Earlier this year, employee morale around my shop was low. I wasn’t happy, but I couldn’t figure out why. The more I thought about it, I realized that I wasn’t being a good boss, even though I am the boss.
I was requiring long hours, making do with technology that wasn’t working quite right and I’d completely neglected employee motivation. I started making a few changes and I’m happy with the results. Here’s what’s changed:
Bonuses: Honestly, the “bonuses” in my business are hockey lessons for Evan and Little Gym for Madelyn—not to mention the occasional trip to Toys R Us for the two of them. That’s great, but it doesn’t always give me the boost I need to do my job better. So, as a little treat, I renewed subscriptions to some writing magazines I like that I had let lapse. I love getting some monthly doses of inspiration delivered right to my mailbox. I also had an amazing illustrator create a new banner for this blog. I loved working with her and was inspired by the whole creative process. Now I just have to get it up!
Oh, and, my hubby and I started treating ourselves to take out a few times a month. After the kids go to bed, we order in, and sit down and have dinner together. We don’t spend a lot of money on eating out and would spend even less on it if I weren’t working, so this is a special treat for us. Plus, it is something I really look forward to each week. Sometimes it the little things that can make the biggest difference.
Create a Pleasant Work Environment: In my last full-time office job, the company kept the refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke. I can’t tell you how often I reached for a soda around 3:00 to give myself an energy boost. Those sodas made me happy, and a happy employee is a productive one. I keep my fridge at home stocked and I hit it frequently during the day. I look at the expense as a cost of doing business. Music, a (sometimes) clean workspace and an awesome office chair I splurged on last year also add to my work environment.
Create Convenience: There are little things in my home office I had learned to work around because I didn’t want to invest the time or money necessary to fix them. Of course, if I worked in an office I’d have been on the line to tech support months ago. I finally took the time to troubleshoot a few things and the end result made my life a lot easier. And, they were a lot easier than I’d expected to fix.
What’s next? I’d like to start making an effort to celebrate milestones. I don’t necessarily measure milestones like I did when I first started freelancing, which makes it hard to celebrate them, but I’m going to get better about it. Whether its meeting financial goals or turning in a certain number of features, there are dozens of ways I can measure success.
How about you? How do you stay motivated?