You wake up dreading the day. You roll out of bed, shower, shave, scarf down some breakfast, and then head to what you’ve started to call “the pit of despair,” otherwise known as the office. Have you ever felt like that? Have your employees ever felt like that? If so, it’s time to make some serious changes.
An inviting office environment does more than foster smiles and a sunshine-and-rainbows attitude. Boundless.com reports, “Data exists suggesting that satisfaction is connected to performance. In the U.S., the 100 best companies to work for also have the highest returns for their investors.”
With that said, here are seven ways to create an inviting office environment.
Open Up Lines of Communication
Nothing makes an employee feel undervalued like being left out of the loop. Create channels that will help everyone to stay on the same page when it comes to projects and policies at work. Social media is an easy way to do this. You can keep your employees up to date, and you can get an idea of the current moral in the office by the comments they post.
Listening to your team members is just as important as talking to them – if not more. Seriously consider their ideas and concerns about the company. Also show an interest in their personal lives. If you face the unfortunate reality of seeing one of your best people leave, take a few minutes to chat with them before they walk out the door. Find out the specifics of why they are leaving so you might be able to avoid similar things in the future. Other employees will take note of your concern and feel like you want to keep them around.
Don’t limit yourself to just the necessities when it comes to telling your team what’s going on. One online source says, “You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. If you don’t tell them, the rumor mill will.” If you talk about accomplishments of the company and individuals and avoid discussing that occasional disaster, you’ll engender trust.
Being approachable links back to communication. That is, you should listen to your employees, not just hear them. Remember the adage about two ears and one mouth? Of course, there’s more to being approachable than just listening. If you seem aloof or even arrogant to your employees, they’ll hesitate to tell you anything — no matter how badly you want to listen to them. Linkstaffing.com offers more pointers on exhibiting an approachable attitude.
Make Work Fun
Image via Flickr by Herry Lawford
To foster a true team mentality, your employees need to feel that coming to work isn’t just the daily ritual of being ripped away from friends and family to slave away in a stuffy office. Create a positive, friendly work environment by remembering the names of all your staff members and asking how they’re doing.
Insidejobscoach.com also recommends that you “find reasons to celebrate together.” When someone welcomes a new family member, moves into a new house, or accomplishes a goal, it presents an opportunity for everyone to set work aside for a little while and focus on each other — the people they work with every day.
The fun doesn’t have to stop with the celebrations. When possible, bring a sense of humor to team meetings. Check out the list of other ways to make the office environment fun at inc.com. Those ways include:
- Have a “decorate your area” contest.
- Have silly dress up days, like for the Super Bowl.
- Put games in the break room.
- Invite your employees to dance and sing, then make a fun video out of it.
Recognize Hard Work
Sure, a verbal “thank you” is nice when someone’s labor pays off for the company, but take the gratitude a step further. Offer incentives and let everyone know when a specific person does something great. It’ll move others to strive to better their performance and it’ll give them something to look forward to.
Staff evaluations present a sterling opportunity to recognize hard work. Praise their strengths and offer useful advice on how they can address their weaknesses. Even if significant improvements are in order, address the issues head-on and let the employee know that you’re willing to help. The insidejobscoach.com link mentioned earlier offers more advice on how to make staff evaluations a positive experience.
Bring Your Own Device
People love their gadgets. When you set up a BYOD program for your employees, they get to use their own devices to work on tasks for the company. They’re already familiar with those devices, and it’s convenient for them to have personal and professional purposes for the same item.
When you implement a BYOD strategy, make sure that your employees understand just how much of their information you’ll have access to. Privacy issues may create a gap in trust. One survey found that only 30 percent of employees trusted their employees to keep their information private. A clearly outlined BYOD policy will help make things go smoothly.
Brighten Up the Office
While attitudes and open communication go a long way toward creating an inviting office environment, the space in which your employees work makes an impact as well. If the office resembles a dungeon, make some changes to cheer it up.
Painting the walls pleasant colors, fixing that faucet that violently shoots out water, and replacing that rickety old table can eliminate a lot of cause for complaint. Also take steps to make sure that each person has enough space to get work done efficiently and comfortably.
Assign Work Wisely
Another way to create a workplace employees won’t want to leave is by assigning work that they enjoy. Projects usually combine a mixture of dull and interesting tasks. If the same person always gets the boring end of the stick, you may find that they slack off and complain more than your other employees. If that employee has the qualifications to handle the more fun part of a project, make sure they get their hands on it.
An office reflects the personality of whoever runs the place, so take the lead in being reliable, approachable, and industrious. Your employees will follow suit and everyone will find greater satisfaction in the workplace.