So many of us wake up to the sound of our alarm and groan at the thought of starting the day. Now, why is that? Sure, it’s due in part to our longing for more sleep or desire to lay in bed all day. But another big factor is our job. Let’s face it: we don’t always enjoy where we work. This might lie solely in the job description, but it oftentimes has more to do with the work environment. The bottom line is that nobody wants to go to work if they don’t feel valued, if they don’t have fun, and if they’re not rewarded for all that they do—which is exactly why fostering a happy, healthy environment is so important. Not only will this get employees to work on time and increase their productivity, it will also do everybody’s overall wellbeing some good. So employees, see yourself what a happy, healthy work environment can look like. And employers, take this opportunity to read your fellow business leaders’ tips to creating such a workplace:
1) Promote leadership and self-regulation.
“A happy, healthy environment is an environment of trust and encouragement. Employees thrive when they are encouraged to blossom in their leadership abilities and taught how to be self-regulating,” explains Destiny Dempsey, Director of Operations at ChooseWhat.com. “In my own experience as both an employer and an employee, when there is freedom to take ownership, act in leadership, and to self-regulate: loyalty, dependability, and productivity strengthen.”
2) Create a positive company culture.
Kevin Drolet, owner of cThrue Media, says that company culture is a “critical pillar” of his company’s mission. “We strive to treat each other well, give back to our communities, remain transparent in our work, and remember that quality of life trumps climbing the corporate ladder,” he explains. “We want our team members to be empowered to grow and achieve their goals and ambitions.”
3) Encourage a work-life balance.
“As working life continues to evolve, the most important thing to me has been ensuring my colleagues have a true work-life balance,” says Matt Bentley, founder and CEO at CanIRank. “The modern worker is expected to be all things in one, but I believe we must first take care of the individual before he or she can contribute effectively to the team.”
4) Cater to individual needs.
“We try to find the pain points that prevent our employees from doing their jobs efficiently,” says Adnan Raja, Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic.Net. “It differs for everyone. For example, some people want two monitors, some people want more powerful machines, some people want a chair with head support. We really try to figure out what annoys people about doing their job and then we try to remove those elements.”
5) Be flexible and understanding.
“I am aware that life happens, especially being a father of four—I believe being flexible and understanding of many things that happen in the lives of my employees is important,” says Bobby Holland, owner of Bipper Media. “Whether it’s car trouble, a sick employee or their sick child, or a mini vacation, I don’t worry about it. They know they can make up their time because family is the priority and I think they appreciate that understanding.”
6) Provide positive feedback.
“Providing positive feedback on a regular basis to employees fosters a happy and motivated work environment,” says Ian McClarty, President and CEO of Phoenix NAP Global IT Services. “We don’t wait for the periodic reviews. Positive feedback should be given right away, to encourage more of the same performance.
7) Reward good work.
“I like to give my employees the freedom to do good work and be rewarded for doing so,” says Joanna Douglas, owner of Clean Affinity Cleaning Service. “I value good work because when the work is good, the customers will keep coming back. So far, my employees are very happy with their performance bonuses and are loving their job as well.”
8) Embrace the power of music.
“I’ve always been a big believer that for many people, music is very important,” explains Max Robinson, owner of FishTankBank. “This is why I allow all of my employees to listen to their music at work with their headphones in. We also play music aloud on a set of speakers in the office. This gives the office a really relaxed feel, and employees often comment on how great it is to listen to music rather than the clacking of keyboards.”
9) Create an aesthetically-pleasing environment.
“The key is to create a happy, healthy environment in little ways that have a big impact,” says Zakiyya Rosebelle Founder of Sweet Little Luxuries. “Adorn the walls with colorful, inspirational art. Place several indoor plants throughout the office. Studies have shown that both active and passive interaction with plants can change human attitudes, behaviors, and physiological responses.”
10) Understand that nobody’s perfect.
“While we want our employees to do the absolute best job possible, we encourage them to not be perfectionists,” explains Robert Ellis, owner of Massage Tables Now. “It’s best to get started and make adjustments along the way because you can’t plan for all contingencies. This helps foster a happy and productive work environment because people are not afraid to make errors—mistake are part of the learning process.”
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