Any good manager will tell you the hardest part of overseeing employees is getting a balance between a happy workplace and an effective team. The work environment may not be what employees look forward to, but the best teams make sure it’s not something people are dreading, either.

There are a plethora of books on the market for this exact topic, getting into philosophy and formulas in order to get the most time efficient team possible. Instead of treading through a novel and attempting to dabble in many nuances, here are some quick and easy tips to get your team motivated.

Involve Employees in Decision-making

One of the best ways to make people on the job feel included is to include them. When employees feel like they are being heard, whether or not they get their way, they are much more likely to be happier with management. It isn’t always about getting the final choice or having everything go your own way. Most employees, just feeling like a manager cares what they have to say is enough to make them work a little harder, since gaining respect is now a useful tool.

Theme Days

This is a great way to break up a monotonous week. Theme days can be both fun and a bit of a creative challenge. Whether the theme is a Luau with nonalcoholic pina coladas served at lunch, or a challenge to dress like the most liked TV character from the 90s, a theme day can be something employees look forward to and provide bonding conversation for later cooler talk.

Project management software tools

This software sounds like something complicated and scary, but can actually be a useful and easy way to manage a team. Project planning software can take tasks and campaigns that seem hard to approach, and put them in a palatable format. This type of software can make problems easy to spot and, as a result, easy to solve. The coordination this tool provides between employees can boost how quickly they can perform on the job.

Fun Incentives

While at work, it can sometimes feel like you’re completing tasks for nothing. Sure, you’re being compensated for your time, but each line on your to-do list seems like it isn’t worth too much. A fun way to make employees a little more enthused to check things off their list are small rewards. This can be a $10 gift certificate for a local coffee shop for the first to complete a certain amount of tasks, or a longer lunch break the following Friday for whoever does the most in a given week. Small rewards can easily boost the productivity level and add a healthy level of competitiveness to an office.

These are certainly not the only ways to get your team working together, but they’re a great place to start. Small changes to an office environment can rev up the fun level. Just remember to bring creativity to the table, and your job as manager can be a new adventure rather than a sentence to boredom.

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      By Lauren Wainwright, a published journalist and fiction writer, and fulltime blogger. Follow her on twitter! @laurwain