The work environment is likely a reflection of the company’s culture, the nature of the service or product offered, even the size of the workplace.
We all spend a lot of our time in the workplace, and sometimes it can be pretty challenging because you are grouping people from different cultures and believes, different personalities, different goals and ambitions, different habits – oh well, we are grouping different human beings.
We obviously want to work in a stress-free pleasant environment, where we can balance work/life, be productive and yet have fun.
Whether the environment where we work is formal, informal, small or large, quiet or chaotic, there are ways to reduce the natural stress that comes with our job responsibilities and actually build an enjoyable workplace.
How would we describe this “enjoyable workplace”?
Many of us deal with a huge amount of pressure, deadlines, goals, and conflict on a daily basis. Not all of us absolutely love what we do. But there we are, at least 8 hours every day confined in a place that almost feels like our second home – or at least it should…
Having that “sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment” in the workplace is possible, even though different things trigger different feelings in different people.
Some of the tips that I gathered over the years were:
1- Encouragement – people have personal lives and they are not problem-free. People have different personalities and not all of them are super-confident. Many times they will need a little encouragement, some kind of motivation to keep going. “You can do it” sounds a little dorky but it is very appreciated.
2- Good work conditions: are you giving your employees the materials and the equipment that they need to perform their job int he best of their abilities? I remember, in several different situations, hearing complaints from customers because they “associate took a really long time” to check them out (in a retail store). Turns out though, that the company’s system was slow and obsolete – there was nothing that the associates could really do. They actually felt very frustrated because the customer would provide feedback during the “exit survey” and they would “lose points” for something that they could not control. So, make sure your employees have what they need to be top performers.
3- Be community minded: yes, it is so important to cultivate a happy environment. If you are not “naturally happy”, hire happy personalities! Saying “good morning”, smiling, stopping by for some small talk? Absolutely! I remember once I questioned my supervisor about how I believed the behavior of associates and managers would reflect negatively in their interaction with the customers (there was absolutely NO interaction among employees/managers/employees) and what I heard was – “you do not really expect me to say good morning every day, right?” Heck yes, I do expect that!
4- Get social: promote something different once in a while, something that will encourage employees to interact with each other – have a pot luck, promote a “breakfast for charity”, make a “Carve your pumpkin” contest. Use your imagination, ask your teams for ideas…
5- Trust your people: micro managing can be a huge turn-off for most of your employees. If you hired them, it should mean that you trust they will do a good job. Empower. Delegate.
6- Praise and say “thank you”: this goes a long way. Don’t wait for the end of a big project to praise – praise the small progresses, the small victories too. Thank them for their commitment, for their loyalty.
7- Develop their skills, celebrate their attitude: they made a mistake by using the wrong forms? Train them. They can’t figure out that spreadsheet? Train them. They have a positive attitude, are dedicated and love your company? Celebrate them!
8- Put family first: Make sure that your employees know that family is a priority for you and for the company – that reduces stress and keeps them more centered.
The truth is that a happy work environment starts with us, the leaders. We should always lead by example, be the ambassadors of the company culture, focus on a happy workplace. Only then, we can expect our employees to do the same.