Making things a little more interesting at work by introducing some unconventional office perks can not only help in promoting a better work environment, but increase productivity and overall morale as well.

Here are a few suggestions that some experts – researched and proved – to contribute positively when applied in the office.

Perk #1: Get Your Nap On

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Remember the stink-eye you give colleagues for dozing off during work (explains why he/she never got elected employee of the month)? Prepare to start seeing more of it!

Contrary to popular belief, the National Sleep foundation reported that taking short naps can actually improve one’s performance, memory, and alertness.

Two other findings by a Journal of Applied Psychology and the University of Berkeley have shown that short naps also help lower ones blood pressure and helps calm the nerves – a bonus for those who multitask or are always out-and-about.

So bosses, why not let your employees get some ZZZ on the job as a workplace benefit – perhaps right after lunch for 20 minutes? Take a cue from the Japanese, we say!

Perk #2: Play Some Music

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No we’re not suggesting everyone to have a jam session or pretend they’re at the club during work – although I think nobody would say it’s a bad idea.

A recent study from the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina says that playing music that your employees like would help them be more focused and improves their mood, especially if the task is repetitive – soothing lyric-less music has been shown to improve simple cognitive skills.

Consider getting a jukebox, Bluetooth speakers or the new Google Chromecast so everyone gets a turn playing their favourite jam. It sure beats whistling!

For the curious, here’s a Spotify playlist that’s in constant rotation at the WOBB Office:

Perk #3: Go Barefoot

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Off with em’ shoes”!! Okay fine, maybe not totally barefoot, but wearing footwear that’s comfortable and breathable – especially with our humid and hot weather –  will make anyone feel comfortable.

How would it benefit your employees? Apart from avoiding sweaty feet, it’s the closest thing to making them feel like they’re working from home (the power of illusion!), encouraging them to unwind and be less uptight at work.

Wearing shoes for excessive periods of time can also lead to blisters, calluses, and athlete’s foot i.e. stinky feet! So if you’re not meeting a client or have presentations for the day, we think it’s TOTALLY fine to wear sandals or flip-flops at work.

Perk #4: Encourage Play Time

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All work and no play makes Ali, Muthu, Maria and everyone else in the office very dull boys and girls.

Mixing work and play may seem to some as counter-intuitive, but taking time-out during the workday to play a game of Ping-Pong or just creating a fun and quirky working environment can serve as bonding agents for employees to have fun and form better working relationships.

Encouraging play in the office can foster creativity, increase optimism, and improves divergent thinking. Constructive play, such as having a set of Serious Play Lego around, can encourage us to push the boundaries of tried-and-tested ideas and build new exciting things.

Take for example the very first prototype for the Apple mouse – it was made by engineer Jim Yurchenco with just a roll-on deodorant stick and a butter dish – both every-day things you’d probably never think of putting together!

Perk #5: Flexible Lunch Hours

The current 1pm – 2pm hour break may seem to some bosses as the ideal meal time, but think about it – crowded foodcourts, traffic jams, urgent trips to the bank, and pending time-sensitive work are all valid reasons to not be too strict with your lunch hours.

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The Struggle is real: Going to the bank with a 1-hour time window

Breaking out of the norm and allowing everyone to freely use take their breaks when they can and need actually reduces anxiety at work and encourages better food choices: Pressed for time leads to fast food leads to obesity!

Perhaps it’s high time for a review of the old school ways of doing things around the workplace and trust that sometimes new habits can actually help the company and its people grow. The problem is, who’s going to start this conversation with the boss?

Is your company a lost cause? Check-out other multinationals and start-ups with great office culture on WOBB today!

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Posted by Diana Sequerah

Diana is a guest writer for WOBB.