Each of us puts in some 80,000 hours during a lifetime at work. As a result, the environment in which we spend those hours should be of concern to everyone. The environment at work also impacts families. Most people take a part of their job home. Where employees are happy and motivated, bringing the job home can even be fun.
There are basically two types of workplace environments. One is "positive" and the other "negative." The negative environment is usually created by leaders who may be very insecure or who just cannot communicate. A pleasant "good morning" is not found in the vocabulary of some people. Preoccupation with business objectives prevents remembering human qualities. The lack of human caring leads to low productivity, low morale, and the projection of poor image for the business in the marketplace. It is much easier to destroy morale than to build it.
We have all faced the situation where institutional problems have been taken out on a poorly motivated staff. I know of one company where the president's declared position was to create tension at all staff levels. He felt that "creative tension" would move the company forward. In reality, it almost drove the business under.
A positive environment provides conditions for the greatest human development. In such an environment, an individual will grow. Creative juices will flow, resulting in higher productivity. Treating employees with human dignity and concern will permit an organization to demand greater professionalism and higher performance standards. A positive work environment makes good business sense. Here are some simple guidelines which I have found help create a positive atmosphere.
1. Know as many employees as possible by name and know something about them as human beings, too.
2. Have an "open door" policy so that employees will feel free to communicate with you or any level of management on any subject.
3. Provide some type of recognition for creative ideas at all levels.
4. Keep employees informed, on a regular basis, about all aspects of your organization's activities.
5. Develop programs to make sure new employees are made to feel welcome immediately.
6. Let employees know about you as a person.
7. Provide a system for employees interested in promotion to be considered for new opportunities.
Finally, one other thought¬employees will always reflect the attitude of management. If the manager has a smile and a sincere compassion for people, the result will be a positive workplace with guaranteed higher productivity¬and a great place to spend those 80,000 hours.