Across all industries and professions, employees spend most of their hours at work more than with their own families. Often, you hear stories of horrible bosses or bad jobs that force capable employees to leave. It’s no surprise that company culture and the overall workplace energy can affect an employee’s motivation to work.

Research shows that a positive and humane workplace sees a rise in creativity and productivity, as well as low stress levels in its employees. Additionally, these positive changes may address issues of morale or ease a number of pain points in your operations, resulting in an overall improvement in performance.

Here are some of the ways you can foster positive a positive work environment:

1. Encourage clear communication

At the root of creating a pleasant workplace environment is improving communication. When everyone can clearly communicate goals, expectations, and other vital matters in equal measure, any possible misunderstandings can be avoided.

This covers all levels of your organization: from the staff and assistants being able to air their concerns with company operations to the bosses making a clear outline of deliverables and explaining management’s expectations.

2. Create a safe space

In line with emphasizing clear communication, a good workplace environment needs its safe spaces. A safe space means that anyone can air their grievances or express their concerns without judgment, given the right avenues.

It also includes addressing the sources of negativity or complaints and taking action to ensure that the workplace remains fair and favorable for everyone. Most importantly, these avenues should protect the parties affected by the issue and minimize any possible harmful exchanges or encounters.

2. Encourage ideas

Part of a positive workplace environment is a space for employees of all levels to pitch ideas, brainstorm, and collaborate. It also allows your company to hear the points and understand situations through the unique perspectives of each employee, facilitating learning at any level.

While some ideas may be more polished than others, the act of sharing can possibly stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving. In creating these spaces, your company shows that it values what its employees think and recognizes the importance of sharing their thoughts.

3. Improve the system of accountability

One of the worst experiences you can have in the workplace is the lack of accountability: someone goes on leave and does little to no turnover, leaving urgent pending tasks undone, or essential files are either incomplete or done sloppily.

Having a system of accountability lets the workflow go undisturbed by unexpected circumstances, allowing your employees focus on doing their jobs rather than get frustrated over someone else’s. Additionally, a better system of accountability can also help avoid workplace complaints that arise from a lack of accountability and improve the efficiency of your organizational structure.

4. Recognize achievements and efforts

Employees work hard, and more often than not, management encourages them to exceed expectations with their output. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and efforts can go a long way in improving workplace energy and the overall environment.

It’s as easy as taking a few minutes in meetings to acknowledge the company wins and the people behind it. Giving incentives like bonuses or tokens of appreciation can also be fitting rewards for a job well done.

5. Take charge

A boss often sets the pace for the rest of the group, both in action and in morale. Any good workplace should have a leader that rises to the occasion, encourages the team to reflect and analyze the situation, and exercises his best judgment in planning a course of action.

This isn’t to say that a boss should be micromanaging or taking the burden alone—taking charge can involve empowering employees to come up with solutions or hear out ideas for improvement. What’s important is to show initiative through solid values and management skills.

6. Foster engagement

While everyone comes to the office to work, it’s important to take a break now and again. Organizing activities that engage your employees, be it through fun contests that get people to mingle and know each other better, or through activities that let everyone’s personality and creativity shine through.

Team lunches, company outings, and workspace decorating contests are just some of the activities you can implement to foster company-wide engagement. However, remember to stay true to your company culture and decide on which activities best suit your organization and employees.

At the end of the day, creating a more positive workplace environment can help employees stay happy, and happy employees perform better than those who are not. Many employees may not reach their full potential if they work in an environment that doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a positive work environment. Your employees are your greatest assets, and investing in their well-being can go a long way in improving operations, yielding output, and eventually, growing your business.

Regina Del Rosario is a recruitment specialist at Booth & Partners.

Work environment stock photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock