It’s official: many of us are happy with our jobs and our working environments in general! There's been a shift in the way that companies operate these days. Many firms have made changes that make the working day easier and more productive for staff. Plus, other incentives also help with the cause.
Company bosses know that a happy workforce means a more productive one. Otherwise, a high turnover of staff will ensue, as would an increase in poor quality work. So, what is it that motivates us to be happy with what we do? Here's an insight into the things that increase employee engagement and happiness.
It's common sense that people are more likely to do a good job if they enjoy their work. Employee engagement is one of the areas that many firms have improved upon in recent years. Top companies like Google, SAP, DHL are nailing employee engagement. There is a greater sense of achievement and dedication to tasks from happy workers. Those that feel disconnected or alienated are unlikely to produce outstanding results.
There are many ways that companies can improve employee engagement. For a start, they could work on tailored performance evaluation and recognition programs.
Another is to have a system in place that helps them better manage staff. One can invest in all kinds of solutions from HR software to absence management software. Staff aren't likely to feel disconnected if there is a proper system in place for shift patterns.
Social support is also another way to boost employee engagement. Examples include dedicated recreation rooms and personal development programs.
A fresh approach to management
Some companies have been guilty of micromanaging their employees. They would have supervisors or managers keep a close eye on what each worker does throughout the day. As you can imagine, such a management style has plenty of negative connotations.
At the same time, not managing your employees at all is also a bad idea. What works for both employers and their staff is something in the middle. One of the keys to a happier workplace is being supportive.
In other words, letting workers get on with their tasks. But, if managers notice that some staff members are struggling, they can offer those people some help. Micromanagement is something that should get abolished from all modern companies.
A more supportive management style allows staff to achieve their best work. And they will know that help's available if they need it.
Flexible work schedules
Most people lead busy lives and have to juggle their careers around their home lives. This is especially so for people that have young children in tow.
Working parents often decide to work part-time hours to keep childcare costs down. Others do so to spend more time with their offspring at home. For many parents, it can be challenging to manage their home and working lives. Read more - best parental leave policies.
Many firms find that flexible working times helps employees be more efficient. They are also less likely to call in sick due to problems at home, for example.
There's one thing that research tells us about our working environments. Those of us that spend all day behind a desk are less energetic than those that do some physical activity. If you don't have much energy, you are seldom likely to be very productive.
Some companies have come up with novel ways to help staff have more energy throughout the day. A few firms have gym rooms where workers can exercise. Other companies insist that employees go for a walk every couple of hours.
When you do physical activity, you build up your cardiovascular health. Plus, it improves your mental health too. Why? Because you have a temporary release from stressful office situations. Sometimes a bit of fresh air can help to change one's perspective on a challenging issue.
Turning the volume down
One big productivity killer is noise. If you work in an office and all you hear is people talking loud, for example, one thing will happen. Your epinephrine (adrenaline) levels will rise. As you know, it's a hormone that gets produced by your body for fight or flight responses.
Scientific studies have shown that workers are happiest when the level of noise in an office is quiet. Aside from telling people to work in a library, companies can do plenty of things! One example is to provide silent computer keyboards and mice. Another is to fit sound-deadening materials in each office.
But, the most cost-effective solution of all is just to tell people to keep the noise down!
If the temperature in your workplace is too high or too low, people will struggle to be productive. Plus, workers will be less happy than usual if they find their environment tough to work in.
Climate control systems help create manageable temperatures in a building. Temperatures of around 64 deg. F/18 deg. Celsius is ideal in most cases.
Such systems will come in handy during the middle of winter and summer.
Comfortable seating and desks
One of the main nightmares that some employees have is uncomfortable seating positions. Desks might be too high or low for their needs. And chairs might offer nothing but back pain after the end of each day!
Companies should look to provide ergonomic seating and desk solutions to avoid such problems. Investing in the right equipment is important. That way, employees won't feel uncomfortable as they work.
Home away from home
One final tip is to ensure the working environment is just like home. Plants make a nice decorative feature in many offices. Plus, scientific research has shown they impact productivity in a positive way.
You could also try spacing out people's desks in an office to give them more room. The beauty of open-plan configurations is you can create all kinds of different layouts. Don't assume that classic ones such as co-workers facing each other are always good.
If noise (or privacy) is an issue at your workplace, consider investing in some dividers. Other ways to make workplaces happier ones for staff include regular recreational events. They are brilliant for team-building and having fun at the same time!