6 Simple Ways To De-Suck Your Office, Whether You're A Grunt Or CEO

No matter what level you're at, you can make your working life better. (And your colleagues will love you for it.)

Your work may have free lunches, unicorns, and no vacation policy. But, more likely, it may have the social scene of a morgue, the culture of a den of vipers, and crap coffee.

Luckily, Lifehacker's on the case to de-suck your office, using Great Place to Work's finding that employees believe they work for great organizations when they consistently:

  • TRUST the people they work for;
  • Have PRIDE in what they do; and
  • ENJOY the people they work with.
So how do you get there when you're outside the Googleplex?

Lifehacker writer Alan Henry has ideas for the bottom, middle, and top of the pecking order.

At entry level

When you're just starting out, you can't get too progressive for your britches.

Start small
"Make sure that there's something you can do without upsetting your boss, or their boss," Henry writes, making a point that shows how crucial meting out your tasks is to managing up. Your boss might be in for a potluck, but not a lounge; some employees might be able to work from home occasionally, but not everyone every day. Let them know morale's suffering and you'd like to help--and don't sound like a martyr.

Melt the office ice
How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break all that awful ice that's been building up in your frigid office. No one needs to put a lampshade on their head--although that's one option--but bringing the people you work with together for something fun, like, say, a screening of Tom Cruise's greatest hits, can foster the collaboration characteristic of the ass-kickingest companies.

For middle management

If you've got some pull, you might as well use it.

Suggest policies that make people happy
While the Internet has been wringing its hands about remote work lately, providing a flexibility of place is one of the easiest things to ease work-related pains. Ask if everyone on the team could start working from home one day a week--it would build trust between worker bees and management and let people work more happily.

Be the leader
Just like genius is 99 percent perspiration, turning around stagnant office culture is 99 percent hustle. "You have to be willing to take the reins and do the work required," Henry writes, and if you do, it will show your commitment to the company and the people there, which will pay unknown dividends down the line.

At the top

If you're senior, you can make shifts happen.

Don't force it
C-suite mandated trust-falls encourage vomit more than they do trust. To avoid seeing your employees' lunch, ask them what they need and what their problems are. The solutions will present themselves naturally--if it worked for the always-on Boston Consulting Group, it can work for you.

Build relationships
More than a snack bar or an office barista, relationships are at the center of a thriving work culture. Henry's advice: Treat your employees with fairness and respect, trust them them to do their work, and encourage them to collaborate. And it's cheaper than ordering lunch in, too.

And if all this sounds a little scary--or impossible--for how vulnerable it'll make you, trust us, you're not alone.

Have a tip for making your office more awesome beyond mandatory potlucks? Hit us with a comment.

How to Turn Your Hellhole of a Company Into a Great Place to Work

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user Pedro Moura Pinheiro]

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1 Comments

  • Karen Trisko

    Bosses may be complacent about workforce happiness now, while jobs are scarce. Watch out 'cuz the employment picture is improving, and some mates may jump ship! I suggest taking the pulse a couple times a year through employee engagement surveys.