Today, soft skills are the key point of any team manager’s skillset. Creating a healthy office culture, filling the deficit of communication, and maintaining a positive work environment is essential for keeping performance and efficiency of the team at a high level. In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and benefits of a positive work environment, and share some advice on how to achieve it.
Is the environment at your workplace positive?
What makes the workplace positive? Of course, there are no rigid rules or signs that allow diagnosing how positive the atmosphere at the workplace is, but several aspects should definitely be taken into account. Below, we’ve listed the most important of them.
The most important part of the positive work environment is the values at the workplace. They define how the team works and shape each employee’s attitude. Some of the values that contribute to productivity and teamwork include:
- Being reliable, accountable, and honest.
- Focusing on detail and delivering quality.
- Helping others, being kind, and respecting team members.
- Showing tolerance, being friendly and inclusive.
Focus on training and improvement
There are two major reasons for setting a goal and working on it: what you get and what it makes of you to accomplish it. The second has a far greater value personally for you and for your work. That’s why focus on professional development improves work environment.
Challenging tasks, organized training and self-education material available in the office fuel performance, motivation, and loyalty. Updating outdated systems, using new knowledge, and providing new tools is also essential here.
Gratitude and recognition
Nothing is as motivating at work as appreciation of your efforts. So, recognition and gratitude are an integral part of a positive work environment. That said, recognition means not only bonuses, raises, additional PTO, or other perks: a simple verbal recognition, such as words of appreciation or positive comments, is also a great source of motivation.
Communication and teamwork
Active communication on the team is what helps reveal weak points and blind spots, prevent possible problems – or at least address them as soon as possible, and figure out ways to increase work efficiency. Exchanging ideas and thoughts is vital not only for developing new approaches and solutions, but also for making everyone on the team feel engaged and validated.
We all know how harmful overwork is for an employee personally and for work environment in general. Fatigue and burnout increase errors, undermine motivation, and create an atmosphere that fosters negative emotions. That is the reason why maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for keeping work environment positive and productive.
Bringing positivity to the workplace
Now the question is, how to create and maintain a positive work environment? While not necessarily all requirements should be met, HR specialists and team managers can do a lot about any of the aspects that define work environment in the company. Here’s some advice for managers on creating a productive and positive atmosphere:
Communication within the team is usually something that needs closer attention: while fueling team’s performance, it often remains the weak point. Good news is that managers can take several simple steps to improve it:
- Listen to everyone;
- Give feedback and ask for feedback;
- Encourage sharing new ideas with the team.
Share company’s vision and big picture
Encourage teamwork and synchronize team members’ efforts by sharing the general vision, company’s long-term goals and the big picture of current work progress. Besides helping people better understand their roles, it also makes employees feel the importance of their work and adds a sense of purpose to the daily routine.
Use positive reinforcement and rewards
…because their role is really hard to overestimate. As an additional positive work result and a sign of appreciation for their hard work, it works as an important motivator. A simple “thank you” is often enough, but detailed appreciation helps employees understand what exactly they’re doing well and do more of it.
Trust people and show your trust
It has been said enough about trusting people and treating employees like responsible adults, but this advice is one of the hardest ones to implement in daily practice. So we broke it down to a few specific rules to remember and follow:
- Delegate work;
- Avoid micromanagement;
- Don’t require excessive details on people’s absences.
Don’t stigmatize errors
Only those who do nothing never err, and focusing on what has been done wrong is definitely not a constructive approach. Instead, focus on learning from mistakes and figuring out the correct way to get work done.
Al Siepert, former NASA’s Director of Business Administration, said: “In NASA, we never punish error. We only punish the concealment of error”. So, encourage people to admit their errors. Make sure your office culture creates a safe and open atmosphere that doesn’t prevent employees from admitting mistakes.
Positive work environment adds energy, motivation and inspiration to the daily work. What’s more, it inspires creativity and encourages collaboration. Good news is that creating them is not something challenging: following few simple rules promotes positivity and makes the workplace environment more comfortable for everyone.