Featured image by fauxels from Pexels
Creating a positive work environment can make employees feel safe, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs.
Conversely, most business owners and managers are well aware of the ways a toxic work environment can affect a company’s overall productivity. Even if the toxicity is the result of a single bad apple, it doesn’t take much more than that to completely derail a team.
RELATED ARTICLE: MENTAL HEALTH AND WORKPLACE SAFETY
Of course, fostering open communication and a good company spirit is only one part of the equation. We also need to make sure employees feel physically safe in the course of their workday. So let’s talk about how we can create a positive and safe environment in a professional setting.
Ways to Create a Positive and Safe Work Environment
Creating an environment people want to work in starts with making sure everyone feels physically safe. So, to begin with, let’s talk about the environmental factors we should consider.
Design a Safe and Welcoming Space
No one can feel safe or inspired to do their jobs if they have to work in a cluttered and filthy environment. Having to do so is not only distracting but also dangerous.
With that in mind, the first thing we need to do is make sure the building itself is following all safety regulations. Employees need to know that there are exit routes, fire extinguishers, and safety protocols they can fall back on in case of emergency. In addition to making them feel safe, that is also the minimum effort we need to put in to comply with OSHA standards.
Once we know that the place of work is physically safe, we need to make it functional and, above all, clean. That includes everything from hiring a maintenance and cleaning staff to making sure everyone has enough space to breathe and do their job. Additionally, you might want to spare a thought toward making the space look good.
Try to steer clear of dreary fluorescent lighting and bring in some plants. This will go a long way toward making your work environment more positive. You can also make the office more comfortable by designating spaces where employees can take their breaks and relax. After all, well-rested employees tend to be more productive.
RELATED ARTICLE: 6 WALL ART IDEAS FOR AN INSPIRED WORKSPACE
Make Your Work Environment More Positive by Addressing the Human Element
Once the office is fit to work in, it’s time to establish company values and work toward building a healthy company culture. To do that, we’ll want to make sure all employees are on the same page.
But that kind of cohesion is pretty difficult to create. As we have previously mentioned, there are always bad apples who either can’t or won’t play nice. But if that kind of behavior grows into workplace harassment or discord, you can always let go of the people behind it. Even if they’re your star player, their behavior may be lowering other employees’ productivity. And that is definitely not conducive to a positive work environment.
Of course, harassment can come from outside of the team as well. For example, hotel cleaning staff sometimes have to deal with downright hostile customers. Worse still, they usually do so behind closed doors.
In that case, you might have your employees take a Bluetooth alert button on their rounds. Even if your employees never have to use it, knowing that you invested in that kind of thing is sure to make them feel more comfortable at work.
Invite Employees to Participate in the Creation of Policies
As a business owner or manager, you probably aren’t aware of the issues your employees have to deal with every day. With that in mind, you might want to ask your workers about the safety policies they’d like to implement. At the very least, doing that could alert you to problems you hadn’t considered.
Of course, in order to suggest new policies, employees will have to learn about the ones that are already in place. That means you should organize employee training every once in a while or educate people as you hire them. You could even have a suggestion section after the course is complete.
Issues that may come up at this point could include race, gender, and sexual identity discrimination, among other things. Whatever the case may be, remember to stay honest, curious, and vulnerable. No one is asking you to have all the answers. Just be willing to hear people out.
Acknowledge Individual Efforts and Celebrate Wins as a Team
Celebrating wins is a big part of building a positive work environment. Taking the time to thank your employees for good ideas and hard work can really improve company morale. You can even mention team members by name during company meetings to acknowledge their contributions publicly. And, of course, accomplishments should naturally translate to career advancement opportunities.
If you want to be even more generous, you could also implement a rewards system. And you don’t always need monetary incentives, either. Someone’s reward for having a productive week could be getting a personalized gift basket, an extra day off work, or a better parking spot.
Keep in mind that favoring one employee too frequently could make the reward system seem unfair. So don’t use it if you think it will cause conflicts between coworkers.
An alternative way to celebrate wins would be to host company events. Now, we’re aware that these kinds of functions often feel like chores employees have to sit through. But if you frame it as an after-work drink or, better still, take your team out for lunch, you’ll be able to turn it back around to being a fun get-together.
RELATED ARTICLE: COLLABORATIVE TEAMS: 7 KEY BENEFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Reap the Fruits of Your Labor
Creating a positive and safe work environment is a process that takes time. Still, once your employees understand what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll start seeing improvements almost immediately. Workers who feel like they matter to their employer are not only happier and healthier, they’re more productive as well. So take the time to learn what they need and deliver it. Start building trust today.
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MORE EFFICIENT