A Recipe for a Happy Workplace

Many conscientious employers strive to make the work environment a happy and positive place to be. Each year hundreds of surveys are commissioned to identify patterns and trends in employee engagement and satisfaction. But what is the perfect mix of ingredients to ensure your workforce is engaged, motivated and happy?

Every workplace and department is different so striking the right balance for your employees will depend on your own bubbling pot of characters and individuals but the key to ensuring you have a recipe for success is making sure you make the most out of what you have and that it is mixed in the right way.

Step 1:

Prepare your ingredients[1]:

  1. Pay and benefits – make sure to pay at least the National Minimum Wage and minimum legal pension contributions then consider a dusting of other employee benefits
  2. Terms of employment – issue a contract, or statement of employment particulars, that meets the requirements as set out in the Employment Rights Act 1998. Currently you should provide written terms within 2 months however, from April 2020 this will need to be issued prior to, or on the first day of, employment.
  3. Job design and nature of work – ensure the Employee has the required skills, qualification, training, support and tools to do the job
  4. Social support and cohesion – employees value the quality of relationships and effective management at work and rate psychological safety as being important. Employers who are supportive and considerate and show good awareness to the importance of mental health (lack of employer support has led to an average of 8.4 sick days taken each year due to a mental health problem[2])
  5. Health and Well-being – A Financial Times Report[3] indicates that UK employees lost 13.6% of working hours due to absence. Employers who actively enforce an absence management policy are more likely to have reduced absenteeism and there is growing evidence that benefits such as free fruit at work improve health and well-being. Free fruit should go some way towards rectifying the statistics that recently revealed that 76.1% of 18-20 year olds don’t eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day[4].
  6. Work life balance – carefully weigh up the balance between work and life, UK employees work longer than their European counterparts and typically work five hours per week more than they would like. (Commuting time typically adds 3 hours 45 minutes a week to this figure)[1]
  7. Voice and representation – allow your employees opportunity to breath and let off steam, this can be done in various ways for example giving regular opportunities to speak to senior members of management, regular appraisals and “fearless feedback” principles or staff suggestion schemes.
  8. Add a sprinkle of well-chosen Managers and team leaders – nearly half (56%) of employee’s report quitting their job because of a bad manager[2]

Step 2:

Method: Add a little heat, encouragement and simmer gently keeping a close eye on everything to ensure you can turn the heat up, or add ice, as and when required.

Mix gently, but don’t stir too vigorously and ensure that everything combines well together.

Keep an eye out for spillages or forgotten ingredients so that nothing is missed, and nothing spirals out of control.

Step 3:

Clean as you go: Act quickly and if you spot an issue, respond appropriately to try to rectify a mistake before things boil over. It helps to keep a record of what you have done so that you can reflect and change the recipe to ensure you never make the same mistake twice.


[1] CIPD – https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/UK-working-lives-2_tcm18-40225.pdf

[2] Udemy Research –  https://research.udemy.com/research_report/udemy-in-depth-2018-employee-experience-report/

[1] Source: based on Warhurst et al (2017) and Wright et al (2018)

[2] Source: www.BHSF.com

[3] https://www.vitality.co.uk/media-online/britains-healthiest-workplace/pdf/2018/health-at-work-survey.pdf

[4] https://www.vitality.co.uk/media-online/britains-healthiest-workplace/pdf/2018/health-at-work-survey.pdf

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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