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Calling All Bosses: 8 Ways to Create a Healthy Work Environment

January 18, 2016

With a new year comes a chance for a fresh start. It can also be a difficult time in the office. The fun of the holidays is over, the days can be dark and long, and the whole work year looms ahead. To get people out of their holiday hangover funk, fostering a positive work environment should be at the top of business leadership resolutions for 2016. After all, happy employees are productive employees.

Looking for ways to make your workplace a more positive one this year? Here are our top picks for ways to enable a healthy work environment:

1. Don't treat employees like underlings. Yes, they work for you, but it’s important to focus on how they work with you. Praise them often and, when warranted, give them clear, construction feedback in a positive manner.

Employees are more likely to use that feedback to improve if they feel the conversation is candid and collaborative. That means asking for your employee's perspective and really listening. That way, you can help employees identify problems and then offer advice on how to solve them. Make sure the conversation always stays focused on the work and not on the person.

2. Identify employees' strengths and abilities and find ways to build those up through extra training, different roles, or offering new responsibilities. If you help develop those strengths and allow for professional growth, you’ll foster loyal and ambitious employees--and future leaders.

3. Find a balance between checking in with employees and micromanaging them. Trust that the employees you hired are capable of doing their job and let them do it. They may not approach a problem or project the same way you would, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong way to do things. In fact, good bosses hire people who have different strengths than themselves to bring fresh perspectives to the table.

4. Give them the tools they need to succeed. Set up workflow systems that keep everyone organized, and invest in office equipment that is easy-to-use and makes employees' jobs easier. Even simple shortcuts like scanning-to-email functionality and mobile printing apps save valuable time and let employees focus on more important tasks. When employees are constantly interrupted by network problems, dysfunctional printers or lost documents can become easily frustrated, not to mention unproductive. So invest in solid document management systems and fast, reliable equipment.

5. Find a way to give them a break. Often unintentionally, workplaces can breed a culture that requires everyone to be ‘on,’ all of the time which can quickly lead to burnout. A good leader is able to sense when employees are in need of a break, and encourage them to step away from their desk. Want to treat your employees to some welcome distraction? Put a ping pong table in your break room, or bring in a massage therapist for a day.

6. Be open to different working styles. It can feel risky to stray from the 8-to-5 path, but being but not everyone is their most productive following this schedule. If you can offer that employee with the long commute a more flexible schedule, you might alleviate the fatigue and resentment that feeling chained to a desk can breed.

7. Get people moving. It's no secret that physical health and mental health are closely tied. A little bit of movement in a workday goes a long way in boosting productivity. You can encourage employees to move by offering discounted gym memberships, forming lunchtime running clubs, or even scheduling "walking" meetings outdoors.

8. Be transparent. Be clear about the company's mission statement, goals and how the business is doing. Also be forthcoming about individual job descriptions and responsibilities. People who know what's expected of them stay on task compared to those who are constantly being thrown new tasks that don’t seem to fit their title.

At Pacific Office Automation, our mission is to solve office management problems so that you can focus on the important stuff. As office management experts for 30 years, we’re experts on workflow processes. Our team is able to spot issues and offer solutions to improve your processes. Our custom workflow solutions include managed IT servicesmanaged print services and facilities management. Not only that, we can pair your office needs with the right equipment to make office tasks efficient. Contact us today to set up a free workflow analysis.

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