With all the catching up and reorganisation that has to take place in many businesses after the holidays, employees can start to feel demoralised and overstressed. If morale among your employees was already relatively shaky, this can lead to demotivation, reduced productivity, and eventually to a toxic work environment.
A lot of factors go into making your company a place where people love to be and love to work, not all of which are under your control. However, there are a few important ways that you as a business owner can facilitate positivity and encourage the development of a positive attitude in the workplace.
Encourage employees to get involved
One of the most significant problems in modern complex business structures is that regular workers don’t feel a sense of agency at work. When people feel that they don’t have any real influence over the purpose and effect of their work, it becomes very difficult for them to care about and see the value in that work.
A simple way to deal with that is to encourage people to develop and pursue projects that benefit your business, even if they’re not precisely within the scope of that person’s position. For example, if a salesperson suggests a change to your marketing strategy to make their job easier, you’d stand to benefit by allowing that person time to sit down with the marketing department to work out and implement solutions. You might well make the sales department’s job easier, improve the marketing department’s effectiveness, and give that particular employee the sense that they matter, and that their contributions are valued. It’s a small investment for a lot of value.
Gym memberships for employees or even an onsite workout room can have a major impact on morale. Regular exercise is a critical part of maintaining good mental health, and has been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Additionally it also improves employees’ immune systems, and boosts alertness and energy throughout the day.
Good physical health and fitness can make a major difference in employee productivity on its own, but it also has the secondary effect of giving coworkers the chance to interact in a non-work environment. That makes it easier for people to make broad connections within the company that extend beyond their team or their department. As a result, your business will be better able to build a strong and well-integrated social fabric within the company.
What does your office look like? People reflect their environment in their attitude, and that also includes physical surroundings. It’s difficult to maintain a positive outlook when you’re surrounded by shades of grey all day. If your work environment is drab and lacking in color and aesthetics, redecorating could have a drastic impact on morale.
A splash of colour can make a big difference. Encourage workers to decorate their workspaces, repaint the walls, and consider hanging up some art. Different colours have different effects on people, with green and blue being particularly notable for improving work efficiency and focus. Any colour is better than monotonous gray or beige, which can actually make people feel depressed.
Improve your lighting
The type of lighting you have in your office can significantly affect people’s mood, alertness, and overall performance. White, high quality light promotes wakefulness and productivity, while low quality fluorescent lighting and dim incandescent light can result in eye strain and fatigue.
Buy a few plants
Humans didn’t evolve in a cubicle farm, and we don’t cope well with being cooped up in an unnatural environment all day. Studies have shown that having plants around reduces stress, improves productivity, and even reduces symptoms of illness.
Building momentum as a company
During stressful times it’s especially important for workers to have a real sense of progress. Pouring a lot of effort into a job doesn’t make sense if there’s no visible result. To begin to address that, business owners need to regularly communicate with employees to make sure that they know how their work fits into the larger scheme of things, and how progress is being made.
Employees who fully understand their role in realising your business’ goals are going to be able to feel the triumph of reaching those goals when the time comes. This helps people to develop the sense that they’re a part of a larger whole, and that investing themselves in the company’s success also means investing in their own success.
Taking a just few meaningful steps can make an enormous difference in how your employees feel about their work, and how they interact with each other. Additionally, these kinds of adjustments are fairly accessible to any business on a limited budget, because they’re relatively low-cost. Give them a try, and see how you can make your employees’ work lives less stressful and more productive.