Steps to Achieving a Positive Work Environment

The atmosphere of a workplace can make or break a company’s success. Work culture can be positive or negative. Employees in a positive work environment are encouraged to foster social connections and grow at work, while employees in a negative work environment are burdened by unrealistic expectations, punitive measures and a general sense of unfriendliness.

Some bosses may think that running a tight ship is the best way to produce productive employees. This approach runs the risk of cultivating a negative work culture. As a result, employees may experience unhappiness or stress, which can actually hinder productivity.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of encouraging a positive work environment, and how you can take easy steps to produce this kind of atmosphere at work.

Does Positivity Really Encourage Productivity?

A positive work culture won’t just make employees feel happier – it can strengthen the quality and quantity of their work. For example, negative work culture can have adverse effects on employees’ mental health. The Health and Safety Executive found that, over a one year period, 12 million workdays were lost in the United Kingdom due to work-related mental health conditions.

Positive work culture also fosters employee engagement, which is extremely relevant to productivity. Research published by Queen’s University found that organizations with high employee engagement experience significantly higher attendance rates, productivity rates, customer satisfaction levels and greater share-price increases than counterparts with lower employee engagement.

READ MORE: What is Psychological Safety and How to Promote it in the Workplace

How Can I Achieve a More Positive Work Culture?

Be clear and concise about core values and ethos

Every company should have a clearly stated set of goals and values. These should be thoroughly explained so that each team member understands how they are specifically valued. As a result, employees will more likely feel appreciated and trusted, and they will have more direction.

Foster inclusivity in your workplace environment

In an inclusive environment, employees are valued for their individual differences – not just in spite of them. Employees should be protected from bullying, harassment, discrimination, or microaggressions. They should also be communicated with in a way that indicates they are welcomed and valued.

Set employees up for success

For a work environment to be positive, every employee should feel confident in their ability to succeed in their role. For this to happen, the employer should provide encouragement, direction, and clarity. If employees are not given the tools to succeed, they will perceive that their employer does not have confidence in their abilities, and will lose confidence and motivation.

Emphasize collaboration

Whether employees work individually, collaboratively, or between the two styles, every workplace should have some network of communication. This means that employees are encouraged to support each other, foster connections, and find ways to learn from each other. Collaborative events that do not involve work-specific tasks are a great way to foster a more positive environment.

Strive for open, honest communication

Employees can usually tell when messages from upper management are contrived or misrepresent the truth. These instances breed mistrust, therefore creating a negative environment. Instead, employees should be given information in a transparent and timely manner. To achieve maximum positivity, avoid being unclear or patronizing when communicating with employees.

READ MORE: How Transparency Can Transform Your Work Environment

Be open to feedback and constructive criticism – and have an open-door policy

When employees have the opportunity to share feedback and express dissatisfaction honestly, they feel heard, they become more engaged, and their sense of belonging is increased – all of which will lead to a more positive environment. Plus, accepting feedback will give you the opportunity to learn more about the ongoings of your workplace, and resolve any issues that have negative effects.

Encourage employees to maintain a flexible work-life balance

The “work-life balance” refers to an employee’s ability to manage both their work tasks and their personal priorities that lie outside of work. Be careful not to overwork your employees. Spending too much time at work can lead to a neglected personal life. Not only is this detrimental to an employee’s mental health and well-being, but it can lead to burnout in the workplace. To help employees to manage their work-life balance, set fair, realistic deadlines, and encourage them to take breaks.

As a leader, you should set a positive example by considering your own work-life balance. Do you have a time or space in your life that is disconnected from work and refuels you?

Have incentives

Employers that only punish poor behaviour likely breed negative work culture. Instead, recognizing positive contributions should be prioritized. There are plenty of easy and creative ways to introduce incentives: raises, bonuses, rewards, celebratory events, and leadership boards are all great examples. Outside of these specific instances, making it clear to employees that their work is always appreciated is a great way to foster positivity.

READ MORE: How Trust Affects Workplace Culture

In conclusion, prioritizing positivity within your work environment will create happier and more productive employees. There are plenty of ways that you can foster a positive work culture as a leader, and you can look to employees for help if you want to seek further ways to improve a company’s culture.