7 Ideas to Take Care of Team Members

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Research has shown that one of the best ways to increase productivity in the workplace is to take care of your employees. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of running a childcare center, but by consciously making an effort to improve your employees' experience, it may surprise you how much more smoothly things will run.

These are 7 foolproof ways to take care of your employees; while this list certainly is not comprehensive, it is a great place to start:

1. Institute an open-door policy. Let your employees know that they can always turn to you with questions, suggestions, or complaints, and be receptive when they do. By creating open lines of communication between you and your team members, you will find that employee trust will skyrocket, and so will performance.    

2. Keep the workspace comfortable and well-decorated. It may seem counterintuitive to invest in something as trivial as decor, but this is a great way to show your employees (and your clients) that you are invested in their well-being. People are most productive in a comfortable, well-lit space; if your childcare center feels a little dark, add some light fixtures. Or consider creating a comfortable seating area for your employees to use on their break. By investing in your team members’ comfort, they will invest in your business.

3. Encourage autonomy. Entrepreneur magazine says that "autonomy is the power to shape your work environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best." Giving your employees autonomy doesn't mean letting them do whatever they want whenever they feel like it; rather, it means allowing them to make choices within boundaries and to take ownership of those choices. Encouraging autonomy will increase confidence in your team members, and it will do more to build trusting relationships between you and your employees than anything else.

4. Encourage personalization. Allow your employees to get creative, whether that means creating their own name tag, designing their own team T-shirt, or decorating their own classroom. This is a great way to let your team members know that your appreciate their unique personalities and interests. 

5. Create a culture of appreciation. Be on the lookout for your employees' accomplishments, and do something to recognize them - holding a small awards ceremony every so often would be a great way to do this, but even a simple "thank you!" goes a long way. Positive affirmations are one of the best ways to encourage good work ethic in your staff; plus, it makes them feel special!

6. Focus on wellness. There are hundreds of ways to do this. Consider offering healthy snacks to your employees, participating in a community 5K race as a team, or incorporating plants around the center (creating a "green office" is shown to improve emotional wellness). You could also institute an 8 Glasses of Water a Day challenge - employees track how many days they drank 8 glasses of water in a 30 day period, and the winner gets a prize. There's no wrong way to go about this, so get creative! For more ideas, go here: https://www.modahealth.com/pdfs/wellness/low_cost_activites.pdf

7. Have fun. Attitudes and smiles are contagious. When your employees see you having a good time at work, they will not be able to avoid your good spirits. Ghandi said "Be the change you want to see in the world." If you want to see a change in your employees - whatever the change may be - start with yourself, and your team members are bound to follow your example.