When you’re managing a workplace, it’s essential to make sure that your employees are happy. After all, happy workers are 13% more productive on average, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to produce a workplace which feels positive and fun despite being a place of business. A negative office breeds negative attitudes to work – we don’t want that!
Creating a positive workplace is easier said than done, but here are 9 ways you can create a more positive work environment right now:
1. Don’t throw people in at the deep end
When you onboard new employees, it can be tempting to throw them in at the deep end for a “baptism of fire”. However, research repeatedly shows that this sink-or-swim attitude isn’t a productive way to introduce your new employees to your workplace.
Instead, you should have a dedicated on-boarding program (2 weeks minimum) that aims to introduce new hires to the culture, process, and people of the office. This may involve lessons on software, talks on company culture, shadowing new employees, and so on.
This will also help to greatly calm the nerves of new hires!
2. Create a comfortable work environment
Physical comfort undoubtedly has an effect on mental comfort, so be sure to make your office as comfortable as possible for your employees. Listen to their needs – if they have back problems, get them an ergonomic chair. If they don’t like sitting down all the time, consider getting them a standing desk.
The more comfortable people are, the more focused they are on the task at hand.
A comfortable environment could also apply to aesthetic things like wall colors and lighting choices. Vibrant walls and warm lighting are much more relaxing that plain white walls and harsh fluorescent lighting. All these things combine to make a space feel either comfortable or uninviting.
3. Keep new employees in the loop
When a new employee starts at your workplace, it’s natural that they won’t have much significant input on your work flows for the first few weeks because they’re still getting used to how everything works. Nonetheless, it’s important to include new hires in your relevant email chains and Slack conversations so they feel included.
It makes a big difference!
Even though you don’t expect new team members to have much input on matters initially, including them in the conversations (even just passively) demonstrates that you care about their opinion and you will listen to them when they feel experienced enough to speak up with suggestions of their own.
4. Check in on your team regularly
39% of US workers say that regular check-ins from management are the #1 thing that keeps them happy in the workplace. Even if the employee has nothing particularly exciting to report, the mere fact that you’re checking up on them is enough to make them feel valued, included, and heard.
Regularly checking in on your employees also gives you a much better sense of what’s going on in your workplace, helping you to amend issues and bottlenecks in real-time before the workflow is too seriously affected. It’s always better to be in-the-know and stay on top of things from multiple perspectives.
5. Praise and recognize accomplishments
You don’t want to be that manager who only speaks to employees when they’ve done something wrong. That’s a quick way to breed resentment and make your employees feel worthless. It’s important to praise and recognize your team’s achievements as well as speak to them when things go awry.
Balance is key!
Workers naturally feel more motivated when their superiors are praising them for their work and making them feel appreciated. Recognizing accomplishments (and rewarding them where possible) is one of the easiest ways to boost morale and make people WANT to work hard, rather than feel like they HAVE to work hard.
6. Encourage socializing
Obviously, your staff need to make sure that they’re getting work done and not just endlessly chatting all day. However, you should encourage interaction in your workplace and make it okay for employees to speak and socialize with one another in between work.
Though this may seem counter-productive, happy employees are naturally more productive anyway. Consider removing cubicles and separators so people can see one another easily. If possible, create dedicated hangout spaces for breaks and lunch times.
7. Listen to people’s ideas
In the UK, an estimated 67% of companies don’t listen to their employees’ needs, leading to resentment and a lack of satisfaction for employees. Whether your employees are giving you ideas for projects or just telling you ways that they think workflows could be improved, it’s helpful to listen to everyone’s ideas.
Yes, even if they’re not good ideas!
Listening to your team shows that you understand the workplace dynamic as complicated – although you’re in charge, you don’t need to rule the place with an iron fist. Listen to your employees and really consider what they’re saying before having a knee-jerk negative reaction. They might come up with something really special.
8. Trust your employees to do their jobs
85% of US workers experience negative morale because they’re being micromanaged by someone. While those in a management position do need to oversee their team and keep a watchful eye on what’s going on, micromanaging every little task is a fast way to become disliked and make your team feel useless.
Don’t put your employees into that 85% statistic!
At the end of the day, you hired these people to perform these jobs, so let them do them in peace! Trusting your employees to work independently shows that you value their instincts and skills in the workplace and incentivizes them to come up with novel solutions to old problems.
Although you might think you have all the answers, you’ll be impressed at the creativity of your employees if you allow them to solve problems on their own. Of course, you do need to check in regularly to make sure that work is moving in the right direction, but get comfortable with delegating workloads and trusting people.
9. Try to have fun!
As mentioned previously, happy workers are 13% more productive on average, and that figure starts to make a significant difference to your bottom line as time rolls on. Though business needs to be taken seriously at times, employees who enjoy coming to work just tend to be better at their jobs and more open to learning new things.
It’s not rocket science.
I mean, it makes sense really. We’ve all worked those dreary minimum wage jobs at some point in our lives – you hate going to work, you dread every moment of it, and you want to leave ASAP. People who have no fun or enjoyment in their workplace tend to do the bare minimum before promptly getting out of there.
Whether it’s after-work drinks, fun little jokes, casual Fridays, or letting people choose the office radio station, try to make work as enjoyable as possible in small, tangible ways.
So there we have it! We hope you enjoyed these 9 ways to create a positive work environment. From praising accomplishments to creating on-boarding programs, there are so many ways to improve team satisfaction and morale in your workplace. Good luck!