A positive working environment is one where your employees are not merely productive but engaged and happy; Happy to be at work, and proud of the work that they’re doing. If this sounds super idealistic, then the chances are your office could do with a little tweaking.
Naturally everyone has days where they don’t necessarily want to be at work. Expecting your team to leap out of bed every day pumped for 8 hours in the office might be unrealistic, but we all know that the opposite scenario isn’t unusual (snooze button anyone?).
However, striking the balance between the two is achievable and I’m about to show you how. Fingers crossed with a few adjustments you won’t just have a happier office, but more motivated and productive staff all round.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
First off, take a look at the following, do any of them apply to your office?
– Poorly lit
– Dirty and/or dusty
– Too warm/cold
If you answered yes to one (or more) of the above then it’s time for a makeover.
Bearing in mind you all spend the majority of your week in the office, it’s only fair that the working environment is clean, tidy and generally an appealing place to spend time in.
Whether it means giving the walls a lick of paint, investing in new lighting or hiring a cleaner; Do your employees a favour and give them a nice place to turn up to (and one less reason to hit the snooze button).
Don’t be a stranger
Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean your conversational skills are limited to barking orders. A positive working atmosphere means getting to know your employees as people.
Clearly there’s a fine line between overly casual or formal. Being BFF’s is no use when it comes to taking charge and being a distant only serves to create a divided undercurrent.
However, a good dose of open communication lightens the atmosphere between the two, so here’s some suggestions on striking a happy balance:
– Keeping note of birthdays and celebrating them
– Remembering names, no matter how big the office/new the intern
– Noticing if someone is struggling and offering help or advice
– Saying hello in the morning and goodbye in the evening
– Thanking people for extra effort
– Asking staff for their opinions (and taking it onboard)
That last point takes us to the next, which is:
Expect the best – and treat your staff accordingly
Having faith in your employees means expecting them to have the skills to deliver, and having the trust in them to do so. Constant scrutinization might achieve short-term results, but it also cultivates an working atmosphere of fear and negativity.
Instead of micro-managing try morning team meetings to set out the days objectives. As long as your teams have set time frames and clear goals to work towards, you’ll find that your office achieve the same results even without you peering over their shoulders 24/7.
Positive reinforcement is proven as a more effective method of cultivating good performance over negative feedback, which is all too often the case particularly when it comes to annual reviews.
Instead of focusing purely on where people are going wrong, try and bring up the balance with compliments where compliments are due. Even a spontaneous “good job” can really boost someone’s confidence.
When giving annual feedback, try and stick to a 2:1 ratio of good vs bad; Start off with the good, bring up the bad, end with positive reinforcement. Ending on a high note will keep the criticism constructive (as opposed to soul-destroying).
Lead by example
A positive working environment stems from the top.
As a leader it’s up to you to set the standard, after all you can’t expect your staff to skip to the office in high spirits if you’re storming through in a foul mood every morning.
Leading by example means setting the tone, so take a deep breath and remind yourself of the qualities you want to cultivate i.e.
– Hard working
Put simply, it boils down to being a decent human being.
The gist of it all…
Cultivating a positive working environment means treating staff like human beings; To borrow a quote from Richard Branson: “A company is simply a group of people. As a leader of people you have to be a great listener, a great motivator, very good at praising and seeing the best in people”.
You can’t put it much better than that.
Got any tips or suggestions to add to the list? We’d love to hear them, let us know your thoughts on creating a positive working environment (horror stories are welcome too).
Image Reference – Flickr Hernani Larrea