and there are more here) but, it’s important to implement initiatives that will work in the long term.

At TopLine Comms, we have a few tools in place and certain benefits that make the team happy throughout the year. With the right infrastructure, all of them are easy to implement. Here are some of the things we do that you can do, too.

Task management apps

Task management apps (or collaborative work management software) are the new and improved digital task lists. They make it easy to see who is responsible for what, the deadlines everyone is working towards and creates accountability for actions. It’s easy to understand everyone’s workload, so you’ll be more mindful about who you assign work to. Options include WrikeAsana and Trello, all at different price points and slightly different features. Most will let you conduct a free trial, so you can see which one works best for you.

Instant messenger

Staff shouldn’t have to use their personal messenger apps to talk to colleagues. Instead, try an instant messenger platform that’s made specifically for the workplace – that way you’ll keep work-chat on a work-channel. Instant messengers made for the workplace, like Slack, let you make calls, create a specific channel for specific discussion and can make groups private, too.

Virtual conference software

One of the best benefits we have is the ability to work from home up to twice a week. It makes keeping on top of life admin a lot easier and generally creates an atmosphere of trust. But we still all need to join company meetings, and that’s where virtual conference software comes in. Anyone can join meetings from wherever they are, as long as they have an internet connection (rather than relying on them to have enough airtime on their phone). Popular platforms include Zoom, Join.me and Cisco Webex meetings, but you can also use Slack for internal conference calls.

Creative brainstorms

Brainstorms are good for getting ideas going, and they’re also useful as team-building exercises. We like to have a brainstorm every week, with each one focusing on a different client.  If you need help with structuring your brainstorm, you can use Idea Flip. It allows you to create ‘boards’ that everyone can contribute to with images, text, sticky notes and shapes. It also makes the interaction between those working from home and those in the office a little easier.

Expense accounts for relevant people

Employees shouldn’t have to pay for anything work-related – it’s not fair, it’s not sustainable, and it affects morale. Set up expense accounts or give company cards to those who need it. Soldo is a multi-user business spending account that provides pre-loaded debit cards, along with an app to upload a picture of the receipt, making it easy to keep track of spending.

Time tracking software

Time tracking software doesn’t sound fun in theory, but in practice, it helps everyone keep track of their workload, monitor keystrokes and bill clients. There’s a time tracker included in Wrike, or you can use separate software like Minutedock or TSheets

Happy employees are productive employees. Take some time to create a more efficient working environment, and your employees will thank you with better work.

Katie Chodosh is a Content Consultant at digital PR and SEO agency TopLine Comms and video production agency TopLine Film, based in Cape Town.