Work and happiness are not two words that many people would necessarily put together, and yet studies repeatedly show that a happy employee is a more productive one. Happiness may be difficult to measure, but it is certainly a metric worth pursuing in the drive for improved productivity. Happy employees are not only likely to be more productive, but they are also much more inclined to be loyal to their company, and may even be less likely to leave the organization. As an employer, you should be thinking of ways to encourage an enjoyable workforce.
Empower Your People
One of the most significant ways to help employees be happier and feel more valued at work is to empower them. They are adults after all, and adults respond better to being trusted and allowed to get on with the job they were hired for. Many bosses make the mistake of micromanaging their staff. In reality, most do not respond well to this management style as Google discovered when it set out to improve their management style.
Provide Opportunities To Reduce The Commute Time
Researchers have discovered a direct correlation between the amount of time it takes to commute to work with the happiness and stress levels of staff. Although this may seem like a difficult dynamic for a company to influence, there are actually some things that can be offered.
Flexible Working Hours – Does your staff need to work a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 shift? By providing flexitime, the length of the commute can be reduced, and there is potential for your employees to enjoy a better work/life balance.
Utilize Coworking Spaces – Evaluate the work that your staff is undertaking and ascertain whether or not that work is geographically reliant. Do your employees need to travel to the office every day, or could they possibly work from home, or at a coworking facility? By demonstrating to employees that your company is flexible and understanding, they will feel appreciated and will be much more likely to value and enjoy their work, ultimately making them a better employee.
Talk To Your Staff and Seek Their Opinions
Just because you are the owner or manager of the company, does not necessarily mean that you have all of the answers. There may be certain policies or management styles that have become embedded within the structure that has caused issues or unhappiness. By seeking the opinion of employees, you are giving them the opportunity to be heard, to improve their working environment, and ultimately to help them enjoy work more.
Think about the jobs you have had during the course of your life. Those jobs where there was a great atmosphere, and where all of the employees enjoyed being a part of something, was always a better place to work every day, rather than places where everyone was miserable. That is why the old style cubicle workplace is slowly being eradicated, as employers have discovered that it does not promote teamwork, motivation, or happiness.
Rewarding Staff Is More Important Than The Reward Itself
There is an old saying about giving gifts and that “it’s the thought that counts.” Although your children may disagree with this, when it comes to receiving rewards in the workplace, the reality is that it is much more beneficial to employee satisfaction to receive regular praise than to get a larger bonus or benefit once a year. The long-term effects of the big bonus wear out relatively quickly, whereas the smaller acknowledgments, while not so memorable, can be appreciated on a much more regular basis throughout the year.
Sometimes it can pay to be a little more subtle when it comes to improving the work environment. Not everything has to be so blatant, so try to think outside of the box and come up with simple ways to make the workplace more appealing. Bringing in pastries, taking the team out to lunch, or letting them leave an hour early on a Friday are subtle yet effective gestures that employees truly appreciate.
Positive Praise Over Negative Criticism
It’s like being back at school and the teacher criticizes you for something you were unsure of; the school rarely contacts parents to praise a child. The same thing can easily become a habit in the work environment, with employees regularly receiving criticism or pressure to increase sales or production. Constant, negative criticism is rarely if ever beneficial. It can be detrimental to staff morale with the employee waiting for the criticism to come, so what’s the point in putting in the extra effort.
This type of negative and self-defeating attitude quickly permeates among other members of staff, further exacerbating the problem. As a manager, think carefully about your interaction with employees. A little bit of praise can go a long way.
At Level Office, we are always striving to ensure we provide the best environment for small business owners to succeed. We make the offices welcoming and pleasant environments to work in. We are always enthusiastic about finding new and innovative ways to help small business owners and fellow entrepreneurs. To read more of our innovative thinking, visit our blog regularly.