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Saturday, November 18, 2023

Create a Staff Morale Hub to Spread a Little Sunshine!

Building and keeping staff morale strong is a direct result of continued action throughout the year. This ongoing process does require effort, but it's well worth it to make your staff feel appreciated on a daily basis. One of my best tips for making it a little easier is creating a Staff Morale Hub or Staff Sunshine Corner at your school. Set this up once and watch as your staff form meaningful bonds and connections throughout the year! 

Learn how to create a staff morale hub with these easy to implement tips and simple resources you can put into use starting today.

What is a Staff Morale Hub? 

First off, if you're wondering what I'm talking about, let me explain. 

A staff morale hub, also known as a staff sunshine corner, is a central location where staff can go to find goodies and notices related to them. 

A staff morale hub is a central location in your school where you can include anything and everything to show your staff how much you appreciate them throughout the year.
Ideally, it should be a little corner that's big enough for a cart or table, and have a bit of wall space for displays. This area is usually outside of the principal's office, or in the staff lounge so it's easy to access and most staff see it regularly. 

The idea behind a staff morale hub or staff sunshine station is to have a place where staff can find things that will encourage them, thank them, support them, and overall help boost morale. 

Holiday event notices should be here, as well as sign-ups for potlucks, and even special treats! As the coordinator for the Sunshine Committee for many years at my school, I loved getting this area set up because it was one of the best ways to make staff feel appreciated on a daily basis. 

Set-Up & Materials

Before we can decorate and add all the goodies, you'll want to make sure you have an area that will work. Talk to your principal and/or other administrators about where a good spot for this might be. Then, you'll want to make sure you have a couple of clear walls. Corner spots work well for this purpose! And finally, you'll want to secure some kind of table or cart to place everything on. 

In my school, we used a large media cart for this job. It was tall enough to be table height, had storage space underneath, and was easy to roll in and out! 

What Goes in a Staff Morale Hub? 

Now, on to the fun stuff, stocking your staff morale hub! This is the really fun part, where you get to instill personality and plenty of sunshine into your Staff Morale Hub. Remember, the idea is to help staff feel appreciated, supported, and like they're all part of one big family. Being intentional in choosing materials that will support that goal is key.  Here are 13, fun things I recommend stocking your Staff Sunshine Corner with for maximum effectiveness:

1. Staff Bulletin Board 

On the large wall behind your cart, I recommend using a bulletin board or making a mock one on the wall. This comes in handy for hanging important notices, event posters, and even fun memes to make the staff laugh.
Use a staff bulletin board or shout-out board as part of your staff morale hub to keep information and celebrations in a centralized location.

In the spirit of spreading sunshine, I always used bright and happy colors for this along with a fun header like this one. Feel free to get creative with this and add seasonal decor too! These small touches help bring your staff morale hub to life. 

2. Staff Shout-Out Board

If you happened to secure a corner for your staff morale hub, I recommend using the smaller wall on the side of your table or cart of a Staff Shout-Out Board. This simple idea encourages staff to recognize each other for acts of kindness and service. it has a way of snowballing and spreading sunshine like crazy too! 

To prep this, print out a staff shoutout board here and provide staff with post-its and markers. You can even print it poster size and place it in a large frame if you want to go the extra mile. Then, add a few notes to get the ball rolling and watch the shout-outs multiply. 

3. District Calendar 

While the staff morale hub is mostly for spreading sunshine and boosting morale, it should also be practical. Adding a district calendar to your main bulletin board is a must! You can also add any important notices specific to your district as well. Make sure to set a reminder to swap these out seasonally, if needed!

4. Check-In Sunshine Corner

This can be used for lots of different things, but it seems like it's most often used for sign-ups. 

A check in sunshine corner is a great addition to your staff morale hub because it gives you a dedicated space to keep announcements and sign ups for your staff.
At my school, we had a lot of events, so whatever was upcoming was always placed on the Sunshine Corner bulletin board. 

That way staff could quickly check and see if they were interested in participating. 

Some schools also require a daily check-in for staff. 

In which case, this Sunshine Corner bulletin board would be perfect for that! 

This helps to get staff to the area daily and they can take a quick peek at the board and see what's coming up. 

5. Basket of Blank Thank You Notes

This is such a simple add-on to your staff morale hub but it truly makes a world of difference! Grab a basket or bucket and fill it with blank Thank-You cards. I found a bunch at the dollar store. Then, as staff need them, they can grab a card or two to use. Over the years, I found that staff often brought in their own cards to donate as well and spread the gratitude!

6. Staff Address Book 

Include a staff address book in your staff morale hub for anyone who wants to send notes, thank you cards, or special gifts to staff throughout the year.
At one point, our district stopped sharing staff contact information. 

At my school, we were used to sending cards to each other at various times throughout the year, so I made a Staff Address Book for anyone who wanted to participate. 

The Staff Sunshine Corner is a great place to store this book in case anyone wants to send a thank you note, holiday card, or get well card to a staff member. 

7. Staff Favorites Book

The Staff Morale Hub is also a great place to store a Staff Favorites Book. This is a binder or booklet filled with forms that share everyone's favorite things. Some of the items on the list include favorite hot drinks, fast food, candy, pens, and more! I always passed out these forms at the beginning of the year, then filled up a binder and left this out for staff to access as needed. 

8. Candy Bowl 

Goodies of some kind are another must for this area, in my opinion! At my school, my principal liked to take on the responsibility of keeping this stocked. You can also fund this in other ways as well, or take turns filling it by grade level. No matter what you choose, it's nice to have a little treat available for staff at all times in the staff morale hub. 

9. Staff Birthday Display 

I don't know about you guys, but our school LOVED celebrating birthdays! 

A staff morale hub with a birthday bulletin board is a great way to help everyone remember special birthdays throughout the school year.
In my school, I always made sure there was a spot on the bulletin board for the current monthly birthday display, as well as the bound birthday book. 

We all know how busy the school year gets. So, when we can take a minute to show your staff that you remember their special day it makes a big impact on morale!

As an extra special bonus, the bound book was a way to peek at upcoming birthdays and the display showed the ones for the current month.

Our staff always loved seeing whose birthday was coming up, and then flipping through the Staff Favorites Book to surprise them with something they enjoyed! 

10. Kindness Plates 

This area is also a great spot to store some Kindness Plates for staff to pass around. If you've never heard of them before, they're easy and fun to use. Here's the idea: a Kindness Plate gets filled with a special treat, lunch, office supplies, or other fun goodies. Then it gets left for a teacher or staff member. That person gets to enjoy everything on the plate, and then it's their turn to fill it and gift it to someone else. 

At my school, we had 5 Kindness Plates in rotation all year long. Our rule of thumb was that once you received it, the kindness plate would be filled up again and passed on within a week. This is a fun way to encourage staff members, say thank you, or just spread a little sunshine!

11. Staff BINGO 

A BINGO style activity like this is a great addition to your staff morale hub because it creates a fun daily check in activity for your staff.
This next idea takes up a fair bit of wall space, but it's great to display in an adjacent area to your Staff Sunshine Corner. 

Staff BINGO is a fun way to reinvigorate your team and recognize them for all the things they do. 

Each page on the large BINGO board lists something the staff might do in their daily work. 

Each day they check the board and see if they completed anything on the board. 

If they did, they signed their name in that spot. The idea is to get 5 in a row to get a BINGO! 

This ongoing game is a lot of fun, and if you use Astrobrights paper it really brightens up a room too! 

12. Collection Envelope for Staff In Need 

This is an extra added touch, that hopefully you won't need. In the case that you have a staff member who is very sick, in the hospital for an extended amount of time, or otherwise in need, you can start a collection envelope. This is where staff can leave monetary donations to help the staff member and their family out. Staff might also want to drop encouraging notes here as well!

13. Random Acts of Kindness Tear-Offs 

Last but not least, we all need a few more random acts of kindness in our lives, don't we?! 
Get your staff excited about spreading kindness with these random acts of kindness tear off posters to include in your staff morale hub.

This is one of my favorites on the list because it promotes genuine and kind acts among staff that seem to boost morale more than anything else. 

These tear-off posters offer simple prompts that staff can choose from to pay it forward in some way. 

It's as simple as tearing or cutting off a prompt and taking it with you to remind yourself to make someone else's day extra special.

The prompts include things like bragging about the principal, filling the candy bowl, bringing a colleague a special treat, or bringing a vase of fresh flowers for the lounge. 

These small acts pay off BIG, and staff love grabbing them as they pass the Staff Morale Hub!

Use a Staff Sunshine Corner All Year 

So what do you think? Could your school benefit from a Staff Morale Hub or a Sunshine Corner? I sure think so! This project takes a little time to prepare, but I know you'll LOVE it once it's set up. Working with administrators, your principal, or the Sunshine Committee is a great way to get this set up in your school and reap the benefits of it all year long! 

If you're looking for more ideas on spreading sunshine and boosting staff morale, be sure to check out these posts too:

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Pin this post on Pinterest to keep these ideas for your Staff Morale Hub handy! 

Use a staff morale hub in your school as a way to celebrate your staff and show your appreciate throughout the entire school year. A centralized location in the break room, lunch room, or school office is a great place for a staff morale hub. Use these tips and tricks to set up an amazing staff morale hub in your school this year. #tarynsuniquelearning #staffmoralehub #staffmoraleideas

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