You may have caught our previous post on why your employees’ happiness is important. We discovered that happy employees are more productive, generate more sales, and take fewer sick days. However, what it didn’t go into was how to prioritize and make your workplace a happy, productive environment.
Not now. I’m busy.
Workplaces are bustling, frantic environments. It’s hard to stretch the day to include everything you need to accomplish, much less to add anything more to your day. However, if you have ever worked in a restaurant, you may understand that there is always time to watch out for your staff. During a dinner rush, time is crucial and a successful evening depends on teamwork. It only takes one hostess or chef falling behind to take the whole team down. This example demonstrates why prioritizing the atmosphere of your work space is monumentally important.
Any organization can be seen to work in the same way as a busy restaurant, except what stands to be lost is morale, sales, profit and more. Happiness is not an unattainable goal, and there is plenty of science reinforcing how much can be gained by creating an atmosphere of satisfaction from a job well done. Below you will find five helpful tips on how to create a happier workplace and, by extension, happier employees:
Hire happy people.
When interviewing candidates, it’s easy to focus on skills and experience. However, ignoring job candidate’s personalities can be a mistake. During an interview, pay attention to language. Is the candidate self-deprecating? Do they use positive terms? Do they laugh and smile easily? Does their work history show long periods of job placement? Were they referred by someone who already works for you? Studies have shown that positive relationships in the workplace lead to a more productive staff. By noticing small details about a person you can filter out the gloom and doom personalities that tend to be hard on the workplace environment.
Show that you care.
Showing employees that you care doesn’t necessarily mean taking them on expensive trips and handing out large bonuses. Instead, demonstrate that you care about people and your community in general by being charitable. Create opportunities for your employees to give or be of service to others. Begin highway cleanup days, sponsor an animal shelter or work to gather food and supplies for those in need. Simply allowing employees to devote work time to charitable activities demonstrates that your business cares about more than a bottom line. Make sure that employees understand that these types of activities are voluntary, not mandatory, and you will be surprised by how many want to pitch in.
Mix up the routine.
Employee routines vary from one workplace to another, but every workplace has them. Whether it’s a meeting at 11 am or an office lull at 3 pm, you may notice patterns in your workday. Daily routines have been shown to be a great way to boost productivity, but they can also become a bit boring. By paying attention to the rhythm in your workplace, you can also look for ways to make small changes to avoid monotony. Orchestrate brainstorming sessions, head outside to a new location for the afternoon, or reverse your typical schedule to spice up the workday.
Keep the whole office in mind.
When implementing changes of any kind, you may be surprised by how many employees can be overlooked. Oftentimes, small changes within a workplace can cause irritation and resentment that you may not have foreseen. Luckily, this is easy to remedy. Make it a habit to informally ask employees about their day. By simply taking a moment to engage in casual conversation, certain topics will rise to the surface. Obviously you can’t fix issues that you don’t know exist, but with a little conversation and open exchange you will gain access to new ideas and camaraderie.
Being optimistic all the time is exhausting, but you will be surprised at how being positive during stressful periods can be contagious. As a leader, employees look to you for how to handle situations. Instead of focusing on plans that failed or what didn’t work, try to focus on what is working and how to replicate it. This doesn’t mean ignoring the negative aspects of your business, but merely changing your approach.
By simply understanding and accepting that happy employees are better for your business, many of the steps above will come naturally. Thoughtful actions promote a healthier work environment, which naturally creates productivity and success. From startups to major enterprises, understanding what your employees need and fostering their growth will exponentially improve your business.