Motivating employees is hard enough when everyone has their own cushy office. But it’s even tougher when people are jammed together like sardines in a claustrophobic environment. Nerves can fray and tempers can flare.
Whether you manage a call center or police dispatchers tethered to their radio, the challenge becomes nurturingand cooperation when workers cannot help but overhear each other. Add the stress of everyone dealing with constant incoming calls and you have a potentially combustible situation on your hands.
To build camaraderie, ask employees for suggestions on ways to enhance their cramped workspace. Welcome their ideas on reconfiguring cubicles or adjusting the layout of desks and furniture.
Also get employee input on ambient noise. Eliminate unnecessary sounds that can distract or annoy the group (such as heavily amplified loudspeakers blasting away with messages they don’t need to hear).
Pay attention to lighting. Dimly or unevenly lit areas can subtly undermine morale.
Perhaps the best motivator is sitting alongside your employees and lending a helping hand. Pull up a chair and chip in to alleviate their workload. They’ll appreciate your hands-on effort—and you might also identify customer service issues that you can fix or improve.
Better yet, ask senior executives to sit with your team and help out or at least drop by and offer encouragement. Their very presence can elevate the spirit of an overworked group.
If you don’t have time to work in the trenches, provide periodic support in simple, low-cost ways. Ask employees about their favorite snacks or beverages—and surprise them with occasional treats.