Jobs may be scarce and business opportunities and growth are quite slow right now, but businesses must continue to provide and foster a healthy work environment. This is to retain current staff, reduce absenteeism, boost employee morale and attract the best talents to the company.
Aside from a healthy working environment for the workforce, companies must also encourage productivity to remain afloat. It’s not about incentives, but an overall package, from the company culture to co-worker dynamics, office layout and even the set-up of the company’s break-room area.
How do you improve employee engagement and work environment? Let us explore some options.
1. Support communication
Many companies are going global, with offices around the world, and employing people who speak different languages. It’s critical that they understand one another, within the offices and among international branches. Even if they speak the same language, dialectical differences can create communication gaps and misunderstandings.
Overcoming language barriers is one way to help the team be more efficient and productive. You can help your team by encouraging them to use simple and plain language. You can also use visual aids in the office. For a multinational team, offer them language lessons. If you’re dealing with technical documents, it is better to hire a translation services provider for accuracy, instead of relying on your multilingual staff.
Communication is also about making things transparent. Keep the communication lines between management and staff open. Your staff will be more willing to share if they feel connected to you. You will be able to know the issues with team members and projects, and employees will not be hesitant to discuss problems.
2. Staff empowerment
Trust is something precious. Empowering your staff means that you are allowing them to plan their work and make decisions. When you do this, you are telling your employees that you trust them as essential partners in growing your business. You are giving your employees a certain amount of freedom that fosters a positive work environment.
Instill in them the sense of responsibility and encourage self-growth. Provide them with the right information, define their roles and encourage independence, in the context of meeting your team or department’s goals.
3. Offer bonuses and performance-related rewards
It is a given that employees are entitled to bonuses. Give additional incentives, not just bonuses at the end of the year, particularly to reward exemplary performance. Doing this denotes that you care about your staff. Bonuses encourage them to perform better and boost their morale. It promotes healthy competition among the staff. Rewarding excellent job performances show that you appreciate your employees. It also encourages them to be more productive.
There are also many non-monetary perks that your staff can enjoy. You can have after-office social activities, small parties in the office to celebrate reaching a milestone, or surprise half days. How about getting them to attend seminars for their continuing education?
4. Build teams and breed team spirit
Most people want to work in teams. Employees become more efficient if there is synergy in the office. This is because their collaborative effort produces an output that is far greater than the sum of all individual outputs put together. The idea here is to put staff in teams where their skills and talents will complement the other team members. You are therefore creating small, unified groups that will help each other to attain common goals.
5. Create a positive working environment
Encouraging your employees to be productive means that you must provide them the kind of working environment that will foster productivity. For people to work well, several things must be considered, such as the office furniture and fittings, air quality, noise levels, personal space for each worker, quality of lighting and even the ambient temperature in the office. The office should be cheerful, spacious and bright, with each employee enjoying his or her own personal space. Distractions should be at a minimum, and the environment should promote communication and interaction.
Many companies offer flexibility, which can also boost productivity. Technology improves staff collaboration and communication, even if some of them are not on-site. Telecommuting and working from home have increased productivity, improved work quality and timeliness of submissions. Flexible work hours and telecommuting are better options than dealing with frequent absences due to the demands of family life.
6. Encourage wellness
Healthy employees are happy employees. When they’re happy they become more productive. Your office may not be able to have a rec/gym room but you can do other things, such as on-site flu vaccinations or an on-site health clinic on a weekend. You can also improve the meals served at the office cafeteria by encouraging them to serve more fruits and healthier snacks. Encourage your staff to do simple exercises they can do while seated at their desks, taking calls and during their breaks.
7. Provide a comfortable office
Small changes in your office interior can make a big difference in turning it into a healthy and productive work environment. Good lighting, good ventilation, proper temperature and other amenities create a stress-free environment.
Check colors that keep people chirpy and calm. Add plenty of living plants that not only beautify and liven empty spaces but also help clean the air inside the office. It would be great if you can provide a comfortable space for employees to relax during their breaks. Provide them with comfortable and ergonomic chairs and desks and the right work equipment.
See if you can make it an open office, where employees have the option to work in an area where they’ll feel most comfortable, whether they sit or stand. There are offices where management allows their workers to manage their own time and take breaks to play or recharge, which often lead to more creative outputs.
Outside of these tips, creating a productive and healthy working environment should start from the top. You should lead by example. Be open and accessible to your staff. Encourage communication and collaboration by setting goals, developing teams and making team members responsible. Recognize and reward competence and achievements. Ensure that they have the right physical environment where staff can nurture their skills, get additional knowledge and learn to trust each other, knowing that they are contributing to the company’s success.
Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.