Ways to encourage a positive and productive workplace

Employees view work as an important part of their life, but expect a degree of work-life balance as well

Updated: Apr 28, 2018 11:30:18 AM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Monotonous schedules, a constant effort to push oneself to the extreme and the failure of a company’s consideration makes it difficult for employees to remain engaged. Unrealistic expectations coupled with long hours are increasing workers’ stress levels and are leading to a budding unproductive work culture, making work stagnant and deliverables that are not up to the mark. This is no secret! Even researchers agree that employees nowadays experience high levels of stress at work that leads to disengagement, resulting in a negative impact.

Employees, more than ever, want their employers to respect emotional, social, and financial needs in addition to their physical health. While employees view work as an important part of their life, they also have a strong desire to better connect with themselves, people around them, and the world as a whole. Employees respect the fact that sometimes work needs to just get done, but if they are consistently expected to work at a stretch, employees get frustrated.

As per our research conducted on Talent Magnets, one of the essential aspects of workplace culture was wellness, where many employees expressed a desire to simply be treated like adults. People are constantly connected to their work via smartphones and the Internet, but they also have a strong desire to feel more connected to the people around them. Consider some statistics about well being from the study:

• 40% of employees agree that their job creates a great deal of negative stress in their life • Only 58% of employees say their job allows them to balance their work and personal life
• Almost half of the employees believe that productivity and bottom lines are more important to their organization than people
• 36% of employees believe their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their life

There are very few companies who challenge their employees with tasks and provide them with the tools and expertise to overcome them.

An American multinational computer software company is one such example that follows an open culture and encourages employees to be independent, to help the company grow. They have been on the list of Fortune’s ‘100 best companies to work for’ for nearly 17 years. The company has done away with ratings and replaced it with letting employees set their own goals and determine how they should be assessed and let managers take on the role of a coach. There are various perks provided to employees - bring your child to work day, family movies on the lawn during summer and more - that allow them to lead a fulfilling life and have a great work-life balance. In the end, it would not be wrong to understand that employees want to be treated as people and not just as a means for the organization to make a profit.

Here are five ways that can help workplace productivity:
1) Evaluating your employees’ work: A review done well, with appreciation as its key ingredient, will only push employees to work on self-evaluation and figure out ways that will help in providing better results. Asking for suggestions from the team on what they would like to implement for the new project and together evaluate the outcomes, helps a lot with building a positive culture.

2) Build a positive work culture: Creating a value-stream of culture helps to build a positive culture. Knowing what your team is working upon and making efforts to experience the situations first hand, where one gets to work on internal systems and upload information and data to understand the challenges, helps to build a positive work culture.

3) Ideate and communicate together: Improving the people mix is the way to go: Bring in people, communicate and collaborate to receive the available solutions. It is not always necessary to innovate from scratch. An informal conversation with a mix of people can also give you ways to innovate. As leaders, schedule brainstorming sessions, bounce ideas off from members of your team, talk through challenges, encourage maximum participation and let them know that they are the future possibilities of something great/impactful.

4) Self-assessment: A successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. Until one learns from their mistakes, they will keep repeating it; hence letting employees go that extra mile and see through feedback for the limited success they may have achieved will allow them to pull on scalable successes. One needs to let the employees analyze their shortcomings and encourage them to come up with the best solution. It could bode well to re-work on the project or launch the product again or even build a new process; all allowing for better self-building.

5) Call out: With innovations and ideas all around, asking for assistance is no harm to anyone. An organization that encourages collaboration and asks for inputs beyond a particular department tends to get a fresh perspective. These collaborations allow the free flow of knowledge, learning and experiences that are engaging and informative for everyone to see and focus upon.

Ultimately, employees almost spend more time at work than anywhere else; hence it is essential that a good working environment be created for bringing out the best in employee happiness and productivity. A simple smile or showing appreciation with an unanticipated "thank you" will spread happiness and create a more pleasant workspace for you and your co-workers.

-The author is the Managing Director at O.C. Tanner

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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