The workplace is like a second home for the employees. They spend around half of the day and the best part of their lives there. When someone spends a lot of time in a particular place, it has a strong imprint on their personality and life. A healthy work environment similarly influences employee motivation, productivity, and wellness.
Employers must focus on maintaining a healthy workplace. It ensures increasing job satisfaction and decreases the chances of absenteeism.
But there are no specific guidelines for the "best work environment." A workplace has characteristics of many environments. As an employer, your role is to consider points based on the culture and vision of the organization. The employee will show that belief when he trusts the environment where he can be expressive.
We will look at the employer's role in creating a robust workplace. But first of all, let us understand what a healthy work environment is.
Defining Healthy Work Environment
In simple words, it is the surrounding conditions in which an employee operates. It includes physical conditions in the office. Office temperature, equipment such as personal computers, chairs, and desks, are few of the examples. Social interactions in the workplace, including interactions with colleagues and managers, are also included.
According to Opperman, "Work environment is a composite of three major sub-environments. The technical, human, and organizational composites. Technical environment refers to the tools and technological infrastructures. The human environment refers to peers and team. The organizational environment includes systems, procedures, practices, values, and philosophies."
Why Creating a Healthy Work Environment is Important
Ipsos did an international survey of 10,000 workers. It found that 85% of employees are unhappy with their office environment. They find it tough to concentrate on the assigned tasks.
Employees should work in a surrounding conducive to their physical and emotional needs. A workplace should always bring the best out of every employee. A hostile work environment disturbs the work-life balance. It has a negative impact on mood, drive, mental health, and job performance.
That is why creating a positive work environment brings success to an organization. A dreary office setting with hostile workers affects their confidence at work. Tackling workplace stress maintaining wellness becomes difficult. Creating a positive work environment motivates and engages the employees.
According to Kyko Matsushita, many factors can bring a toxic work environment. They are opaque management, biased company policies, working conditions, mutual relationships, and pay.
Work Environment- Components
Work environments have many factors that affect the well-being of workers. How well an employee engages with these factors decides how enjoyable it is to work. How long they will stay in the job also depends on these factors. Employers must consider these points to assess their work environment. Once it is properly assessed, any necessary adjustments can be done when needed.
We have learnt the basics of a healthy workplace. Let us now look at the seven ways employers can create a healthy work environment.
Ways to create a healthy work environment
1. Improve Office Ergonomics
The modern office is an intricate and dynamic collection of elements. It is ever developing in response to the latest technologies and employee needs. Even the very definition of an office is changing.
Office in 2021 is very dynamic and flexible. With the outbreak of COVID, most of the world is confined inside the four walls of their home. It has brought a fresh set of challenges for employees. The workplace has now grown as per the need of the hour. From home, farmhouse, hostel, or anywhere you are, you can connect with your team and continue work.
Manage the modern office workplace challenging considering all the complexities involved. To ensure employees' comfort, test the office environment and adjust the changes.
The office workplace has unique challenges. They come from usual suspects like computers, laptops, and phones. Increase your awareness of existing and potential ergonomic issues in the office.
Know how you can adjust the office workstation to fit the employee's needs. Conduct ergonomics. Check if there is an issue with the furniture and lighting. Replace the weary equipment with useful ones.
Improving periodic assessments in the office is easy and provides significant benefits. An increase in employee comfort will lead to a lower risk of work-related injuries. It will trickle down to have a positive impact on employee retention as well.
2. Create transparent management and policies
Every employee wants to work where the management is clear about its ambitions. Violated management principles and inefficient use of resources affect an organization's bottom line. Employees also expect an honest relationship of the management with all its workers. So it is crucial to have well-set guidelines to build trust and strong bonding.
Hire the right people, establish open communication channels. Keep the employees updated about the company policies. Make every one of them feel valued and inclusive. All these are the big ticks in the box for employees' preferred workplace dynamics.
3. Promote friendly and flexible working conditions
No one wants to work in an intimidating workplace. It has a direct impact on productivity. Employees' mental health improves when they work in a comfortable workplace.
Keeping a tab on your employees' mental wellness and provide flexible working hours . Create a friendly and supportive work culture. Incorporate Activity-based working. It has reported benefits of productivity and improved confidence amongst employees.
4. Conduct Recreational activities
Sometimes working in the routine can be nerve-racking for employees. Recreational activities are the best way to unplug from daily office chores.
Conduct fun activities and games. It can promote team bonding and give a more enjoyable work experience to the employees. It is a very effective way to keep the office environment mellow and comfortable. It also helps in de-stressing the employees.
5. Encourage healthy communication among Co-workers
Communication is the foundation stone of any healthy and effective work environment. All employees in an office are like family. And for a healthy family, all members must be on the same page. Proper communication is a critical key that will unlock success for an organization.
Provide employees with a well-structured and easy layout to express themselves. They must not hesitate to share their thoughts, feelings, and observations. Ask your employees to be empathetic and help new colleagues to adjust smoothly.
6. Provide Competitive Environment for Individual Growth
Everyone wants an opportunity to learn and improve their skills. Middlesex University's Institute for Work-Based Learning reports that 56% of HR Managers consider training as a business enabler. Employees prefer to work for a company providing regular training for career development.
Encourage your employees to grow and improve themselves. It not only helps in engagement but also boosts retention rates. It ensures the efficient use of resources.
Employees can adapt to handle more complex tasks. Upscale the business as employees become more advanced and adaptive.
Incorporate both hard and soft skills training.
Provide opportunities for personal and professional development.
Give employees a monthly allowance to spend on training.
Create mentor programs.
Encourage your employees to take part in wellness programs.
A confident employee contributes immensely to create a positive work environment.
7. Reward your employees
People are less likely to work hard if their achievements go unnoticed. An unrecognized employee will have no excitement and happiness from the workplace. Reward your employees from time to time to make them feel valued. Use the reward system by following the below methods-
Bonuses: Employees usually respond to financial incentives as a reward for outstanding performance.
Perks: Perks aren't financial, but employers use them to reward employees. Half days, get-togethers, and social activities encourage employees and make them feel acknowledged.
Workplace amenities– Amenities like gym can encourage employees to be regular at work. They no longer need to compromise on their wellness goals in pursuit of their job demands.
A healthy working environment benefits the business in the long run. An employee working in a healthy workspace will be an asset to the organization.
Tory Burch once said, "Entrepreneurs have an exceptional ability to create change. They can be flexible, build companies and cultivate the work environment they want to work in."
Lower Absenteeism Rates, Reduced Healthcare Costs, and Increased Productivity are essential ingredients for every successful organization. These should be enough reasons to entice employers to invest on improving the work environment. Understanding the changing dynamics of the workplace and bringing on the necessary adjustments is the key.