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Boost Office Morale with These Quick & Inexpensive Ideas

Boosting office morale

Ninjas wear many hats, some of which include culture guru and overall producer of fun. You shoulder all the responsibility of boosting office morale. So when motivation hits a predictable winter slump, all eyes are directed at you.

You’ve read about effective long-term and short-term morale boosting solutions. Organizing an office party is a good idea, but often take longer to plan and comes with a bigger budget than you’re willing to shell out. Plus, it’s been done before. Monetary bonuses are appreciated, but lack personal meaning.

Where does that leave us? Yes, we know you need to support your employees, give them an outlet for concerns, and encourage their growth within the company, but it takes months to implement a process that produces results. You need something you can do right now before Erin in IT blows a fuse.

That’s where these six ideas for boosting office morale come in—and they take next to no time to incorporate.

Value Your Team

A study by the Harvard Business Review found that people’s performance is directly connected to how they feel. The unspoken expectation, however, is that employees will set aside their needs in order to get work done—even if they’re feeling low.

Employees whose core four needs—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual—were met were the most engaged, loyal, and productive ones at the office. By creating opportunities like the ones below for employee input, you’ll emerge as the morale-boosting hero (again).

One-on-one meetings: When you notice that the overall mood around the office is dark and dreary, take everyone for a quick chat in turn to let them have a much-needed venting session. Time to share the problems they’re facing paired with a conversation about satisfying those four core needs is the first step to making positive change. Bonus points if you can escape outdoors or away from desks and paperwork.

Daily morning huddles: Allow for 10 minutes at the start of your day to discuss important milestones in and out of the office, like upcoming projects or quick company updates that affect the team. The subtle change of scenery and an opportunity to stand is like an instant shot of energy—no mid-afternoon trip to the vending machine required. Employees will also appreciate that transparency and be able to see how far their contributions go.

Prepare a Few Quick Wins

All work and no play leads to a positively boring life. So why not make those hours spent in your office cubicles a bit more fun? Besides, it’s scientifically proven that laughter can reduce stress hormones. Anticipation of a positive event will also have a similar effect, so load up the calendar with smile-inducing goodness.

Send a completely non-work related message: Rough day? No better time to send around a funny news item, gif, meme or YouTube video. It breaks the atmosphere and gives people something to bond over—especially if they’re having a particularly stressful day. Another key to maximizing the impact of your chosen tidbit is to send it unexpectedly. Never underestimate the power of a well-timed cat video or office-appropriate prank caught on tape.

Give ‘em cool swag: At OfficeNinjas, we consider ourselves the leaders of swag bags—and gifting cool gear is a Ninja-approved gesture. We suggest keeping a swag arsenal for personal and professional milestones, big wins, or just a random ‘hey thanks, we appreciate you’ moment. Stock up on water bottles with your logo on them, t-shirts, or rad office accessories, then use them to spread smiles as needed. Here are two starting points to begin your collection:

  1. Seltzer Pens: These seven-year pens hide an ink cartridge for super reliability—and they include cute sayings (the smiling pile is an OfficeNinjas fav).
  2. Ashbury Images: Because who doesn’t love a good t-shirt or bag with a fun design or saying imprinted on it? Even better, this company has a mission you can get behind.

Appeal to Individual Moods

A 2015 survey by SHRM/Globoforce found that a value-based employee recognition program boosts bottom-line metrics, engagement, and turnover rates while creating a stronger culture. When interviewing top HR professionals, it was reported that 86 percent of employees thought recognition programs boosted happiness and 85 percent noticed a more positive effect on humanity in the workplace.

So go beyond the traditional ‘employee of the month’ award and recognize your team in a more innovative way—with perks they’ll actually want.

Switch up the schedule: Hard-working employees (sometimes) have a life outside of work, regardless of their schedule. A surprise early Friday release or late start on Monday is a great way to say thanks for the recent hard work and allow for personal care—like attending children’s school events or taking a quick recharge.

Reserve the prime parking spot: There’s something to be said for a quick walk into the office. A nice way to say “thanks for the great work” is to give someone a week of parking in a reserved Hotshot Spot. Your coworker will really feel the love when they can strut through the front doors and be reminded of their accomplishments at the same time.

The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ or ‘nice work’ when someone does something stellar can do wonders for office morale. Hand those phrases out as much as possible—and bookmark this list next time your team needs a pick-me-up.

How do you boost office morale? Let us know your keys to success in the comments below!


  1. Surprises always help raise moral! I go around with my cart filled with goodies and boombox surprising the team with a choice of different flavored pop tarts, Oreos, beef jerky, and even kind bars. The team loves it and when they ask what the occasion is, I always tell them its because they are doing such an awesome job.

    1. Haha, the boombox is a nice addition Risa. No one can deny the effects of good beats and tasty treats.

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