A couple of years ago, I once worked for a prestigious company with a well-established reputation for its services. I was given a full-time job with a health salary, full benefits, a 401(k), and 2 weeks of vacation time. It was a job that every fresh-out-of-college student would want to receive right after graduating. Six months later, I left the company.
There were several reasons why I chose to leave, but the biggest reason for my departure was due to its workplace culture. I was constantly surrounded by snobby, negative employees who always seemed to belittle their co-workers. Most employees were constantly criticizing one another for the smallest things, some of which had nothing to do with work. Tensions were so high that at one point, an employee stormed out of his manager’s office yelling, “F**k this place, I don’t deserve to be treated like this!”.
Even though I was admired by friends and family for working at this well-known firm, I knew I couldn’t stay for long. Next thing you know, I gave in my two weeks notice and never turned back.
Working in a terrible office environment can absolutely drain you, mentally and physically. It becomes a poison and the more time you spend there, the sicker you feel. You start getting moody, you become unproductive, and you build up stress from just the thought of returning to that horrible workplace the next day.
Now, I work for a small business surrounded by friendly employees, a caring boss, and a great, positive atmosphere. Every day I actually look forward to coming into the office and starting my day. Even though my salary was almost cut in half, I don’t receive full benefits, and I don’t receive as many perks as my old job, I’m happy and that’s all that matters.
From transitioning over to a healthier environment, I noticed the value of an efficient workplace culture. It has showed me that compensation isn’t enough, if you’re looking for loyal employees willing to work hard for you.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to improve your workplace environment that can make your employees happier, increase their efficiency, and provide a better sense of community.
Here are 3 changes you can make that will drastically improve your workplace culture:
Make Everyone Feel Important
When it comes to workplace culture, it all starts with you, the business owner. You need to emulate what you want your office environment to be, so your managers can imitate the same culture among your employees.
So how should you take that first step in creating a positive work environment? With encouragement. A simple “thank you” or “great work” can mean a lot to your employees. Positive reinforcement helps your employees feel like they belong and shows your appreciation for their work.
It also diminishes fear from your workplace. Your employees should never fear you or the repercussions that may come from a single mistake. With the absence of fear and the presence of recognition, your employees will feel comfortable in the workplace and feel motivated to work more diligently.
Don’t Make Work Feel Like Work
You know that dreaded feeling you get every Sunday when you realize that you have to go to work the next day? Well, you need to reduce that feeling as much as possible for your employees. Work should never be “all work and no play”. Yes, projects, responsibilities, and tasks need to be accomplished, but it doesn’t mean that no one should be allowed to have any fun.
The workplace needs to be seen as a community where employees can freely interact and bond with one another. Creating a stronger team spirit within the workplace can greatly improve the culture. Set up a lounge with a ping pong table or hook up an Xbox One on the television set, so your employees can release some of their stress and better converse with one another. You can even have workplace outings every Friday to a bar to strengthen the sense of community. Whatever it may be, just remember that work doesn’t always have to be about spreadsheets and paperwork.
Open Line of Communication
Providing two-way communication between you and your workers is essential to develop a positive workplace atmosphere. First off, it shows that you care and trust your employees enough to receive their feedback. Not a lot of workers have the ability to speak to their higher-ups freely, so it provides them with a sense of empowerment.
Also, an open line of communication breaks down the barriers of a hierarchy within your organization, which promotes trust and respect with one another. By allowing your employees to communicate openly among the managers you’re strengthening unity within your workforce, and your employees will start to work for the overall goals of the company rather than for themselves.
These are just a few of many ideas that you can implement at your business to improve your office culture. Establishing a healthy workplace environment can greatly benefit your workers, your firm, and you, the employer. No one wants to work for a company that is overly strict or ridiculously chaotic, so find a middle-ground that you believe your employees will enjoy. Remember, workplace culture all begins with you, and it will represent the characteristics of you as a person.