Here’s a fact - we spend about a quarter of our adult life at work. Plus, these days, technology enables us to stay connected even when we’re at home or on vacation. For some, the work never really ends - it’s a constant flow of planning, managing clients and managing employees, with intermittent periods of sleep in between. As you can imagine, being miserable at work is something that can significantly affect our quality of life.
But nobody stays miserable for long. Sooner or later, if your employees aren’t happy, they’ll leave. Unfortunately, keeping employees in your company is so much more than a high salary. In essence, ensuring high engagement and low employee turnover takes a good manager to create a great work environment.
A perfect workplace includes a lot of factors, some more important than others. Ultimately, it’s a whole ecosystem whose balance hinges both on your treatment of employees and on the overall organization of processes and workload. We’ve compiled a list of the six most important ingredients that you’re going to need in order to create a workplace where employees will feel respected and inspired to contribute.
The very foundation of a good work environment is trust. Above all, this refers to your treatment of employees. You need to trust them that they’ll do their job, and that they’ll do it the best they can. There are two main reasons why this is important.
First, employees pick up on your attitude towards them very quickly. If they feel like you’re constantly looking over their shoulder, it might make them feel either irritated and stressed out, or insecure in their skills and competencies. The second reason why you should trust your employees with tasks is the fact that the alternative is micromanagement. Doing everyone’s jobs is extremely stressful for you, and it doesn’t exactly make your employees too happy either.
Of course, this trust can’t and shouldn’t be unconditional. This is business after all. Always have a fall-back or some kind of insurance that employees won’t do anything that might endanger the company. For example, you might implement track your employees app such as Insightful, which can give you proof of work when you need it.
For a completely fair workplace, the trust that we’ve talked about previously needs to be reciprocated - your employees also need to trust you. Creating this kind of atmosphere begins with your honesty and transparency.
This means that you need to be honest about everything. There will be some things that you can’t tell employees about, such as confidential client information, etc. But you should tell them about everything that concerns them. Also, if it makes sense, let them in on how you make important decisions.
Let’s take an example of track your employees app. If you’ve decided to implement this kind of software, you need to not only inform your employees about it, but also explain why you made the decision to implement it, what you’re hoping to achieve, as well as what you’re going to measure by using track your employees app. This will make them accept the change more easily, but they’ll also recognize your honesty and openness.
3. Meaningful Work
Another factor that’s mandatory for creating a perfect workplace is the meaningfulness of work. Having tasks that are meaningful, challenging and that clearly drive the business forward (even if just in a small way) is much more important to most employees than having easy tasks. It’s even more important than some formal things like salary in many cases.
This ties to our discussion on transparency. If you lay out each project and explain how each task contributes to the successful completion of the project, you’ll be on the right track. The thing is - most employees don’t define success as getting through the day or checking random things off the list, but as meaningfully contributing to the business.
4. Company Culture
The term company culture is thrown around quite a lot these days. Candidates are hired based on whether they fit into the ‘company culture’, but what does this mean? Well, this depends on the company. In order to have a great work environment, you need to first figure out what your values are. Will you place emphasis on work-life balance? Or is collaboration and team spirit most important? Find out what you value the most and this will be the basis of your company culture.
Regardless of what it is, though, every culture needs to have good collaboration. Foster an environment where it’s OK to ask for help and where everyone works towards the same goal. Everything else is about the organization of work. You can even use tools like track your employees app to ensure successful collaboration.
5. Manageable Workload
The next thing to remember is that nobody thrives when they’re stressed out or tired. This is one of the most common stumbling blocks when trying to create a perfect workplace. One thing you need to work on is good organization of projects and tasks. If you use track your employees app, you can easily see the amount of work in everyone’s schedule so that you can ensure no one gets overworked. This results in a more relaxed and stress-free atmosphere.
One more tip you might want to adopt is to give your employees a sense of completion every now and then. There will always be more work, but let their task queue tap out from time to time. This will give them a very satisfying feeling of being all caught up.
The last ingredient for creating a great work environment is giving your employees a chance to learn new skills and develop professionally. Make it available for them to access resources they need in order to upskill or get better at what they do. Invest in development by sending employees to conferences and workshops.
Giving employees time and resources to hone their skills will result in making them better experts. Reward this by regularly promoting your employees and giving them more responsibility. But also, don’t forget to give them room for lateral movement as well - if a worker wants a career change, why not enable it within your own company (if possible) instead of letting them quit?
Creating a company atmosphere that your employees are going to recognize as a perfect workplace is a long and difficult process. But in its essence, it’s all about the mutual respect between you and your workers. Every other tip that we’ve offered in this article is just a derivation of this idea and it’s there to give you some more detailed guidelines on how to approach building a good work environment. Once you do this, you’ll realize how much of employees’ productivity, quality of their work and success with customers depended on workplace culture that you created and fostered.