Have things felt a bit downcast at the office? Or perhaps tensions and stress are high among employees over some dispute? Studies show that work place-related woes are the highest source of stress for American adults. And in a survey of 800,000 workers across 300 companies, it was found that approx. 1 million employees are absent from work every year due to job anxiety.
As a boss and leader, helping your employees feel less stress in the office will not only benefit their health lives and make things easier on them. But it will also mean more productivity at the office and less money lost due to absenteeism.
So how is one to encourage a better team atmosphere and office environment? Consider doing the following.
- Spruce up the office space.
We are affected by our physical surroundings more than most of us realize offhand. Studying up on best office design spaces will help you understand how to craft they type of creative space that will inspire your employees. Should you go with clustered or nested desk spaces within an open space floor plan? Or do your employees need cubicles? If you are unsure of your options, consider investing in office design planners, like Key Interiors. Some aspects you may wish to add to increase the morale of employees include better lighting options, air purifiers, and plants. As well as renovating or adding something fun to the break room.
Improving your office space is a fantastic way to show employees that you care. But it will also help your employees be more productive, have better focus, and even work together better. This is particularly true if poor office design has created a difficult work environment for your team.
- Be flexible.
Everyone has a different work style. Some people work better in the morning, others are night owls. Some people are introverts, others are extroverts. Some employees have children at home, others are the primary caregiver for an aging parent. Showing flexibility in how you allow your employees to get their work done will go far in employee retention and in creating a happier employee. Recent studies show that a happier employee is a more productive employee. Allow flexible hours, or a work from home day that employees can opt-in to when needed.
As a boss, you may be worried that employees will take advantage of this flexibility. But focus on the results. If work quality lessens by an individual who took a work from home day, then you can discuss this with them. But if the output is good or even better than before, then you can know you are on the right track.
- Give praise.
Most everyone has an innate desire to feel that their work is valuable and appreciated. Contrary to popular belief, bonuses and raises are not the best incentives for getting more work out of your employees. So what works? Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, found that among three incentives used in an experiment, money ranked last. Money was such a poor motivator, in fact, that it caused a decrease in productivity by 6.5 percent. What ranked first? A compliment, such as a word of thanks from the boss. The second was pizza.
Cultivating an attitude where employees feel valued is an essential element of creating a team spirit. And it all starts with a simple “thank you.” If those words do not roll easy off the lips, you can compliment their work. Or shine a spotlight on the employee who has done well at a team meeting. Giving everyone a day off after a long project has been finalized is also a fantastic way to improve team morale.
These are just a few of the ways leaders can improve the daily work experience of your employees. And often it does not take much to do so.