As an employer, you have a duty of care to your staff. They are working hard to help you grow your business, and without them there would not be a company at all. Some bosses might think that the salary their employees earn is enough, but people need more than money to feel happy and valued at work.
Of course, a good salary puts food on the table and pays the bills, but it doesn’t bring meaning and satisfaction to one’s life. If someone is earning a substantial wage yet feels misery and dread every time they come into the office, they are not experiencing good working conditions. More than half of all workers in the US are unhappy in their jobs, which, considering they spend around a third of their adult lives in the office, is totally unacceptable. Poor job satisfaction is linked to stress and anxiety, both of which can manifest themselves in additional mental and physical health issues.
You have a responsibility to ensure that this does not happen, and you can only achieve this by prioritizing your staff’s wellbeing and creating a positive work environment. Not only will this enable them to experience better health, but it will also provide tangible business benefits too. Happier staff are more focused and productive, with higher attendance and a significantly lower employee turnover. This will translate to better work, more satisfied clients, and ultimately, higher profits.
With all this in mind, you have no excuse for not taking steps to improve your workplace now. To get you started, here are six ways you can create a more positive work environment.
Allow flexible working
It’s an unavoidable truth that many of your employees are not going to be as invested in your business as you are. For them, their main priorities are their family, friends, and passions outside of work. That’s why a good work/life balance is the best thing you can offer an employee. But this is often hard to achieve when they have to commute to an office everyday and work nine-to-five without fail.
However, by providing a more flexible working structure you can make their lives much easier, without sacrificing productivity. Allow your team to work from home once or twice a week, or adapt their working hours to fit their personal obligations.
Make the office feel like home
Our environment has a huge impact on our mood. If we are working in a gray, lifeless office with stark lighting and peeling paint on the walls, we are not going to feel our best. But if your workplace feels like home, then your staff will act as such. They will be happier, more open and social, and the quality of their work will improve. Add some greenery, put some color on the walls, and hire office cleaning services to keep everything looking spotless.
Prioritize employee health
You might be surprised to learn that office one is one of the most harmful professions when it comes to workers’ health. There are so many risks that can lead to serious medical issues, all of which are avoidable. A common one is musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain caused by sitting at a desk all day and hunching over a screen. This can also lead to eye strain and potential vision problems too. Invest in ergonomic desk chairs that protect the back and neck, and maybe even a couple of standing desks for employees to use if they don’t want to sit. Encourage movement and regular breaks amongst your staff to give their bodies and eyes a rest.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and you should protect your team from succumbing to the effects of a high pressure work environment. It’s common for employees in office jobs to burn themselves out from working too hard, so make sure you check in with people and see how they are doing. Prioritizing mental health may mean helping them with their workloads or even offering people time off to take care of themselves. Despite recent advances, mental ill health is still surrounded with a lot of stigma, so above all, you want your staff to feel that any issues they’re having will be taken seriously.
Create a social atmosphere
It’s not enough that your employees tolerate their job, they should actually enjoy being in the office. And the best way to make this happen is to create a fun, social environment where everyone gets on. Begin meetings with a bit of a chat and a catch up to get people in a good mood, and organize regular social events so people can get to know each other outside of work. Although the odd post-work night out is fun, try to add a bit more variety to your social events with activities like escape rooms and trips to the cinema.
Be a better listener
The boss is the person to whom people should be able to turn when they have a problem, so listening skills are perhaps the most important trait you can have as an employer. Your staff should feel like they can go to you with anything that is on their mind, and trust that will take their concerns seriously. If an employee comes to you because their workload is excessive or they want a pay rise, you need to be there for them and help them improve their situation.
Provide development opportunities
No one wants to feel like they are stuck in a rut at work and not going anywhere. Just constantly trundling along on the hamster wheel of life until they are old enough to retire or find a new job. Your staff have chosen this career for a reason, and they want to have the chance to take on more responsibility and advance up the ladder. You have the power to help them with their development, by providing opportunities for learning and growth. This could take the form of training courses and workshops, or simply teaching a novice employee skills they don’t yet have. If your team feels like they are going somewhere in their job, they are more likely to stick around.