Say the term “40 hour work week” to most of us who hold managerial positions and we will laugh out loud. The reason? Pure and simple – some weeks we can double that number! When you take all of the extra hours you work from home, some of us even get up into the triple digits in one week. No wonder we are so stressed!
While managers tend to spend heaps of extra time in the office, increasingly, employees are also dedicating a lot of their lives to their jobs. Our employees are spending such a huge proportion of their lives at work, and so it is more important than ever that they have a positive work environment in which to do so.
A recent study from Robert Half International found that the work environment your business provides is the most important factor that contributes to employee satisfaction. Far from being something at the back of your mind, you need to ensure that you give this matter your fullest attention.
A poor work environment brings everyone down
We’ve all been there – in an office where one person is feeling down and depressed. Maybe they are even displaying outward signs of hostility. These negative feelings can start to bring everyone else down with them. While a workplace superstar can bring everyone up to their level, a workplace dud can drag everyone down.
Negativity is contagious, and one person’s bad attitude can completely destroy the atmosphere in your office. This will make other employees feel down and it can even make them feel like they can also behave badly – after all, so and so does it, so why can’t they? Over time, these low feelings will make them feel unhappy with your organisation, and this will lead to lower productivity than ever before.
Many studies have shown that a poor work environment can slow down productivity, something that will ultimately destroy your business from the inside out. Your best employees will leave for more positive firms, you’ll be stuck trying to find replacements and meanwhile, your reputation with employees and clients is going down the drain.
A positive work environment changes everything
If a poor work environment can destroy your business, a positive work environment can have the complete opposite effect. When your employees are happy, satisfied and engaged, they are much more likely to do their best work. Their productivity will go through the roof, and they will make fewer mistakes. While negativity is contagious, so too is positivity.
Ideally, you want to foster and encourage the employees that exude positivity and discipline (or even terminate) those employees who never seem to have a good day or say anything nice.
5 Signs of a bad work environment
You know that you need to foster a positive work environment, and we have many articles about how you can do this. Encourage well being, promote engagement, give your employees a clear path to success, provide training opportunities, and give them clear role definition – these are just a few of many possible strategies. But how can you tell if you have a negative work environment in the first place?
Check out these 5 signs that you have a bad work environment – and simple ways to fix them.
- No one is interacting at work
While you want your employees to be busy working, you don’t want it to be so silent that you never hear anyone laugh or have a social chat. A lack of social interaction could be a real sign that no one is happy in their workplace. To fix this, start organising team building events and social activities.
- A high turnover rate
You know that this one is a dangerous sign – if your top performers are leaving to work for your competition, something is rotten in your organisation. They have no loyalty to you, and you need to ask yourself why. Get them on board with your company’s goals.
- Employees have no faith in your product
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, your employees should have faith in your product. At the heart of every business is a product, and your employees need to believe in what they are selling. If they don’t have a firm loyalty to your brand, they are unlikely to be happy working with you and doing their best work.
- Wishy washy management
Your employees need to feel that they are in good hands, and they need to trust in the management that controls them. When management are unclear on their communications, disagree with one another, or fail to provide clear expectations, morale is destined to be low. Ensure that you give your employees clear and fair role definition, and regular feedback to stay on track.
- Workplace bullying is rife
I know that bullying seems like something we should have left behind in primary school, but some adults display bullying behaviour without even realising they are doing so. Name calling, excessive teasing, practical jokes and excluding others from cliques? These can all happen in the workplace, and they will sabotage your success. Nip this behaviour in the bud, and ensure that everyone feels safe and respected and no one is experiencing workplace bullying.