How to Make the Office a Happier Place

How to Make the Office a Happier Place

People spend a significant portion of their lives in the workplace, performing their jobs and interacting with the other people in the office. It’s beneficial for everyone if the workplace is a positive environment. Employees are typically happier and more productive in a positive workplace. Happier employees work more effectively and efficiently, which can translate to a more successful business overall. Happier employees usually work better together, too. Business owners and managers play an important role in the nature of a workplace. Employees can also take steps to make their personal work areas more positive.

Flex time gives employees the opportunity to set their own work hours. As long as employees work a certain number of hours each day or week or are present during certain hours of the day, they can enjoy some flexibility in their work schedules. Flex time could also include employees performing some work from home instead of from the office, which may appeal to workers. Flex time enables employees to create work schedules that coincide with other responsibilities, such as family or school.

Employees need regular breaks throughout the work day. While some breaks may be conducive to relaxation and office socializing, other breaks could interject activity and exercise into employee work days. When people pause their work to stretch and move around for a few minutes, they may feel less lethargic and more energized. Employees’ attention spans and focus can improve, which could help them work more productively. Workers may also experience less repetitive strains and stress issues commonly associated with office work with regular exercise breaks.

Employees usually have opinions and ideas in connection with their work and the company as a whole. When owners and managers make the time to connect with employees, listening to concerns and showing that they value employee input and feedback, workers tend to feel more job satisfaction. Institute open-door policies between managers and employees to demonstrate interest and involvement. If you learn anything negative about your staff, such as that you have stressed-out or dissatisfied employees, explore the issues and work to make changes.

Most people respond well to encouragement and positive feedback. You can encourage your employees by actively recognizing performance and successes. Provide verbal recognition of exemplary performance whenever possible. Even just a simple “thank you” can be effective for showing that you notice and recognize effort. You could also create a special area on the wall where you display awards, letters, and special commendations. Try choosing an “employee of the month” based on attitude and effort. You could recognize this employee with special perks such as a half-day of vacation time or a premium parking space.

Everyone in the office might enjoy spending time away from the workplace on an employee excursion. These field trips don’t need to be fancy to give people a short respite from the daily grind. Perhaps a quarterly meal together at a nearby cafe or a tour of a local museum would give employees an activity to enjoy together. Plan annual office parties, also, such as a holiday party in December and an office picnic during the summer.

The physical work environment you provide for your employees is also crucial for worker satisfaction. Ensure that your employees have effective lighting, comfortable desks and chairs, a clean office area devoid of harmful chemicals and allergens, cold water to drink, a kitchen area for keeping food cold in a refrigerator and warming it in a microwave, and natural sunlight for a sense of well-being. Even something as simple as providing background music throughout the office can improve employee satisfaction. Ask employees for suggestions on improving the physical environment of the workplace, and work to implement suggestions you receive.

The emotional environment of a workplace is also important for overall employee satisfaction. Smile often, and project a relaxed and happy attitude as you interact with employees. Use laughter to lighten the office mood, when appropriate, by telling entertaining stories and anecdotes. Monitor office dynamics to make sure negativity doesn’t creep in to take root among employees. If you notice negative trends such as competition or backbiting, address the issues and brainstorm more positive ways to work together as a team.

A mentoring program can be an effective way to motivate and support employee growth. With mentoring, you can pair two employees to work together. Typically, one employee will have more experience and skills and the other employee will learn from the more experienced one. Both workers can derive benefits from this mentoring relationship. The less-experienced employee will learn tips and tricks from the more-experienced one. The staff member with more experience can benefit from the opportunity of sharing expertise, learning how to teach and to foster a learning relationship.

Employees should have the latitude to make their work areas comfortable and pleasant. Adding personal decor, such as pictures, can improve worker happiness. Encourage employees to bring in plants, if they desire, because plants in an indoor area can improve the aesthetics of the space and make it more pleasant for employees. Employers can also help workers stay organized by providing attractive and effective storage for office supplies and papers around a desk area. Encourage workers to take pride in their work areas to increase satisfaction.

Collaboration is the backbone of an effective work team. Business owners and managers play a key role in creating a collaborative work environment. When everyone has a voice and management values opinions, people typically invest themselves in the overall success of a business. Management should hold regular staff meetings to communicate goals and make plans. A suggestion box can also be effective for encouraging worker input. Employees should work to invest themselves in the mission and goals of the workplace, availing themselves of the opportunities provided to them.

With everyone in an office working together as a team toward the common goals of the business, success is likely. Mutual respect between employees and employers is a foundation of a winning team. Employers can set an example of ethics, determination, and hard work for employees. Over time, these positive attributes will flow through the entire workplace, with everyone thriving and pulling together to make the business work.