How to Create a Positive Work Environment

The average person will spend over 90,000 hours of their life at work. If you’re part of the 13 per cent of Canadians who dislike their jobs, this statistic likely fills you with dread. Aside from the responsibilities that come with a job, one of the most important factors that influences employee motivation and happiness (which in turn affects productivity and efficiency) is their working environment.

Think about it: if your work environment is a positive one, you feel you’re a good fit for the organization’s culture, you have good relationships with your coworkers and supervisors, and you feel comfortable at work, you’re much more likely to view work as a positive experience, and to feel satisfied with your professional position.

A positive work environment has become a necessity in order for businesses be able to attract the best talent, and to retain that talent, lower absenteeism, boost employee morale and increase productivity. But how can companies go about creating a positive environment for their employees?

What does a positive work environment look like?
While the specifics of a positive environment can vary by industry, organization and individual employees, the majority of great workplaces share several traits. First, these organizations pay attention to personal and professional safety. Employees who feel unsafe are obviously going to have a negative view of their workplace, so be sure your organization is adhering to all labour laws, regulations and codes.

When asked to define a positive work environment Ashton College’s human resources coordinator Tamara Reid focused on employees’ emotional well being. “Do employees enjoy their job? Are they doing something they’re passionate about? Are they motivated to excel in their field? Does the organization emphasize work-life balance? These are the questions I try to address as an HR professional.” While every employee has their own point of view on their workplace’s culture, Tamara noted that if you know what you’re looking for, negative workplace vibes can be fairly easy to spot.

“Is employee turnover unusually high? Is there a specific team that has difficulty retaining members? Are there specific employees who exhibit high levels of absenteeism? These are all red flags that your organization is a negative work environment.”

How can you create a positive work environment?

  • Emphasize Open Communication.
    Employees need to be kept in the loop regarding the organization’s philosophy, mission and values, as well as the company’s plans for the future. Two-way helps to promotes trust in day-to-day interactions between co-workers, and helps employees feel more connected to the company.
  • Provide a Pleasing Physical Environment.
    Ergonomic chairs and keyboards, standing desks, adequate lighting, even office plants; these are all great ways to ensure your employees are physically comfortable at work.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance.
    While work is an important part of our lives, it’s not the only thing in them. Great workplaces emphasize work-life balance and encourage employees to disconnect when they’re away from the office.
  • You Better Recognize.
    Everyone wants to feel like their contributions are valued. Great supervisors take the time to thank employees for their work, whether it be through verbal praise, performance bonuses, regular reviews, or promotions.
  • Provide Training and Development Opportunities.
    Training and development can promote job satisfaction among employees. Employees can be cross-trained in multiple areas, which promotes team spirit, retention, and flexibility. Training and development opportunities are also essential opportunities for knowledge transfer, and can be used to develop the leadership and coaching skills of more senior employees. Investing in your employees is essential to ensuring organizational success and provides a great return on investment.

A positive work environment is not only important for your employees’ physical, mental and emotional health, but is also important for the product or service your company produces. The better employees feel at work, the more likely it is that they will take pride in their work functions and be loyal toward their place of employment. A positive work environment can lead to lower employee turnover, reduced training costs, and a better bottom line for your business.

This article was originally published by Ashton College. Republished with permission.

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