In the olden days, companies used to simply give their employees commands and then expect that those commands would be followed. However, in recent decades, and especially the past few years, there’s been a shift in employee management. Studies have repeatedly shown that productivity soars when workers feel like they’re working in a positive, nurturing working environment. And there are other benefits to the company, too. For example, this will reduce employee turnover, which can be highly costly for enterprises.
But of course, a positive working environment won’t just happen. Left to its own devices, the workplace will likely become anything other than positive! You’ve got to make it happen. In this blog, we’re going to run through some tried and tested tips that’ll put you on the right path towards creating a working environment that benefits everyone at your organisation.
Even if you try to create a positive work culture, you’ll find that it’s difficult, if not possible, to achieve if you’re not hiring the right people for your business. There are many different elements that go into ensuring that you have the right recruits. All too often, recruiters tend to focus solely on the educational qualifications and professional background of a candidate. However, it’s worthwhile digging a little deeper. If you’re hoping to create a tight-knit team of employees, then you’ll need employees who are capable of contributing to that dynamic. It’s not necessarily about only hiring ‘nice’ people, but rather about good people that will buy into what you want to achieve.
Create the Space
The working environment contributes a great deal to the overall atmosphere of the company. How could it not? We’re all influenced by our surroundings, after all. So take a look at your office space — what does it say to your employees? If the office is overly dark and uninspiring, then you can’t expect your staff to be too joyful when they’re there. The concept of the office has received a big makeover in recent years. They’re no longer those simple desk and chair combinations anymore. The best offices have plants, relaxing zones, games, and social spaces. None of these things are particularly difficult to incorporate into an office, but they can make a big difference to the overall atmosphere.
Get the Tools
A positive working environment doesn’t work in isolation. It’s not about having every employee happy on an individual basis; it’s about creating a team. For that to happen, you’ll need to have the infrastructure and tools that allow your members of staff to come together. One example is, as we mentioned above, creating a social space in your office where colleagues can spend time together after they’ve finished work for the day. Of course, this only works if you’re all working onsite, which, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, is unlikely. In that case, you can create a digital space where your employees can hang out virtually. If you know ‘how to create a chat room for my website,’ then your staff will be able to come together, no matter where they are. This won’t just make them feel like a team, but can also help boost collaboration and productivity, too.
Of course, even if you are to host after work drinks every now and again, you can’t expect those short and sweet social interactions to do all the work. Studies have shown that people work much better when it feels like they’re working with friends, so why not create a space that allows employees to do just that? There are plenty of fun team building activities you can do. Get everyone involved, get out there, and make a day of it. You’ll find that it brings people much closer together!
Solidify Your Company Culture
If you’re going to ensure that you have a positive working environment all the time, rather than whenever everything simply comes together, then it’s a good idea to have positivity built into the foundations of your business. This is where your company culture comes in. The culture of an organization has risen in popularity in recent years, and today, there’s no modern medium sized company that leaves it to chance. Of course, your culture has to be in line with your objectives. But if you’re looking to make things positive, then you should have a groundwork of lightness and fun. It is possible to work hard and have a good time both at once!
Offer Opportunities to Grow
If there’s one thing that harms the morale of a workplace, it’s the constant coming and going of employees. A team might just be beginning to click, but then, one or two employees leave, and the whole thing has to be started all over again. While you can’t make your employees stay forever, there are things you can do that’ll make them less likely to leave. One such example is to provide opportunities to grow. If you’ve hired the best employees, then they won’t be content to simply stay in the same place forever. They’ll want to develop.
So make sure that you’re giving them the opportunity to do so. There are plenty of ways you can do this. You can send them on courses, create a professional development plan, or simply provide a pathway to more senior positions within the company.
You might feel that you know what’s best for your employees, but do you know who really knows what’s best for them? The employees themselves. Rather than always trying to do things that you think will improve the employee experience, why not just ask them directly? They’ll likely have a lot of ideas about improvements that can be made. But even if they don’t, asking will still have a positive effect. It’ll show that this is a workplace that’s not based on the traditional “employer says, employee listens” dynamic, but one where the thoughts and feelings of the team are taken into account. It’s generally a good idea to have an open-door policy so staff can always come to you if they have things on their mind.
Support Your Employees
Nothing will compromise the atmosphere of a workplace more than when an employee feels that they’ve been thrown under the bus. Yes, there will be times when a customer complains. And there may also be times when the customer is correct. However, the solution to this problem is not to publicly blame the employee, even if they were to blame. Instead, the leader should take responsibility for the error and make amends. You can talk to the employee later, but only in private. It can be tempting to lay the blame elsewhere but it’s not worth it.
If you want your employees to be happy in their work, then you’ll need to offer a working environment that’s in line with modern standards. For example, more and more employees are working under flexible work conditions. Could you offer the same? If you don’t, then your employees might begin to feel a little jealous that you’re holding them back from this big perk of working life. And if that attitude settles in, then there will naturally be a dip in morale.
One to One Time
While you’ll be working to create a positive team, it’s also important to remember that the team will be made up of individuals. And they shouldn’t be left behind. The workplace will be better if all the employees feel listened to and engaged with their work. From time to time, schedule meetings with your employees to discuss their position at the company, their hopes for the future, any concerns that they might have, and so on.
Keep Looking Forward
Finally, remember that the morale of the workforce will begin to dip if it feels like the company is sliding backwards. While you can’t always ensure that you’ll be more profitable tomorrow than you are today, you can build a culture of innovation and progress that’ll make it more likely. Employees have a sixth sense for when things aren’t going so well. If they begin to feel like the best days of the company are in the past, then they’ll begin to look for new work. Positivity is about happiness, but it’s also about energy. If the company is moving forward, then it’ll be dying a slow death.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article: it’s highly unlikely that a positive and happy working environment will happen all on its own. You have to make it happen! The good news is that, even if this isn’t something that you’ve thought all that hard about before, it’s never too late to take action. Indeed, if you took all the tips that we’ve outlined above, then you’d find that you’re well on your way to having a working environment that’s full of positivity. And aside from just making the work environment a more pleasant place to be, it’ll actively boost productivity and ultimately the company’s bottom line.