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A 5-Step Guide to Creating a Happier Workplace

Picture the scene: it’s Monday morning, and not only do you drag yourself to your desk after your busy weekend, but your workforce do too.

Wearily, you switch on your computer while looking out at the faces of your faithful employees. They look miserable, and despite your effort to brighten up the office space with a pot plant, the work environment does too. And so begins another working week. How many more days is it until the weekend?

Sound familiar? For all we know, your workplace may be a place of boundless joy and enthusiasm, but for many of us, the opposite is true. Many employees work tirelessly with little reward. Office spaces up and down the country are painted in shades of grey (at least they match employee moods). And the rate of sick days and resignations are high. When somebody isn’t happy at work, they will demonstrate this by walking with their feet. And if they do stay and carry on regardless? Their productivity will suffer because of their inherent unhappiness. Again we ask the question, does this sound familiar to you? Is your company struggling because everybody, from yourself to your staff team, are downright miserable at work? Not only will your lives suffer, but your business will too. If this is the case for you, here are some tips for creating a happier workplace.

1. Focus on the environment

Look around at the office space (or whatever kind of area you work in). Does it provoke feelings of happiness, joy, peace, and contentment? Or is it dull, boring, and unconducive to productivity? If it’s the latter, do something about it, for everybody’s sake. A fresh lick of paint will work wonders, with bright and attractive colours to enhance the room. Refresh your seating plan with something ergonomic, improving your staff’s comfort levels. Have an area where you and your staff can unwind during break times, with healthy snack machines and games equipment. And yes, a pot plant is nice, but add a few, providing a cleaner, more fragrant air, and reducing your employees stress levels. With a few small touches, you will all be happier coming into work on a Monday morning.

2. Engender a culture of praise

Work is hard, and it’s tougher when the boss is always coming down on the employee. With criticisms and lack of recognition, it’s little wonder many employees feel undervalued. Admittedly, there is a time for correction, but it’s how you do it that counts. Be firm but fair, and make any criticisms constructive. And then focus on the positive. Show appreciation for your team’s hard work by telling them so, with word and letter, and reward those who do well with a perk or bonus that will make their day. Create an atmosphere where everybody else on the team encourages each other also. Get to know your employees as human beings, as well. Remember they have a name above and beyond their payroll number. When your team know you appreciate them, they will work harder for you, so implement that praise culture today.

3. Improve the working day

The working day can be a slog, but it doesn’t need to be. There are ways you can improve your employee’s day, such as starting the day with brain gym exercises, letting them take longer or more frequent breaks, encouraging teamwork, and making planning collaborative. If you have meetings, make them relevant and interesting, and give everybody the chance to be listened too. Ask your employees if they find work fulfilling. If not, ask why not, and take steps to give them a sense of greater purpose when they arrive each day. Your employees will be happier and more productive when their day has meaning. They are there to work, of course, but you don’t have to run them into the ground by making their day more difficult.

4. Have more get-togethers

We aren’t talking about team building days, which are more likely to elicit groans of exasperation rather than joy. We are talking about having more social time together, whether that’s in the office with a wine keg and buffet food, or time out of the office at a local bar or a fun event. Admittedly, there may be some reluctance from some, especially where families are concerned. So have a half-day Friday, where you can all clock off work early with something social before everyone goes home, or host family get-togethers, where everybody can be included. Make sure you talk to your staff for ideas. Your idea of a paintballing afternoon won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, so pool ideas, and timetable them in throughout the year. Not only will you all have fun, but you will get to know each other better too, creating bonding moments to strengthen your efficiency as a team.

5. Invest in personal growth

When your employees feel stagnant and stuck in a rut, they will start to scour the job boards for further employment. You can prevent this by helping them grow where they are, allowing them opportunities for promotion, and finding ways to improve their education to make their working life more fulfilling. You can do this by investing company funds in training, attending industry conferences and workshops, and by sitting down with your employees to look at their goals. By helping them grow, you are raising job satisfaction, enhancing their personal and working lives, and letting them know you care about their welfare. So don’t lose your team to your rivals; keep them on your side and help them flourish, for their sake, and the betterment of your business.

Finally…

Picture the scene. It’s Monday morning and you just can’t wait to get into work. Throwing off your bed sheets with anticipation, you arrive at your workplace with the enthusiasm of Snow White, and your proverbial dwarves are already in the office, whistling while they work. It’s the start of a working week, and everybody is happy to be there. If only the working week wasn’t so short! Blast those pesky weekends!

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