Good Working Environment Essay

To get the most out of your employees, you have to create a positive work environment for the entire team. When people feel encouraged, accepted and happy, they become more motivated and perform better. Isn’t that a nice formula?

Yes, it takes time out of your day, but the process of creating a joyous workplace brings a sense of purpose to your work and results in dedicated performances. Plus, managers are responsible for nurturing their team, not just producing great project outcomes no matter the cost. All aboard?

Here are five tips to create a positive environment for your team:

1. Engage in meaningful (in-person) dialog

When you make the effort to connect with your team members in person—individually and as a group—you’re establishing a position of caring that motivates individuals in all sorts of crazy-good ways. It’s easy to send short messages in emails, and then rely on these small exchanges for most of your communication. Or, you can focus on what needs to get done next and forget to take a breath, look around, and get to know your employees. Don’t fall into this rut. Instead, ask your team members about their immediate goals and project interests as well as their career objectives.

Also, remember: We’re all human, and most humans respond well to the real thing—in-person communication that says “you matter.”

2. Show your appreciation

One of the biggest complaints from employees is that they don’t feel appreciated. The second someone gives us a “nice job” or “you made a difference on this project,” we feel like we matter in a way that  gives our work a sense of purpose. If you’re not so inclined to give out verbal gold stars, an easy place to start is with a simple “thank you.”

The next step is to give meaningful appreciation. Thread the high-fives and “nice jobs” with a more detailed picture behind your acknowledgment. This way, your employees can understand what they’re doing well, and do more of it. Also, detailed praise shows you’re paying attention and not throwing around empty phrases. When people feel like they’re doing good work, they want to rise to the occasion even more.

3. Listen to everyone’s ideas

Your entire team has great ideas. They’re in the trenches all day, bringing their own experience and perspectives to the part of the project they’re focused on. For example, if there’s a way to make spreadsheets more efficient or cold-calls more productive, the team members know how. It’s tempting to stick with protocol because you know that works well. But these days the world moves so fast nobody can afford to stay with a status quo for too long. So instead, make it a policy to listen to new ideas (you could structure appropriate time periods for this, too), and this will tell everyone they’re a valuable part of the team. Give the good ideas a try; you never know what might happen—other than the team becomes more invested in their work and the project outcome, for starters.

4. Trust your team members

This is a harder rule to practice for some more than others. So try to default to the assumption that your team is made up of adult, responsibility-taking, competent workers that don’t need to be treated like children. (In the end, people act the way they’re treated.) In action terms, this means that when you delegate, really let go and let the individual own the task you gave them. You can also communicate trust by asking team members to make decisions for their part of the project, like:

  • Suggesting when and if meetings should happen
  • Anticipating road blocks and communicate those to the group
  • Assuming that your team wants the best for the project. And if you sense the beginnings of some negative juju kicking up, invite  discussions about office policy; see what the majority thinks.
5. Be spontaneous and have a little fun

Everyone wants to have fun at work—even though everyone defines “fun” a little differently. Still, if you can keep the previous four tips in action, then fun—or a sense of enjoyment and being able to be yourself at work—becomes a more natural part of everyone’s job. Fun happens when  people feel well-connected with a team where there’s mutual respect, open communication, acceptance of who people are and everyone’s collaborating and working toward the same goal. When teams are working well together, it makes it easier to be spontaneous and have some fun – whether it’s a last-minute Football Friday party after a project launch, or a brief pause in the afternoon to tell stories and have a few laughs over topics that have nothing to do about work.

Sometimes we all need a break from the seriousness of business.

And remember—whether you’re a team leader or team member, everyone plays a role in contributing to your work environment.

The best project managers know how to motivate, inspire and nurture a work environment that brings out the best in individuals and the team. To up your skills, download our eBook, “5 Practical Habits of Today’s Project Manager.”

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Aside from the job scope itself, one factor that significantly influences how employees feel about work is the environment. By work environment, I mean everything that forms part of employees’ involvement with the work itself, such as the relationship with co-workers and supervisors, organizational culture, room for personal development, etc.

A positive work environment makes employees feel good about coming to work, and this provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day.

If you’re looking for a new job, then I would say that assessing the work environment is a crucial step you shouldn’t skip. After all, this is the place you might be working at in future and you wouldn’t want to be dragging yourself to work every single morning!

Recommended Reading: Survive Office: 10 Tips For Moving Up Corporate Ladder

Due to the job variety available in the marketplace, this article is probably a little generic and may not apply to all types of jobs. However, as you shall see below, these qualities are much valued by employees and employers in most jobs. I would say that they are pretty universal in that sense, except in a few exceptional cases.

1. Transparent & Open Communication

In essence, a transparent and open form of communication addresses the employee’s need to feel that what they have to say has value. It is what makes employees feel that they belong in the organization. Work then becomes meaningful because the employees know that what they contribute affects the organization that they are affiliated with.

(Image Source: {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie)

It is thus essential for staff to discuss the organization’s philosophy, mission and values, from time to time during retreats, meetings, etc to ensure that everyone knows what they’re working for other than their paychecks. Having open discussions get people involved and allow them to share their views and perspectives on how to achieve company goals. After which, the management side will give their own perspectives on how to fulfill the organization’s mission.

Recommended reading:6 Tips towards Not Having Pointless Meetings

Give and Take

Such two-way open communication will eventually break down the hurdles present in hierarchical or bureaucratic organizations. At the end of it all, it promotes trust in day-to-day interactions between co-workers, as well as between subordinates and supervisors.

Everyone becomes more united with the organization’s mission in their mind. There is mutual respect among all employees, regardless of their official statuses.

This is when employees will not be afraid to suggest ideas to improve the work processes, thus benefiting everyone in the organization in return.

2. Work-Life Balance

There has to be some sort of balance between work and personal life. In general, having that sense of balance will improve job satisfaction among employees because they will feel that they’re not overlooking the other areas of their lives that are, if not more, important to them than work.

The Constant Juggle

When employees fulfill their various needs and goals in life, such as those of family, friends, spiritual pursuits, self-growth, etc, they can then feel more confident about themselves and perform their best at work. Apart from that, employees that are exposed to more experiences in life outside of work can use what they’ve gained and apply that to their work.

In other words, work-life balance can promote creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Also Read: 8 Tips To Simplify Your Work Life

A Nod from the Top

‘Good’ employees or workers are often defined as those who put in loads of effort and sacrificed their personal time in order to perform well in their work. Some employees are simply workaholics who would rather neglect other aspects of their life for work.

Managers have a responsibility to show that this is not right, by rewarding employees who maintain good work-life balance habits (e.g. leave work on time) and can still perform well.

In this case, the organization may adopt a firm stance on work-life balance by educating employees on the benefits of having such balance in their lives or even include it under their mission statement.

Related post: How Freelance Designers can find Balance in their Work Life.

3. Training & Development-Focused

In a time when change is more rampant than ever before, it is necessary for organizations to be keep abreast with the changes and train their employees accordingly. For instance, technology is evolving so rapidly that what organizations commonly used ten years ago could be made obsolete today (e.g. Zip drives, dial-up modems, etc).

Adapting to change is never more crucial in this era because those who don’t, get replaced. This applies to both the individual and the organization itself.

A training and development-focused organization has a clear roadmap for training their employees to sustain and enhance the productivity of the organization as a whole. Essentially speaking, there are two kinds of skills that can be developed: hard skills and soft skills.

  • Hard skills: impact work productivity directly e.g. knowledge of a new database management system
  • Soft skills: interpersonal skills which could affect the morale of the organization.

A positive work environment would have routine trainings to improve efficiency and instill positive attitudes among employees.

4. Recognition for Hard Work

Rewards are necessary to encourage certain behaviors in persons. This is known as positive reinforcement under operant conditioning in the field of psychology. It is used in organizational behavior management as well: by rewarding employees who put in effort for their work, this will promote similar behaviors in the future.

Also Read: Manager Or Leader: Which Are You?

Shower Praises

A reward here doesn’t have to be monetary in nature; sometimes even a simple verbal recognition by the supervisor is all that is necessary to spur the employees’ motivation.

When hard work is appropriately rewarded and duly recognized by the management, employees will naturally feel valued by the organization for what they put in. Such mentality is healthy for the organization because employees will be willing to go the extra mile without worrying about not getting anything in return.

Acknowledging their Presence

Apart from having a system of monetary rewards in place to award those who perform at work, daily interactions can also be a good means of recognizing efforts. It’s free too! Managers ought to verbalize their appreciations for simple little things when employees go the extra mile. However, these should be made specific and personal for the employee to feel that what they do are being taken seriously and appreciated.

5. Strong Team Spirit

As social beings, we naturally seek support from our peers and seek to belong to a group. Come tough times, the team should come together to deal with whatever problems are out there. This is where a sense of unity is evoked in the team and employees will no longer just feel that they’re working for themselves. They are now working towards something bigger than themselves, and as a team.

(Image Source: marie-ll)

Instilling a strong team spirit is not easy because it involves the acceptance and tolerance of differences in perspectives and working styles between teammates. There is a need for them to see that they’re working towards a common goal before they can look beyond the differences.

Band of Bros

Have team-bonding activities that let the team focus on the positive sides of each member and negate the negative ones. Celebrate events like birthdays for each member of your team to show the exclusivity. Deal with issues together. Basically, whatever it is that you do, do it as a team.

One pitfall to look out for when team spirit is high is the groupthink phenomenon. This psychological phenomenon occurs when the group cohesiveness gets so strong that judgments or decision-making get clouded.

Think about it, when team spirit is strong, members will be inclined to support whatever decision made as a team without raising any valid objections. The solution is to have a member playing the role of the Devil’s Advocate during discussions.

Related Post: 5 Crucial Aspects To Consider Before Accepting The Job Offer

So what do you look for in your ideal working environment? Full-time freelancers can sit this one out, you are probably already in it.

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