1. Lighten Up on Dress Code

It’s completely understandable to expect your employees to show up to work looking clean and professional. However, there is such a thing as being too strict with dress code. If employees are confined to wearing specific colors or styles of clothing, they won’t have a chance to express who they are as people. After all, a workplace is a collaborative environment supported by various types of people. It is a place where people should be motivated to stand out in order to move up. Part of standing out is largely through performance and work ethic, but it is also through personality and style. Also, putting trust in your employees to know what is and isn’t appropriate to wear gives them a sense of independence, which will reflect positively in their work.

2. Show Appreciation

It’s always a pleasant surprise to be told (or shown) we’re appreciated. According to the VIA Institute on Character, 78% of employees who have had a meaningful discussion with their manager about their strengths feel that their work is making a difference and is appreciated. Also, the employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are 71% more likely to feel engaged and energized by their work. In other words, showing your employees you appreciate them will not only benefit them–it will benefit you as well. There are many ways to show appreciation, so even small gestures throughout the day, such as saying, “thank you so much for doing that,” go a long way. Perhaps you could bring in lunch for the whole team, or let everyone head home early on Friday after a successful week.

3. Be Flexible (But Not Too Flexible)

As a boss, it’s crucial to remember that employees are real people with real lives. As convenient as it would be for all their time to be devoted to a job, that’s just not the case. Perhaps someone needs to leave early for an appointment, or to pick up their child. This is something that will inevitably happen with any employee. As long as they are communicative about it and it’s not a frequent occurrence, it shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. Obviously there are times when it’s appropriate to step in and let an employee know they are taking advantage of that flexibility. If he or she is strolling in 20 minutes late every day or taking long lunches, it’s time to re-establish some boundaries. You will actually find that with compassion and understanding toward your employees, comes a better attitude and work performance from them.

4. Have a Little Fun

The workplace is a setting intended for productivity and professionalism. Though it may sound counterproductive, allowing employees to relax and do something fun will keep up their motivation. Consider it a “reset” button that boosts morale. Perhaps you can plan an occasional work party where everyone can relax and engage in casual conversation. This will also make for a more tight-knit group once people know more about one another on a personal level.

5. Set the Office Mood

As a kid, it’s intimidating walking into a teacher’s classroom with nothing but bare white walls and some desks. This also applies in the workplace. It’s important to add some aspects to your office space that provide a sense of warmth, because it makes your employees feel at home and reflects in their work performance. Don’t worry–there’s no need to be an expert on interior design, but you should consider some basics, such as painted walls and some hints of decor. If your employees come into an aesthetically pleasing environment, they will feel fresh, motivated and ready to accomplish tasks.

Ultimately, there are countless factors that determine the success of your business and the happiness of your employees. However, if you utilize these tips, you should see a difference in your employees’ morale and performance.