On average, most employees in Dubai spend 8-9 hours at work, which is on-par (and for some, slightly higher) than the hours of sleep they get per night. This, coupled with the fact that technology has helped work “follow” employees home afterhours and on the weekend, means it is crucial to manage the happiness and productivity of your employees to prevent them from burning out and turning into unenthusiastic baggage. Finding new and innovative ways to promote a healthy work environment can be tough, so take these tips as a starting point:

Leave – as in, “leave them alone”

Technology has made it easy for colleagues to get in touch during “time-off” and “sick leave”, which has been dire for employee-employer relations. While sick leave can strike at any point (meaning a few slack messages and emails might be necessary to ensure a smooth transition at work), most vacation or maternity leave is given weeks in advance. Respect their time off and organize their absence accordingly. Although this is the responsibility of a manager, HR would do well to enforce this through emails and reminders that an employee’s leave is upcoming.

Employees see their co-workers more hours a week than family and friends. Extensive hours in a cubical or navigating professional interactions daily will take its toll on anyone, so respect the time needed for space and rejuvenation, and when they are unwell, the time required to recover.

Pro-tip: Investing in a Leave Management System will help get everyone on board with leave requests and calendars, ensuring that each employee has a clear overview of upcoming celebrations and departures.

Small incentives go a long way

You don’t have to throw bonuses or money at your employees. People are sensitive to incentives, no matter how small they may seem. A day out with the team every blue moon or celebrating employee birthdays with cake and a gift card will make them feel appreciated – even when the going gets tough. Keep up a policy of rewarding and giving and your employees will soon associate your management with generosity and fairness.

Give them the right equipment

If your budget can handle it, be prepared to buy the best goods for your employee’s role. For Graphic Designers that could mean shelling out thousands for Adobe software and the machine to run it. For your Social Media Specialist, invest in software that will help them manage your channels and reach their KPIs. No one wants to feel undervalued, or expected to perform at the best of their ability with average and outdated equipment. And that includes good health insurance, too. Investing in a decent plan sends the message to your employers that you care about their welfare.

Celebrate victories no matter how small

According to a survey by Hubspot, 78% of employees said being recognized motivates them in their job. Whenever possible, motivate your employees with praise for their hard work – every little bit helps!

Mediate arguments and ensure that employee preferences are disguised

A poll by Monster revealed that 20% respondents left a job due to office rivalry. Competition in the office is inevitable, but some employees take it too far. Make sure incentives are in place for team work as well as individual work to discourage a dog-eat-dog environment.

Additionally, minimize open favouritism. Employees that feel their efforts will never beat those of the “preferred” employee will quickly deteriorate. Instead of working hard they will see their position as a dead-end curtailed by the strong bonds between management and a certain employee. Devoting time in team discussions where everyone is heard and valued will undermine feelings of preference, and ensure every employee knows they are on equal footing.

Juggling employee happiness and productivity is essential for the continued positive growth of a business. Regardless of size and stature, a healthy employee ecosystem will run itself with the occasional support and guidance from human resources. Be sure to dedicate enough time to actively setting up policies that respect employee needs and bridge any barriers between them and their employer.

Related links:

3 HR Headaches That You Can No Longer Afford To Ignore

Empowering Team Members. It’s Possible!

3 Signs You Are Ready for HR Automation