We all want to go to work each day and enjoy our time there. If we do enjoy our time at work we are more likely to put in extra hours, we are more likely to be productive and we are less likely to take time off sick or look for a job elsewhere. As such, as business owners and leaders, we all want our teams to be happy.
If you are just establishing your own team or you know that you would like to do things differently at work, then read on for our suggestions around how to create a positive work environment.
Work on the Office Design
The first place to start is on the physical workspace itself. You will want to begin by addressing your team’s basic needs and comfort. This means ensuring that the space is clean and tidy, that they have adequate areas to spend their breaks and there should be refreshments available, at the very least water. You will also want to think about the lighting, and where possible, go for as much natural light as you can.
Having covered off basic needs, you can pay more attention to the office design. Try to look at it objectively, or get your team to help you to do this. Is it making the best use of space? Is the layout conducive to your team being as productive as they can be? For example, is the printer over the other side of the office so people are constantly walking across to get things. Little things like this can be very easily remedied and help to make people’s lives easier.
Ensure that everyone has their own workstation and that you have carried out a risk assessment with them on it. Their work space should be safe and comfortable for them and this should help you to deliver that.
Think about the color scheme, and try to go for light, bright and airy. Keep the floors clean and change the flooring if it is looking tatty and worn.
Add Those Extra Touches to the Workspace
With the work environment looking fresh, clean and safe, you can now add those extra touches. Again, we would suggest that you get your team involved at this stage as they are bound to enjoy improving their surroundings.
You might choose to add a splash of color to one wall, or perhaps you will hang a few pictures. Studies have shown that bringing pot plants into a work environment improves employees’ moods, so you might like to scatter a few of these around. Or perhaps you will buy fresh flowers each week to brighten up the office.
Do not overlook the other senses, so pay attention to smells and sounds. A clean smelling, well-aired office will suit everyone and not irritate those with sensitivity to perfumed aromas, and then you might like to add some music to cover background noises. Music can help to create a calm or upbeat environment, depending on what you choose to play.
Recruit the Right People
For your team to work well together and feel positive each day, you are going to need to recruit the right people. They need to be team players, at whatever level of the team they come in at, and they should be able to fulfil their own roles effectively.
Unwanted atmospheres in the workplace can often stem from people not pulling their weight and putting unnecessary pressure on the rest of the team.
Train and Coach Effectively
In order for people to fulfil their own roles effectively, they will need training and coaching. You might do this yourself, you might appoint someone to take it on or you could use an external company. For example, you might want to send a manager on a course of CSM classes or you could send a team member on a first aid course.
Every individual should receive training so that they can confidently and competently do their jobs, as this will contribute to their job satisfaction. No-one likes to feel unsure of what they need to be doing each day or feel the stress of being overworked.
After initial training, make sure that you offer it for every new process introduced and then provide ongoing coaching on the job. This is a good way to spot things that people could do differently and to offer them praise for all that they are doing well.
Set Development Plans
It makes sense to set development plans for each member of your team. To do this, aim to hold one to one meetings with everyone once a month to check in on their performance with them.
These meetings should be a positive experience and be for the benefit of your team members. Strive to make the meetings comfortable and relaxed so that you can have honest conversations and come up with a plan of action together. This plan is the development plan and you should be measuring any progress towards it and celebrating it.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
To cultivate a positive working environment, it is essential that you keep the lines of communication open.
Encourage your team to feel involved by inviting them to share ideas and identify any issues with you. You might choose to have team meetings regularly to do this, though do make the point to your team that they can come to you at any time with their thoughts and concerns.
Operate an open door policy and work to build relationships with every individual in your team so that they find you approachable.
Establish a Reward System
Our final point should not be overlooked as it can make a significant difference to staff morale and motivation. You should establish a reward system that is fair to everyone.
This might be something formal, such as a recognition award or a bonus structure. Alternatively, or as well as, you could reward good attitudes and performance with smaller things such as longer lunch breaks, cakes for everyone or time off.
Never underestimate the power of a ‘thank you’, as people like to feel that you have noticed and appreciated their efforts.