UMD’s Thriving Workplace Initiative is making the University of Maryland a great place to work by providing tools and support to foster engaged, inclusive and empowered faculty and staff across campus.

Each Monday, its Five to Thrive list offers five strategies crowdsourced from research, experts and our own UMD community to help your workplace thrive.

  Want to build a Thriving Workplace? Here are this week’s tips:

  • Don’t underestimate the spontaneous “walk and talk,” whether it’s to grab coffee or simply walk the building. Insert “Here, let me walk with you” into your vocabulary. Or recruit an employee to join you when you pick up coffee. These quick conversations can be incredibly productive.
  • Set aside time each week to discuss future goals and another time to discuss current work. Differentiating these tasks allows you to focus your attention on two equally-important conversations.
  • Avoid death by meeting: Hold meetings when a face-to-face discussion is more efficient than an email thread, for constructive brainstorming, to build relationships, and when everyone is armed with information to make decisions. Meetings should not be called to relay information—email it instead. Want a really effective meeting? Keep it small, have a “no tech” policy (except for the note taker) and make sure diverse perspectives are represented.
  • Check the temperature with your staff early and often—are they finding purpose in their work? Don't wait for them to come to you.
  • Work hard, play hard. Create various social opportunities for staff to connect. Ideas include brown bag lunches, staff snack times, monthly coffees or office parties. Make occasional social events a priority, but never mandatory.

Want more tips? Visit the Thriving Workplace Resource Library here or sign up for Food for Thought Friday, which delivers strategies to your inbox each week. Send an email to with the subject listserv to subscribe.