A good work environment is critical for productivity: no one can work properly and deliver while being miserable at work. Let alone trying to be creative or develop new products and strategies. Positive work environments are necessary for fixing problems.
However, how companies work for cultivating a positive work environment will determine its effectiveness: positivity can not be ordered from the top.
The New Yorker reported in 2016 that the National Labor Relations Board had struck down a T-Mobile policy on “positive work environment” because the employee manual was “ambiguous and vague.” It was struck down because it had a greater potential for taking a mental toll than helping employees. Having to always worry about violating a feel-good policy leads to thought suppression, increased stress, and harms cognitive abilities like memory, self-control, problem-solving, and, of course, productivity.
If positivity can’t be mandated, then what to do?
THREE TIPS FOR CORPORATE POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
1. Trust and respect
Research has shown employees are happier when they feel trusted and respected by their peers and bosses. Simple actions such as accepting that someone else is the specialist in a topic you are unsure of or avoiding excessive surveillance over their day to day tasks makes people feel better at their workplaces.
Employees are happier, more productive, and loyal to companies when treated with fairness and can trust they will
continue to receive fair treatment in the future. This goes at all levels: from race and gender factors to people’s reactions to everyday problems. In turn, managers notice employees are more committed, tend to treat workers better.
MIT’sManagement Review’s suggestions are:
· Establish clear rules and be transparent in implementing them.
· Understand that even managing only procedural or outcome fairness can make a difference.
· Know your employees’ expectations, encourage them to make their needs explicit.
· Commit to open information flow between management and workers.
Take the time to stop and consider people’s ideas. Listening to others’ ideas and showing they can make you change your mind opens communication channels necessary for problem-solving and innovation. As well, it makes employees feel appreciated. Some research even suggests there is a correlation between listening environments and improvement in sells and net income. Hence, listening is good for business.
These three tips can be implemented for free in any industry as they are based on human behaviours that can be continuously replicated.
Stay in tune with our blog for more tips on productive and positive work environments.
Business Trends – BUILDING A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT. TIP: DON’T FORCE IT
By: Ana Maria Enciso – October 2020