The great recession of 2008 had a seminal impact on the world’s labor force, as many of the millions of people displaced from their jobs turned to self-employment and freelancing as more sustainable career choices.

Despite the financial crisis ushering is an entire generation of so-called ‘accidental entrepreneurs’, however, businesses have responded by creating more engaging workplaces and driving flexible working directives as a way of recruiting and retaining top talent.

While this may change in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, there’s no doubt that employers will continue to focus on cultivating engaging and enticing workplaces in which individuals want to work.

Although there are a number of tried-and-tested methods that employers can use to create such positive working cultures and environments, there are others that are far less well-known. We’ll explore these below, while asking how they impact positively on employee engagement and productivity.

Use Corporate and Rotating Art to Boost Employee Happiness

While happiness may be a relatively vague concept that means different things to different people, as a general rule there’s little doubt that content and satisfied employees are considerably more productive than those who are unhappy.

According to Forbes, happy employees are up to 20% more productive than their unhappy colleagues, and it goes without saying that the same demographic are also far more engaged with their job role and employer mission statement.

The correlation is even more pronounced in customer-facing fields such as sales, where happy and enthusiastic employees are up to 37% more productive than those who are dissatisfied and ultimately disengaged.

One of the best but most underrated ways of boosting employee happiness is to utilize imagery and wall art, with branded and corporate photography particularly effective.

Not only does this type of approach create a more relevant, enriching and visually engaging workspace, but it also enables brands to reinforce their identity, key colors and core values internally.

It’s also a philosophy that has been fully embraced by huge employers such as Deutsche Bank, which has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world with more than 60,000 pieces dotted across 900 offices in 40 countries.

This photographer in the Netherlands also produces contemporary examples of commercial and product photography, enabling clients to drive internal branding while simultaneously boosting employee happiness and engagement in a sustainable way.

Leverage Plants to Boost Output and Physical Wellbeing

It’s fair to say that some productivity-boosting measures are considerably more subtle than others, with the utilization of plants offering a relevant case in point.

To the naked eye, of course, office plants may achieve little, except for adding a dash of colour and blending seamlessly into the background. However, various studies have shown that adding several plants to the workplace actively decreases stress and boosts productivity simultaneously.

One UK research project found that constantly bringing plants in the workplace increased productivity by 15% over time, while a corresponding study in the U.S. found that the same approach reduced sick days by as much as 10%.

According to more complex studies carried out by bodies such as NASA, various indoor plants are highly effective in filtering chemicals and irritants out of the workplace.

The most common nasties found in the office include benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, the majority of which are found in popular synthetic office furnishings.

Even on a fundamental level, just being able to see plants and examples of nature has a positive impact on the typical employee mindset.

In an analysis of 10 UK studies, every paper discovered that the introduction of greenery throughout the office had a tangible and positive impact on mood. This also breeds higher levels of confidence and self-esteem overtime (particularly in young people), creating a more dynamic and engaged workforce in the process.

Create a Culture of Pride and Achievement

According to Gallup’s most recent gauge of employee engagement across the Atlantic, less than 35% of the American workforce are engaged at work.

This has a significant and detrimental impact on productivity, and it’s imperative that employers are able to reverse this trend if they’re to optimise individual and collective output.

Interestingly, one of the biggest drivers of workplace engagement may also be among the least well-known, at least according to insight collated by the social media giant Facebook.

This suggested that a sense of pride in an employer or a brand’s core values is central to colleague happiness and engagement, and therefore a key weapon in the quest to create a productive workforce.

Pride can refer to many things of course, from being associated with a particular brand or its values to the relationships that exist between employees and customers.

A sense of pride also undoubtedly reflects synergy between brands and their employees, which in turn reveals a shared set of values and motivations to achieve specific objectives.

This creates a strong sense of purpose that drives employees to excel and exceed expectations every single day, optimizing the impact that they have within the business and their core value as individuals.