Signs of a Positive Work Environment
We all have stories about the places we have worked in the past. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. What experiences and benefits are important to employees in the modern world? All of us have different preferences and different standards that we find acceptable. However, there is a universal list of things that are important to keep workplace morale high and to ensure your company is spoken highly from current or past employees.
When talking about the culture of an office or workplace it is important to first understand what we are discussing. A culture is a set of standards followed by everyone and is the character and personality of your workplace. Every company desires to have a positive culture but it is easy to tell who succeeds and who fails. The most obvious way to identify a positive culture in the workplace is to see how happy employees are. People who feel valued and appreciated are almost always happier at work. They will be less stressed and feel like their input makes a difference and that their voice is heard. In contrast, people who feel undervalued and ignored will be less motivated to work hard and to contribute as much as they can for the company’s overall good. So how do you create a positive work culture? First is set a clear expectation for everyone including upper management. Having consistent rules that are universally followed ensures people are held to the correct standard. Furthermore, understanding expectations early allows everyone to know when they are succeeding and when they are falling short. Do not hide and dwell on mistakes but use them to create learning opportunities. Having an office culture where mistakes are corrected and lessons are learned to prevent future mistakes have a happier staff then an office where mistakes are strictly disciplined. Corrective actions can sometimes be necessary on the job, but they should not be used in excess. This only creates a culture of fear and does not inspire greatness.
Having a universal attendance policy is a must in the modern office. This allows people to be treated equally without exception; however, you must be reasonable when creating this set of guidelines. It is important to any company for people to show up at work, but there are times when this is not possible. People get sick and have family emergencies that have to be dealt with. Having an attendance policy that is reasonable and allows people to react to these mini crises is equally as important to having people show up for work. If you force someone to work while they are ill you run the risk of infecting the whole office and creating a health and labor issue. In contrast it is very important, as a manager or business owner that you do not get taken advantage of. Unfortunately many people will call off from work sick just because they do not feel like working. This can be problematic for many reasons. So in order to deal with this problem it is important to set a standard for what attendance is acceptable. Missing a few days a year for family issues is understandable but missing work every other week can become a serious problem. So when you set up an attendance policy try to find the middle ground. Give people freedom to live life and deal with family issues, but do not allow yourself to get taken advantage of. Finally, be up front with this policy. No one likes surprises so make sure everyone understands what the rules and expectations are.
One of the most important draws an employer has is the offering of work benefits to everyone who works there. People need of healthcare, retirement savings options, and vacation time in order to make their work worthwhile. Many people will take a job that pays a bit less if it has better benefits. The most important and talked about benefit in the 21st century is healthcare. Medical tests and procedures are ridiculously expensive and can only be afforded if you have health insurance. The best way to get quality insurance is to get it through the workplace. Other options exist for health coverage but people who get open market policies usually pay more. In addition, if you have a pre-existing condition health insurance provided through work is a must. Most private insurance companies will not want to give you coverage because it will cost them money. The healthcare industry in America is extremely complex and unfortunately is not set up in a way that provides care to everyone universally. So when someone is looking for a job or as an employer you are offering a job to someone make sure they understand all the benefits. Getting quality health insurance is very important but so is retirement planning. Most major companies will offer some sort of matching 401k option for savings. Make sure you do the same. Everyone wants to retire early but it is only possible for people who plan well and take advantage of every savings opportunity. So to ensure you have a positive work environment it is important to ensure that everyone who works for the company has benefits they can pride themselves on.
People can be stubborn and everyone thinks that they know best. This can create a cancer in the office if you allow this mentality to remain unchecked. So how to you make people with opposing ideas both feel valued and want to continue to provide quality input. The answer is simple, be open minded and encourage a collaborative environment. If you and a coworker or employee have strong feelings about a way something should be done take the time to talk about it. Listen to their prospective and do not cut them short. By doing so you have respected their opinion and it opens the door for you to make a case for your way of doing so; once everyone has provided input work together to figure out the best way to get the job done. By listening to the ideas and suggestions of others you might have realized you forgot about something. In addition it is usually possible to take both ideas and combine it into a procedure that is better than either independent one. Finally, by working collaboratively you have embraced a team mentality where everyone’s contribution is needed and respected. Being respected and feeling valuable are some of the most important pieces to ensuring a happy workplace culture.
No one wants to be miserable at work. Everyone wants to feel valuable and to feel like they contribute to greatness. Do not take the feeling of success away from people and make sure everyone feels valued. Provide an environment of consistency and ensure you take care of the entire staff. These are the simple keys to ensuring a positive workplace culture. Like most things it is easier said than done; however, taking the time and putting forth the effort is important. Showing that you encourage success and provide an environment for improvement everyday will ensure you have a well functioning office. People who are happy will work harder than those who are not.