When you really break it down, we spend the majority of our time working, commuting to and from work, and thinking about work—even when we’re doing other things. If you want your employees to be productive, pleasant members of the team, it’s important to focus on creating a happy workplace. Everyone is in the building for around a third of each weekday, and finding ways to keep people feeling happy, healthy, and satisfied with their jobs has incredible benefits for everyone involved.
Unfortunately, a happy workplace in the United States can feel like a far-off fantasy. Although Millennials place enormous importance on finding a job they enjoy, 70% of Americans report that they are not engaged at work when polled anonymously. So what can you do to create a happy workplace?
Focus on these elements:
Minimize Stress in the Workplace
Statistically, the vast majority of stress in our lives comes from the workplace. Everything from the workload, which makes up about 46% of workplace stress, to juggling work and life (20%) affects how we feel in and out of the office. Stress negatively impacts our health and well-being and detracts from workplace happiness.
Minimize stress in the workplace by encouraging people to have a healthy work-life balance. Making vacations and time off expected can help, as can ensuring managers are assigning an appropriate workload to each employee. Keeping a more relaxed atmosphere will help keep stress levels down and help prevent employees from burning out.
Promote Mindfulness and Meditation
In many offices, workdays are fast-paced and full of distractions. It can be hard to minimize stress and improve concentration under these conditions. That’s why promoting mindfulness and meditation can be a powerful office-wide tool to help create a happier workplace.
Meditation can help increase productivity by improving a person’s ability to resist distraction, while yoga has both mental and physical benefits. It may be worthwhile to offer perks like guided meditation or yoga classes right in the office—and to dedicate a space to mindfulness. Another key aspect of promoting mindfulness: allowing employees to cut out distractions and be unreachable for periods of time.
Create a Caring Environment
We humans operate on feelings. If we don’t feel an emotional attachment to a product or company, we probably won’t buy. It’s been shown that an emotional response has a far greater influence on a consumers purchase than content of an ad. If we don’t feel valued at work, we won’t feel happy in the office or loyal to our employers.
It’s important to create a caring environment and show each employee that their contributions are valuable, and that their supervisors care about them as people. Honesty, compassion, and respect, especially from management, go a long way toward creating a happy workplace. Toxic people can spoil the environment for everyone else very quickly.
A lot of stress in life comes from conflicting priorities. People who are given the flexibility to focus on what’s most important in the current moment live happier, healthier lives. Employers can help people achieve this elusive balance by setting clear expectations but giving employees the flexibility and trust to set their own priorities and schedules. As long as the work gets done, does it matter whether the employee is in the office 9-5? Typically, no, and this freedom can help to cultivate a happy workplace.
Set Employees Up for Health
Keeping people healthy is key to a happy workplace. We’re starting to understand just how interconnected our health and habits are, and the importance of including integrative care into your routine, and offering benefits that center around employee health and wellness makes for a happier workplace.
Benefits like good medical insurance, massages, and gym reimbursement can encourage employees to stay active and healthy. Many offices now pay for snacks, and swapping out candy and chips for fresh vegetables and nuts can be a great way to further promote employee health and well-being. Making healthy habits convenient will help your staff stick to them and reap the benefits.
Change Your Current Systems
Creating a happier workplace will lead to a more pleasant work environment, greater productivity, and ultimately, reduced turnover. Changing your current systems to promote empathy and a culture that helps people sustain health, happiness, and balance can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile effort. These changes can boost morale and encourage people to show up and love their job almost every single day.
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