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Beginning full-time employment means the realisation that you now have a second home. Our 9-5 job becomes for many of us, more than a place to simply update spreadsheets and send emails, but rather an environment in which we make friends, share parts of our lives, and build our future.
So, ensuring this space is open, welcoming and enjoyable for all within it is paramount. But, how do you do that? What are the steps you need to take so that you are able to build a happy and harmonious office environment successfully?
We explore how you as a manager or a person with pull within your organisation can lead the charge in making your office an enjoyable environment for all.
So, how exactly do you become one of those workplaces that smugly proclaim how much they love their 9-5? Well, to begin, it's time to prioritise employee morale as much as you prioritise employee output. Whilst work volume is still important and of course, you still need to yield results, that shouldn't be done at the expense of a person's mental health.
Showing staff members with real actions that they are valued is paramount, and will likely have a positive domino effect as workers who feel valued by their organisation are likely to try harder as a result.
Prioritising morale is such an easy feat and can be done on a variety of scales. It can be as simple as doing a Monday morning team breakfast to increase a sense of community or even something like investing in a coffee machine rental so that day in and out, you and your staff no longer have to spend that $4.50 as well as ten minutes waiting in the cold for your cappuccino, instead it can now be done for free in the comfort of the heated office.
However, if you're wanting to go a little bit further for your team, gestures like occasional late starts or early finishes will be appreciated exponentially, and including staff activities like trips to an escape room, or simply going out to lunch are good deeds that all will enjoy.
A really great way to understand whether people are feeling happy within the workspace is actually a lot more simple than you might think, all you have to do is ask. Having a quarterly check-in with your team to discuss how they feel at work will do wonders for the overall office environment.
But, there is a right way to do it. Ensuring that staff know that these interviews are confidential will ensure that they feel comfortable enough to open up, rather than closing down and only saying what they think wants to be heard by senior management.
It is also of the uppermost importance that any changes discussed during these meetings are put into action. It is all well and good to discuss change, but if nothing is done, over time, employees' trust in their workplace will begin to falter, and these interviews will become largely unproductive.
When done correctly, speaking directly to employees can be beneficial in a plethora of ways. It tends to nip potential problems in the bud so that they don't have a chance to fester and become unmanageable.
Employees will also begin to build trust with the company that they work for, as they feel listened to and understood, knowing that changes will be implemented if need be.
We all know that there are going to be days when work feels a little bit longer than usual. Maybe a report is late, so you need to stay back to finish it. Or it's a particularly long Tuesday in which the last weekend seems like a distant memory and the next one feels worlds away.
However, not every day at work should feel like a slog. During the aforementioned one-on-one interviews, as well as discussing the workplace as a whole and considering any changes that could be made to improve culture, there should also be career goal discussions.
This isn't a test to see how ambitious your staff members are, but rather a way to learn a little more about them so that you can tailor their work a little more to their interests. Employees who are doing engrossing and fulfilling work are likely to be more productive as well as actually feel happy to come into their office every day.
At the end of the day, we are all human, all just people doing our best. And, as people, we have bad days or moments of weakness. Our full-time job operates as a constant amongst an ocean of unpredictable moments that make up our life.
So, it is inevitable that something unprecedented pops up, that can hinder our ability to work to our full capacity. This is why having an open door policy as a manager, or boss is vital. Employees need to know that if they need to, they can talk to their boss when they're having a moment of weakness.
This is a really beneficial approach for everybody involved. Employees who feel they are able to approach their boss with a problem won't hide potential issues should they arise. As a result, employees feel supported and happier overall, and problems aren't left to grow into an unmanageable issues.
So, whether the issue is directly related to work, or it's simply a personal problem that is beginning to impede a worker's ability to produce to their full capacity, proving that you're always somebody willing to listen and will assist in coming up with a solution will benefit the workspace exponentially.
Improving your workplace to make it a happy space to be in is an ongoing process, you should always be chopping and changing to ensure that the approach you're taking is the best fit for your team. However, once you enlist a few of the techniques mentioned above, you can look forward to being welcomed into a space that feels like a second home, a second home that just so happens to have a conference room and communal fridge.