Apart from the responsibilities that come with a job, perhaps the single most important thing that influences employee motivation and happiness, and how productive and efficient they are, is their working environment.
Think about it, if your work environment is ‘good’ – meaning you fit well into the organization’s culture, you’re on good terms with your superiors, your peers and your co-workers, you feel comfortable working in the office, and at the end of the day, you look back at it as a positive experience, you’ll find that you’ll be much more satisfied and productive.
Businesses need to create and nurture a healthy work environment in order to (a) be able to attract the best talent to come work for them, and (b) retain their employees, lower absenteeism, boost employee morale and create a healthy and stress-free environment to work in.
The question, however, is how?
1. Promote Communication
Communication – or good communication – is the cornerstone of an effective working environment. Promoting two-way communication between peers and across hierarchical lines, establishing a strong network of communication, as well as having an open-door policy automatically makes working much more easier and effective for everyone, from the top of the organization to the bottom. It also promotes idea-generation – something that can be very useful in a small business, and boosts creativity. The aim here is to encourage contribution from all across the organization, and make sure that all contributions are valued.
2. Empower Employees
Empower employees or the people in your team to make decisions and plan their work. The idea here is to give as much freedom to employees as possible so as to empower them to work how they want to. People like a certain amount of freedom, and work is certainly no exception. When you empower employees, you’re telling them that you trust them to get the job done. You tell them that every employee in the organization has an important and essential part to play in the business’s growth. This nurtures a positive working environment.
3. . Offer Rewards and Bonuses
… especially performance-related rewards. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that should not be underestimated. It shows that you care about your employees, boosts morale, and encourages them to do better. It helps create a competitive environment within the office. Acknowledge hard-work. Eemployees will feel good when they will be rewarded for their efforts. All these factors will combine to form a positive and healthy – and not to forget, a competitive – working environment.
4. Create Teams and Nurture Team Spirit
People like working in teams. Statistics show that people are at their most efficient when they work in teams – a phenomena called synergy, which states that the combined output of a team is more than the output of each individual added together. Or in other words, 2+2=5! Thus, it is very important to form teams, put employees in teams that will get the best out of them, form ‘support groups’, and promote and nurture unity. Make people in your organization feel valued. When people work in teams, they see themselves as a group that works towards the attainment of a common goal, rather than just bunch of individuals competing against each other.
5. Provide a Positive Physical Working Environment
A positive physical working environment is as important as anything when it comes to creating a positive overall work environment. It can have a large bearing on the attitude and productivity of employees, and hence on their ability to work well. Things such as ambient temperature, the quality of lighting, personal space, noise levels, the quality of the air, the furniture and fittings, and so on can influence the overall work environment in a big way. The aim is to create a pleasant work areas for each employee, and give them their own space, as well as the freedom to set up their own work-spaces. It is also essential to minimize distractions but at the same time also promote interaction and communication – and finding the balance can be key in this regard. In addition, make the office a more bright and cheerful place to work in for everyone.
Remember that a healthy, efficient and positive work environment is a big part of the organizational culture, and like I said, can have a big bearing on it’s ability to attract the right kind of talent, and the top human resource.
It is also essential to know that organizational culture – and indeed, working environment – ‘comes from the top.’ An entrepreneur’s big responsibility is to create, develop and nurture the right kind of working environment for everyone to function in the organization.