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How many hours do we spend at work a day? What about a week, month, year? When we’re spending on average 90,000 hours of our lives at work, the environment and people around us has a huge impact on our mental state.
The atmosphere of a workplace can have a great influence on the mindset of employees and team members, which can impact the results of their work. Positive, engaged employees create innovative, high-quality work, leading their teams and possibly companies as a whole to new heights. A positive workplace environment promotes employee development, genuinely values their input, and creates a space where people can feel free to grow and try new things. Putting all of these factors together in a supportive work environment benefits both the individual and the organization they’re a part of.
When such a large chunk of the day is spent with coworkers, on job sites, or in meetings, the environment needs to promote joy and diverse perspectives to allow the mental state of those involved to stay positive. When teams and employees are immersed in a positive company culture or workplace, we see both intangible and tangible results; morale is higher, innovation happens freely, people are respected and listened to, all while company goals are set and met, possibly affecting the bottom line. Negative environments shut these avenues of creativity down and perpetuate a fearful mindset, which leads to morale plummeting and turnover growing ever higher.
Supportive work environments tailored for individuals to thrive allows each employee to reach their full potential through their own means. Cutthroat, competitive work environments are full of stress and stymie creativity by following the status quo to reach goals. These environments increase the mental load and stress employees bring home each day, negatively affecting their mental health quickly and to a great degree. When company goals and deadlines are racking up quickly as is, the last thing employees at any level need is to try and accomplish their work in an environment working against them.
Leaders, it’s time to lead! What can leadership do to ensure their work environment is supporting the team working within it?
- Create time for one-on-one interactions with each report. Engage, listen, and comment on their ideas, genuinely appreciating their thoughts and giving credit when an amazing idea comes from these conversations.
- Encourage laughter, camaraderie, and respect between teammates. Workers working well together are more productive, true, but they’re also more loyal to the team, imaginative, innovative, and energized when powering through a task together.
- Create a mission, value statement, or vision board that employees can contribute to and respond to positively.
- Plan opportunities for team building to encourage friendships and the development of collaborative skills.
- Develop and support lines of communication that create transparency between teammates and leaders. Open and honest discussion promotes trust, resolves conflict faster, and can bring diverse perspectives to light.
- Offer a true break, not just a seat. When employees get a break, they deserve to get a proper rest from their job. Let this happen without interruption. Conversation is one thing, but leave discussions of work matters for when they’re back on the clock. People need these moments of calm to practice self care, relax, and reduce stress in their own particular way, be that scrolling through their phone, reading, going for a walk, etc.
Positive work environments are full of collaborative teamwork, support between teammates and leaders alike, and true happiness when on the job. When we spend so much time at work, why not make it fun? It clearly is the best choice in the long run, for company bottom line and employee happiness.