Getting back into the swing of work after time away on holiday, or the commitments of Ramadan, can sometimes be a challenge. But while these events may cause temporary downward dips in employee motivation, organisations in the UAE are increasingly seeking new ways to boost and nurture staff productivity throughout the year. We asked three motivational experts for their insights.

Fruitful Day is a company that provides fresh fruit to offices across Dubai. It also gives presentations on the benefits of eating fruit to staff. “Since starting Fruitful Day in 2015, I have seen an increase in the number of companies looking for ways to improve the wellbeing of their staff,” said managing partner Marie-Christine Luijckx-Jadalla, CFA.

“Employers are seeing the positive outcomes of these sorts of initiatives, including lower healthcare costs, greater productivity in the workplace, and higher morale and commitment in their staff,” she said.

If she had one tip for HR departments, it would be to ask employees what their pain points are before designing a corporate wellness programme. “It may be physical inactivity, poor nutrition, or a stressful environment, that is impacting the wellbeing of your staff. But you won’t know what will make the greatest impact until you ask and listen,” she said. “Don’t forget a shift in the organisation will take time, so go above and beyond just organising a one-day wellness event and make it part of your company’s DNA.”

Tim Garrett, owner at Healthy 4 U & Corporate Wellness Dubai, said it is essential to change the culture of a company in order to motivate staff. “Some of the more unusual things I’ve seen work well include: community programmes, such as volunteering at the Al Jalila Children’s Hospital as a superhero; cleaning Dubai’s beaches; or giving water to blue collar construction employees,” he said.

“Try a ‘posture session’ – which is a lot more interesting than people imagine – where teams compete to hold a challenging posture for three minutes, while Eye of the Tiger plays. For the last 15 seconds, everyone counts down and then cheers to celebrate the group effort,” he recommends.

Music is also used by Rock Academy Worldwide (RAW), which has created a teambuilding programme using rock music to engage, motivate and inspire employees in the UAE. RAW forms bands from corporate professionals, mentors them while they learn rock songs, and then lets them perform for colleagues.

“The turnaround of staff in Dubai is quick and regular. New teams are forming all the time, and it's important for companies to ensure that employees work well together and get to know each other,” said Chris Kelly, director at RAW. The rock band platform requires everyone to work as a team to achieve the final goal. “Everyone has their role in a band, and no one is more important than the other. It's easy to see how this can be transferred to the workplace,” he said. “Fun is a major element to what we do, but participants also gain key skills such as problem solving, working as a team and building confidence.”

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