Management Skills 106: How to Create a Happy Work Environment

A recent poll conducted by SmartCompany revealed what motivates people to go to work. The top five results were achievement, money, creative output, great team dynamic, and retirement.

Another study also shows that the top three things workers want are interesting work, full appreciation for the work they do, and a feeling of being “in” on things.

Today, we present to you a few tips on how to create a happy work environment. There is a definite need to create some changes here, as we already shared the findings on how longer job tenures tend to worsen our work relationships

How to create a happy work environment

Firstly defining what it means: a healthy work environment is one that is safe, empowering, and satisfying. A positive work environment makes employees feel good about coming to work, and this provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day.

Current American Psychological Association research findings show that people want contentment, love, and happiness derived from meaningful work. They want nourishing personal relationships, a healthy mind and body, a spiritual core, and a reason for living.

“Many leaders don’t realize that the environment in which you work – the office, the work unit, the people and culture of your team, the incentives, and the attitude of your boss – all of these things directly impact your performance,” said Jerry Porras, “Lane Professor” Emeritus of Organizational Behavior and Change at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of “Happiness at Work” conducted some research compiling results from 3,000 respondents in 79 countries (2010).
She found
that the happiest employees are 180% more energized than their less content colleagues, 155% happier with their jobs, 150% happier with life, 108% more engaged, and 50% more motivated. Most staggeringly, they are 50% more productive too.

Creating a work environment in which employees feel happy and productive requires frequent and open communication, regular recognition of achievements, and constructive feedback. Providing engaging work environments, status-based recognition, and fun can be more beneficial than tangible rewards. Below are some simple tips that businesses can adopt to ensure that its workers are healthy, happy, and productive.

How to create a happy work environment

  1. Show your employees that you care for them: Know each of your coworkers by name, be involved in their work, and talk them about their lives.
  2. Improve your office ‘space’: Adequate lighting, comfortable décor, a quiet environment, breathable air, and empowering team dynamics are some of the ways managers can improve their workplace experiences.
  3. Employee engagement: Foster a spirit of engagement among employees in the form of performance evaluation and recognition programs, benefits packages, education, and social support.
  4. Have weekly meetings to discuss good news: Having meetings to share positive news has an overall positive effect in the team.
  5. Communicate: Open and transparent communication keeps employees in the loop, reminding them that they are an integral part of the team.
  6. Recognize success: “A workplace is far likelier to be a happy place when policies are in place to ensure that people regularly get acknowledgement and praise for a job well done, and where people feel that their happiness at work matters to their employers,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling “Happiness Project.” The top five forms of recognition rewards are certificates, cash, gift certificates, food, and company merchandise.
  7. Provide a sense of purpose: Explain to employees exactly where they fit into the company structure and how they contribute to the success of the business. Employees who are able to find meaning and purpose within their roles are healthier, happier, and more productive.
  8. Be flexible: Allow employees flexible working hours and the option to work remotely. A 2012 FlexJobs survey reports that nearly all of the more than 800 respondents (96%) believe that having a flexible job would save them time, 93% say it would save them money, and nearly 80% believe flexibility is healthier.
  9. Build trust: Trust can be actively fostered by proactively building interpersonal trust and communicating with predictability.
  10. Give and receive feedback: Effective feedback lets workers know how they are meeting their goals. Ensure that feedback is timely and future-focused.
  11. Offer development opportunities: Studies show that promoting staff to senior roles from within the company provides benefits such as reducing turnover and increasing productivity.
  12. Don’t micromanage your employees: Micromanaging tends to lower motivation and the overall morale of the department.
  13. Avoid negativity: Avoid negative conversations and gossip as much as possible.

Hopefully, this is some good food for thought, when as a manager you are wondering, just how you can create a happy work environment!

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