A positive working environment is critical for workplace culture and the employee experience. It influences everything from stress levels and mental wellbeing to productivity and performance. But creating a positive work environment goes far beyond the color of the office walls. In fact, it goes beyond the workplace entirely.
Research from McKinsey suggests that some sectors will have up to 5 times more employees working from home after the pandemic than pre-lockdown. However, while this makes your company’s ‘work environment’ less tangible than it was in 2019, there’s still a lot you can do to improve and harness it, providing your people with a positive and motivating work environment they’ll want to wake up to.
1.Create a great onboarding experience
You’ve heard the expression, ‘first impressions are lasting impressions.’ And it’s true – a good employee experience starts from day one. The Hays What Workers Want survey demonstrated that an unwelcoming office environment deterred 64% of applicants. And unwelcoming staff put off 44% of new starters as early as their first day.3
Understanding the needs of your new hire is essential for creating that great first impression. Office-wide introductions and a clear walkthrough of their role, along with tours of the workplace – virtual or physical – can help them feel at home and give them the first taste of your company culture.
2.Own your values
There’s a correlation between companies with clearly articulated culture or organizational values and overall business performance. But many organizations find it’s easier to talk the talk than walk the walk.Clear and inspirational company values are what shape your business vision and unite your workers. But you need to make sure you put them into practice to give people a real sense that you’re all working toward a common goal.
Building positive connections between all your employees is essential in creating a culture of team collaboration, where workers at all levels feel like part of a team. And it’s more important than ever in today’s remote working culture where people may have few opportunities to meet up physically.Team-building exercises – face-to-face or virtual – can be a great way to bring colleagues together, building up rapport and social connections to create an environment that supports mutual respect and trust.
4.Focus on wellbeing
It’s essential that employers are aware of what’s going on with their employee’s wellbeing, and that they demonstrate that awareness. Fifty-eight percent of UK employees would consider leaving their job if company leaders didn’t show empathy to staff needs, according to Workplace from Meta research.4Offering benefits like discounted gym memberships, flexible working options, and free counseling can help reduce workplace stress and improve overall wellbeing. But an open-door policy, where people feel free to talk to leaders about what’s on their minds, could be even more effective.
5.Encourage diversity and inclusion
Does your company welcome people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, religions and genders? Diverse, inclusive teams power innovative, forward-thinking organizations. But if diversity in your company is low, it can directly impact the experience of diverse hires and how comfortable they feel in your work environment. Find out more about how to improve diversity in your workplace.
6.Get the physical workplace right
It’s incredible just how much of an impact a suitable physical space can have on our mood. Everything from the chairs you provide to the office lighting will directly impact your workers and their ability to perform at their best.But it’s not all about work. While creating a comfortable, productive space is essential, it’s just as vital to design spaces for collaborative working and downtime, enabling people to build social connections and take charge of their mental wellbeing in the work environment.
7. Be open
Employees who feel their leaders communicate with them directly and truthfully are far more likely to respect the company they work for and feel positive about their work environment. And people aren’t just demanding openness about the organization itself – 62% of employees want transparency on societal issues like climate, diversity and inclusion, our research shows.5With remote and hybrid working increasingly part of the mix, you must get your messages across while enabling employees to communicate effectively with you and everyone else.