Work is challenging when you don’t enjoy going to your job every day. Whether it’s the temperature, the distractions, toxic employees, feeling overworked, or underappreciation, all of these things can create a negative work environment that can turn employees away.
A positive work environment can help foster a feeling of belonging and being fulfilled by what you do.
Building a positive work environment isn’t something that happens overnight, and it’s not just about eliminating toxic employees or having plants in every corner.
A positive work environment is about creating a culture of appreciation and advancement for employees as well.
1. Making Aesthetic Changes to the Office Environment
There’s no denying the appeal of an organized, comfortable, beautiful and safe office environment.
Walking into a room that feels welcoming is essential when employees spend so much of their days in their office. To create an office environment that feels aesthetically positive it’s important to pay attention to the look and feel of the office.
Things like functional and modern desks, up-to-date technology, plants, photos, and good lighting are all important in how an office looks and feels for employees.
However, it’s not just about the look, but also the feel of the office. Temperature, sounds, and smells all play a part in aesthetics as well. Keep the office at a comfortable temperature, offer alternative workspaces for a reprieve from sounds and smells, or encourage employees to be cognizant of others when being loud or eating potent meals.
When you’re creating a positive physical environment, it’s about comfort, practicality, and beauty.
Plants: It might seem cliche, but plants add color and life to space.
Natural light: Harsh fluorescent lighting can be unwelcoming. Instead, focus on soft light or natural lighting.
Workspace ownership: Allowing each employee to have some say over their area will allow them to create an aesthetic that works best for them.
Solitude: If your office is open, supplying spaces for solitude can be helpful for productivity and a break from any distractions.
Comfort: Comfortable chairs, temperature control, and workspace flexibility are all important in keeping employees comfortable with their environment.
2. Offering a Remote Work Policy
In reality, it’s hard to create a positive work environment that will work for everyone. Each employee has different preferences for a positive work environment, so it can be difficult to cater to everyone’s needs. For that reason, a remote work policy can be constructive. This way, employees can create the environment that works best for them.
A remote work policy is the pinnacle of flexibility regarding creating a space to enhance each employee’s potential. However, it’s important to remember each person’s remote capabilities when outlining a remote work policy.
A home office is ideal for a remote work situation. Each employee can design it themselves, control their lighting, set their temperature, and have some say over their environmental distractions. However, not every living situation is ideal for a home office.
Some employees may not own their own home and may not have the capabilities to create their own office. Especially for younger employees, buying a house with student debt is not always easy.
To help those employees, consider keeping the office open for those employees who need it. You can also open a remote work policy to include coffee shops or libraries, not just a home location.
3. Vetting Employee and Management Personalities
Often, a positive office environment has a lot to do with the people in the office. It doesn’t matter what kind of welcoming environment you have if your employees don’t jive with each other.
A toxic employee may rely on others to complete their work, can be resistant to change, complaints often can be distracting, or bullies other employees. Poisonous managers can be condescending, tend to micromanage, ignore employee concerns, or play favorites.
For these reasons, it can be essential to vet employee and management personalities to be sure you’re not filling your office with toxic people.
There are plenty of ways to vet employees, though it can be hard to prevent a toxic employee or manager from the office if that side of them doesn’t show in an interview — in which case it’s just as essential to rehabilitate or remove toxic employees as it is not to hire them at all. There are various personality tests you can give an employee to understand the type of personality you’re having to handle.
Discuss the importance of your culture, and remember that it’s not just about their qualifications; it’s also about having their presence add to a positive office environment — not take away from it.
4. Encouraging Work-Life Balance
Work should be a part of life — not something that encompasses someone’s life. Sometimes employees can feel overworked or pressured to work as much as they can, all to be a star employee.
However, the best employee is happy, rested, and focused employee. For that reason, it’s best to instill a healthy work-life balance within employees. This not only helps employees to be the best they can be at work, but it also encourages a more positive attitude
Working for a company who cares about their life outside as well as inside the office creates a healthy relationship between an employee and their employer. Encouraging work-life balance is possible in a few different ways depending on the company:
Provide flex hours: This provides flexibility for work hours that allows an employee to easily schedule around specific events like a doctor’s appointment or child’s swim lessons.
Promote health: Gym memberships, employee walks, and healthy company-sponsored lunches are all great ways to encourage health inside the office as well as at home.
Provide time off: Paid time off, or unpaid time off should be provided to employees at a reasonable level. This allows employees to feel okay about missing work due to sickness, emergencies, or just vacation.
5. Prioritizing Advancement, Appreciation, and Communication
Employees should have a few necessities to experience a positive office environment: the right tools to be successful, the ability to move up within the company, and an appreciation for their work.
Advancement opportunities are so crucial for a positive work experience that a lack of opportunity is one of the reasons for high employee turnover.
Everyone wants to feel like their job can keep them moving forward. This goes hand in hand with employee appreciation and an obligation by management to let an employee know when they are doing well and rewarding hard work.
Communication and providing necessary tools are other requirements for promoting positivity in the workplace. Providing an employee with training, communication tools, and a collaborative environment will allow them to feel like they have all the things they need to succeed in their job.
Fostering communication between employees as well as prioritizing transparency between management and employees is paramount as well. Employees want to feel trusted and appreciated in their office environment.
There are a lot of things that go into a positive office environment. Providing a welcoming and safe office environment or allowing employees to work in their own space is one way. Or hiring employees and promoting managers who are a good personality fit while avoiding or firing toxic personalities.
It’s about valuing and celebrating a positive work-life balance instead of encouraging burnout or overworked employees. It’s about making sure employees feel fulfilled, valued, trusted, and provided with the tools they need to succeed.
When you foster a culture of positivity, you are building an environment that makes an employee proud to do their best for their company.