Let’s face it – employees are really important to any company. I’ve never understood the quite generic business policy of treating employees badly – no pay rises, divide-and-conquer attitudes, insufficient training programmes and general lack of appreciation. I’ve even heard someone say once that the best way to get a pay rise, is to move jobs; which I think is just ridiculous. I know the days of a job-for-life are long gone but the idea of employer and employee growing together over years, with mutual loyalty and respect at the core of that relationship, still appeals to me. John Lewis, a UK business founded in 1864, still operates under the The John Lewis Partnership – an employee-owned UK partnership which runs John Lewis department stores, Waitrose supermarkets and a number of other services. The company is owned by a trust on behalf of all its employees — known as partners – who have a say in the running of the business and receive a share of annual profits, which is usually a significant addition to their salary. Everyone therefore feels a part of the business’ vision and is therefore significantly empowered.

Another way to boost employees’ appreciation factor is to give them great offices to come to everyday. Can you imagine going to work where many of the floor surfaces are grass (Innocent Drinks) or taking the firepole between floors (Google)? How much more fun would the working day feel then? I think breaking free of business barriers (especially in creative environments) is a great idea – employees will feel more motivated, invigorated and like someone cares about their happiness. Which is rare in business…

Innocent Drinks’ head office in London

Google offices in Zurich

Skype offices in Stockholm

Red Bull offices in Amsterdam