3 Out-of-the-Box Tools for a Happier Work Environment

01/13/2017 01:40 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2017

No matter how passionate you are about the career you’ve chosen, every now and again, stress rears its ugly head. You know the feeling—whether it be a burdensome boss, damning deadline or crazy client, if you haven’t yet felt the need to pull your hair out, it’ll happen soon enough.

That said, sitting idly back, waiting for the weight of work to make itself manifest is no way to go about things. When there’s an imminent problem, the best course of action is to identify a timely, yet efficient solution. During today’s conversation, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.

The only difference? Instead of rambling on endlessly about stress-mitigating measures like breathing routines, eating more healthily and setting aside time for exercise, we’re going to inject a bit of creativity into our helpful tools—below, you’ll find three out-of-the-box solutions:

1) Hungry

While survey evidence has upheld the assertion that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, there’s a good chance a strikingly similar strategy works for improving employee happiness in the workplace—this is where Hungry steps confidently into the picture.

Truth be told, Hungry is the first catering service of its kind, flipping the traditional catering model on its head. Instead of a few chefs cooking many dishes, Hungry has over 50 chefs each expertly cooking a handful of their best recipes.

The link between in-office enjoyment and the satisfying of grumbling tummies is strong. In fact, says Hungry’s co-founder, Eman Pahlavani, “We’re excited to launch an office lunch and catering service because Hungry can help boost workplace productivity, culture and happiness.”

Hungry’s recurring lunch plans allow employees to choose from the menus of top chefs, preparing their best recipes, with the food delivered to the office any day of the week. These menus can be customized to meet health and dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free, and gluten-free options. After each meal, employees can provide feedback to help office managers decide which dishes are the best for their office.

Corporate catering is great, but in addition to turning employee frowns upside down, Hungry plans to help feed underprivileged individuals living in and around the greater Washington D.C. area. In 2017, for every two meals purchased, Hungry will donate one to the less fortunate.

2) Oyster

While there are a number of health benefits to eating the ocean-dwelling bivalves, they’ve got little to do with creating a happier work environment either for yourself or your employees. In this case, Oyster is an app that gives users access to more than 100,000 books every month.

Not only is access to said books unlimited, but it costs as much as a Netflix membership or premium account on Spotify—just $10. Even better, the selections Oyster offers are all-inclusive in the ways of titles and genres. If there’s an editorial itch to scratch, Oyster can definitely help.

Hold the phone, though—what does any of this have to do with the workplace? Though we live in a very digital day and age, it’s no secret that reading is a huge part of any person’s professional success. Well-documented, reading improves focus, memory, knowledge and analytical thinking.

And one more thing—it’s known for enhancing individual tranquility, while also reducing stress. Don’t get me wrong—you shouldn’t be stealing your employer’s time by reading in the broom closet, but when you’ve got some downtime, alloy Oyster to put a smile on your face.

3) Bark ‘N’ Borrow

Reading and eating in the workplace are great, but what better way to immediately improve a person’s happiness than to toss (not literally) an adorable puppy in their arms? Therein lies the genius of Bark ’N’ Borrow—whenever they want it, people have access to man’s best friend.

No, Bark ’N’ Borrow isn’t selling dogs—they’re lending them out. Sure, it might sound a bit strange, but it’s all safe and fun. Basically, whenever dog owners needs a sitter for their furry, four-legged friends, they take to the Bark ’N’ Borrow app to find them loving companionship.

Found in 2014 by Liam Berkeley, the Los Angeles-based startup saw immediate success with both individuals and businesses. It’s important to note that the dogs Bark ’N’ Barrow connects people with aren’t meant for entertainment—they’re to provide heart-warming interaction.

Needless to say, should your place of business feel tightly-wound, consider bringing a dog or two into the office for a couple of hours using Bark ’N’ Borrow. Yes, some unwanted shedding might take place, but numerous studies have confirmed the positive effects of canine camaraderie.

Wrapping Things Up

For skilled employees, creativity is held at a premium. With that in mind, however, don’t limit your creativity to money-making issues. Use it to help yourself, fellow employees and the organization you represent—start with the three tools listed above to make it happen.

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