First, let us start by looking at WHY companies should be striving to reach a healthy workplace environment for their employees. In short, companies who have successfully built a healthy workplace environment and culture, receive a higher and more effective work rate from their employees.
This study looked at the quality of work that was produced by two medical groups, the first group thought their work would be thrown away and the second believed that they would be identifying cancerous tumours. The second group produced the higher quality of work meaning that the delivery of the motive in the second group caused the workers to respond with higher productivity and better performance.
Leaders in business need to understand that the culture within a workplace is critical to success. A lot of leaders in business implement deadlines and targets which they use to try to improve motivation and productivity, whereas they should be focussing on enabling the people to be better and have purpose. This comes from encouraging individuals to live healthy lifestyles, improve their own well-being, and achieve a good work-life balance. This shift of focus will result in employees being more engaged in their work, healthier and happier.
‘Culture’ within a company encases ideas such as a good work-life balance, employee inclusion, providing progression and opportunity, all of which I explain in more detail below.
So, if you own a company or employ any number of individuals and are wondering how to draw the best out of them, start by looking at the environment you are placing them in.
There are numerous factors that can positively affect the environment of a workplace and the good news is that there are easy changes that can be made and systems that can be adopted to create that positive, healthy environment.
Research shows that different people work for many of the same reasons and that companies who wish to draw the most motivation, efficiency, and loyalty out of their employees should be putting emphasis on the following:
Purpose – every member of staff should feel as though they have a purpose, a contribution to a greater good. If an individual can see that their work is valuable and having a positive impact, in any relatable way, it has been proven that they will spend more quality time doing it and ensuring it is done to the best of their ability. It is understood that many workers thrive when they can see a direct positive result of their work. So, in short, enabling individuals to see ‘why’ they are working will encourage them to analyse ‘how’ they are working and will in turn inspire better productivity.
Play – this is the idea that employees do their job because they love it! If someone is enabled to enjoy the work they do, the work itself will produce motivation and increase productivity. Play is our natural learning instinct that encourages:
- Experimentation – which will inspire employees to try out new ideas, methods, or activities.
- Curiosity – allowing individuals to remain inquisitive about what they do and ask more questions.
- The exploration of challenging problems – this lets personnel asses an idea, a piece of work or a suggestion in detail to find the most appropriate answer
Progression – this encompasses ensuring an employee can see that there is potential to benefit from the outcome of their work. Show them that there is a route for them, should they wish to prove themselves and work for it, to progress through the company with promotions, more responsibility, bigger pay checks etc. It is a big motivation to individuals to see in black and white the stages of progression ahead of them.
Inclusion – as an employer you should aim to create an inclusive environment, encourage your staff to voice their opinion and demonstrate that their view matters and is regularly taken into consideration. This can be as simple as letting each member of staff have five minutes to speak in a meeting. If an employee feels valued, they are far more likely to develop loyalty to the management staff and more importantly the company. A sense of belonging will produce a desire in people to keep producing their best work.
Authenticity – everyone is different, they will have their own opinions and reasoning to back those opinions up. As an employer, you should encourage these various views, inspire your employees to maintain their authenticity and allow them to voice their ideas. Everyone could bring something unique to the table and each employee should be given the opportunity to express themselves in a non-judgemental environment.
Good Practice – this starts from the top of the company and works its way down. If you as an employer can demonstrate a good work-life balance it will encourage your employees to follow suit. There are many statistics suggesting that countries that have a shorter working week and longer weekend have happier, more productive and fewer mental health problems in their population. You should aim to show an understanding that everyone has a life away from the office, set a rigid rota, set times to get out of the office for a walk and not send emails late at night.
Opportunity – try to provide employees with the chance to do something for themselves, for example encourage them take part in company events, team socialising, health and well-being activities, exercise etc. If the company can organise or host social events away from the working environment, employees will feel better valued.
Knowledge – aim to provide regular occasions for staff to take part in learning activities that will provide them with information around living a healthier and happier life. Something that is not related to their everyday work but will help them in their everyday life. Health and well-being workshops are more important now than they ever have been, mental and physical health is becoming more of a vocalised subject and staff should be able to see that their employers are supportive in this matter.
The most important factor for companies is to demonstrate that they support their employees in all the points we have discussed above. Support is the ultimate key to a healthy workplace environment and is so simple and easy to provide.
If you have any questions, need our advice or would like Employees Health to help restore harmony in your workplace please feel free to get in touch with us today.