Running a business is not merely a matter of providing a product or service. There are numerous threads to pull regarding internal infrastructure and logistics, which are essential components of a business with longevity in its stars. At a time where businesses are treading a more precarious path than ever, all hands are required to pull through – which brings us to the topic of the workplace, and of workplace happiness.
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Why is the Work Environment Important?
With the relatively swift recent shift towards remote working or ‘telecommuting’, the idea of investing time and money into the work environment can seem even less worthwhile – but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are physical working spaces important for staff, but the term ‘work environment’ necessarily extends beyond the confines of the office.
The work environment encompasses company culture just as much as it does physical infrastructure, making the careful curation of happy and healthy professional interrelations a crucial part of the equation. Happier workers are up to 13% more productive, more willing to go the extra mile and more likely to stay with the business for longer; all of these factors serve to bring operating costs down, and increase turnover. What specifically, then, can be used to cultivate a happy work environment?
Cultivating a Happy Work Environment
In acknowledging that work environments stretch beyond the physical boundaries of the office, we must acknowledge the central role of culture in creating a ‘happy’ work environment. Company culture is derived from a number of sources, including the company’s core values, professional ambitions and the wants and needs of the staff. Positive and warm company cultures incentivise employees to contribute their best to the environment, making HR frameworks towards facilitating positivity vital.
Creating a positive company culture revolves around trust. Establishing respect and trust towards and between employees will help to reduce the feeling of micromanagement in the workplace, helping employees to feel a greater sense of responsibility, which is vital for a positive working environment.
Similarly, organising regular social work events can help employees to create closer connections and bond outside of a work environment, which in turn, will have a positive influence on the way they work together during work hours.
Comfort is an overlooked aspect of the work environment, but nonetheless essential a consideration. Again, comfort extends beyond its basic readings; there is more to cultivating a comfortable work environment than offering desk chairs with lumbar support. For office environments, climate is a key aspect. Companies should install insulation to keep office spaces temperate in colder months, and air conditioning for warmer months. Light is also a factor, where access to natural light can make a work environment feel less oppressive.
In order to ensure the office is a comfortable working environment, the correct equipment should be provided. Office workers spend on average 36 hours a week working, meaning a significant amount of time sat at a desk working on computers. Offering the correct ergonomic equipment will help to reduce strains that this workload can cause, providing equipment like ergonomic desks which allow resting of the arm and footrest supports underneath desks to properly rest legs while working. This can not only improve the productivity of employees in the office, but also reduce the chances of repetitive strain injuries that can lead to employees having time away from work.
Fostering a positive culture can also be achieved through transparency, where communication between leaders and workers – or even transparency between departments – can remove unnecessary logistical and emotional borders. Indeed, encouraging conversation and collaboration can enhance positivity within working environments, particularly where remote workers may feel divorced from creative or developmental processes.
One method to combat disconnect in communication is regular opportunities for employees to feedback to higher levels of management, as often the employees working within the intricacies of the job have insightful feedback which can be positive for the feedback, so creating opportunities for their voices to be heard can create a better communication channel within the business.
Finally, a small point on recognition: where good work and positive working attitudes are rewarded, further positivity and productivity is incentivised. Even recognising the hard work of a team can ensure staff feel valued, contributing to a positive culture and a happy work environment.
The environment we work in holds an important role in our productivity and happiness, with both the physical work environment and company culture playing a large part. For employers, focusing on creating the right work environment will help to get more from your employees and positively impact the success of the business. For employees, the benefits of positive work environments will help to avoid burnout, allowing them to create stronger relationships with colleagues, and increase satisfaction in the job. Overall, this proves as an important focus area for businesses of any size to increase the chances of success and growth.
To recap, creating a positive work environment can be achieved by:
- Creating a company which revolves around trust and respect, avoiding the need for micromanagement.
- Providing a comfortable working environment to accommodate the long hours that are spent within the office.
- Creating communication channels between employees and higher management, to make employees voices and feedback heard.
- Recognising hard work and talent, validating and incentivising employees to work hard and achieve.
Following these steps, the positivity of your work environment will be reflected in both employee morale, and the performance of individuals.