It’s no secret that when employees are happy at work, they tend to perform better. While happiness isn’t necessarily causing employees to go above and beyond the call of duty, there’s no denying that happiness, productivity, and teamwork are all inexorably interconnected. One factor that can influence all of these things is your employee’s mobile apps.
The mobile apps for employees that you choose can have a big impact on how people work at your company because it involves employee engagement. Remember, an engaged and satisfied workforce will work harder, faster, and more efficiently. This means that every employee mobile app you ask people to use during the average workday should contribute to engagement and reduce frustration.
The good news is that there are so many great mobile apps for employees designed to prioritize, enhance focus, streamline tasks, and improve communications. However, choosing between them can be tough, so we put together this post to help you better understand how mobile employee apps can boost happiness at your workplace and why less may actually be more when you’re looking for tech solutions.
Before we dive into those topics, let’s take a look at why happiness in the workplace matters.
Happy Employees are More Productive
Company culture matters a lot to a business’ bottom line because research has shown time and time again that happy, engaged employees are better employees. One recent study conducted by Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr Eugenio Proto, and Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees. In another study, companies that made it onto the Fortune Top 100 Companies to Work For list (which you don’t do with disgruntled employees) saw their stocks rise much faster over time than the competition. And companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%!
What’s the connection between employee happiness and productivity — and eventually profits? That’s simple. Employees are happiest when they’re in a low-frustration workplace. This includes that they can see how what they’re doing matters, they get plenty of recognition, they have opportunities to collaborate and grow, and they feel they have a voice. These workers are less likely to give up when the going gets tough, better able to persevere when selling, more loyal, less likely to call in sick, and driven to meet not only their own goals, but the goals of the organizations they work for.
Every company wants to attract employees like that, and the good news is that you can if you promote a culture of happiness at your workplace. It’s not about Aloha Fridays and cool swag (though that kind of thing is nice), but rather about making it easier and more rewarding for your employees to do what they were hired to do.
How Employee Mobile Apps Can Boost Happiness
The best apps for your employees will depend on the nature of your business, but there are some common factors that make certain apps for employees stand out. To get the biggest happiness boost with technology, you should always look for employee mobile apps that:
Reach employees where they are
Connected employees are happier. Whether you’re looking at corporate communications apps, bookkeeping platforms, or mobile HR solutions, the business management software you choose needs to be accessible from anywhere. Deskless, frontline, and customer-facing workers should be able to use any apps you choose in the field instead of having to sit down at a computer, which can interrupt the flow of the day or take up time that could have been spent doing something more productive.
This is especially important when you’re looking at communications apps and full employee intranets. Your workers should be able to access and share information, find the resources they need in the field, and work collaboratively with their in-office colleagues without encountering frustrating barriers.
Help you show workers you appreciate them
One of the easiest but most powerful ways to increase employee happiness and productivity is by showing your appreciation. A Work.com study found that 69% of people worked harder when they felt their efforts were appreciated, while nearly as many would be quick to quit if they were working at businesses that showed no appreciation at all. This is especially important when it comes to your deskless and frontline employees who aren’t regularly in the office and may not be exposed to the same praise.
An employee recognition or award program is one way to say thank you to those workers who consistently do their best. Rewards and bonuses can work wonders, provided you’re giving them out fairly and regularly. You can also choose a communications app like Blink that gives you a platform from which to showcase the accomplishments of your top talent. A simple shout-out can go a long way, so don’t hesitate to applaud great employees and to tell them how what they do matters.
Stop the endless email flood
The average office worker receives more than 200 emails each day and spends roughly two and a half hours managing them. It's not a particularly productive way to spend working hours, and all of that email doesn't do a thing to increase an employee’s happiness. Quite the opposite, in fact. Email is a constant distraction, and the feeling that one needs to be “always on” can lead to big time burnout.
The daily email influx is an unavoidable reality, but there are apps like Blink that can automate email to some degree (when paired with Zapier) and apps that make it easier to communicate without using email much at all.
Provide opportunities for growth
Employees are happiest when they feel not only challenged, but also that there's room to grow. The problem is that providing opportunities for growth can be tough. Even if you find great classes, conferences, and continuing ed programs, there may not be the resources or the manpower available to encourage and then manage employee enrollment. There are employee mobile apps that help you share learning opportunities with more employees and promote these valuable programs to more people. Blink is one of them.
Remove communications roadblocks
Many of the biggest happiness-draining frustrations workers face revolve around internal communications. These range from time wasted spent trying to find missing resources to being unable to get company updates while on the frontline. Here's why smooth internal comms translates into productivity: When people communicate more efficiently, they have more time to get their core work done and to innovate. There are lots of apps out there designed to make organizational communication easier. Blink was created to address multiple comms challenges. It makes everything findable with a unified search feature and archives everything that has been posted, shared, or mentioned in chat. Even photos. It also makes communication a two-way street, giving employees a louder voice.
Not every role lends itself to telecommuting and some workers thrive on mobile devices using facetime but there are good reasons to allow it for employees (especially talented introverted employees) who can reasonably do their work from anywhere. A study by FlexJobs found that half of workers were more productive when they were outside of the office and would be willing to take a new position for less pay if telecommuting was an available perk. The typical barriers to effective telecommuting are manifold (e.g., lack of communication, lack of access to resources, feelings of disconnect or disengagement) but there are apps for employees like Blink that can nullify these issues by ensuring that employees can stay connected no matter where they are.
Support a culture of fun
Some apps for employees (in particular, intranet apps) will support your efforts to create a culture of fun at your workplace. This is important because creating opportunities for play inside and outside of the workplace has numerous benefits. Employees who spend time together doing fun activities like cooking or playing with each other’s puppies on bring your dog to work days are less stressed, better at collaboration, quicker to resolve interpersonal conflicts, and more motivated.
There are employee apps (including Blink) that allow employees to create after-work events, create interest-based online communities, invite colleagues to see them in performances or go to their sports games, and otherwise get to know their coworkers better. Fun can also foster feelings of cohesion among teams, even when the members of those teams are located thousands of miles apart from one another.
Give employees a voice
Giving your workforce a way to share ideas and communicate (and not just to receive information from up above) lets you learn a lot about how happy or frustrated employees are. Why do you need an app for that? Most workplace surveys aren’t anonymous and many employees who feel unhappy don't want to say as much for fear that they'll be seen as less loyal. In an app like Blink, however, you can create anonymous polls and surveys that make finding and then creating solutions to employee pain points easier. Employees also have the means to reach out to their supervisors to share their ideas about how to optimize workflows, make customers happier, and get more done.
Cut down on mandatory meetings
Pointless meetings are at the root of so much lost productivity, and we all know from experience that sitting in long, boring meetings doesn't make anyone happy. Apps for employees can make most meetings unnecessary. Instead of gathering twenty-five people in a conference room for a quick project update, you can shoot out an update in an app like Blink and confirm that everyone has read it.
Serve as a platform for peer-to-peer recognition
Employee appreciation can go a long way to increasing happiness at your company, but you can take it even further by giving workers a way to recognize and reward each other's accomplishments. Formal recognition often takes a long time, whereas peer-to-peer recognition may be almost instantaneous. The apps that facilitate this type of recognition can help you boost morale, engagement, and happiness among your employees.
Facilitate collaboration within and between teams
The most successful companies with the happiest and most engaged employees think regularly about how to encourage collaboration. Teamwork is, after all, the foundation of business success. Two heads are better than one when it comes to idea generation, and what’s even better than that are entire teams. When employees work together, they bring diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and more to the table. Make sure that any employee apps you’re using allow your employees to work together toward their common goals.
Enable flexible work
In one study, more than a third of small-business employees reported that more flexible work schedules can increase happiness and minimize burnout. You don’t need to create complicated flex time policies to take advantage of this happiness boost. Choosing employee apps that give your employees the freedom to work flexible hours or remotely when the alternative would be taking a day off is a super smart move.
Your company will benefit from the fact that employees are productive on days they might otherwise have been absent (e.g., on the day of the a.m. kindergarten concert or when someone has car troubles), and employees will love the fact that they work for an organization that respects that they have lives and obligations outside of the office. Apps that enable flexible work are especially useful for employees with young kids, those caring for aging relatives, and anyone with health issues.
There are a lot of employee apps out there, but remember that not all of them are worth investing in. You may be tempted to invite your workers to try every new app under the sun, but most of the time less is more. If you can find a single employee app that does of all the above and is easy to use for less technically minded workers, your teams and your tech budget will thank you.