Giving Your Employees the Best Work Environment – Brooke Faulkner

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Good leaders recognize that creating a work environment which fosters employee satisfaction is one of the most important steps you can take to achieve a positive and productive work environment. This is especially true as providing employees with what they need to be happy often comes at a reasonable price to attain loyal and motivated workers who are more than willing to do their part each day to help the company succeed.

Although there are few things that motivate employees as much as money, other perks and benefits can help create a work environment that draws employees in and keeps them coming back.

Common Workplace Problem

In order to understand what kind of workplace perks are important and why, it helps to understand some common workplace problems that those benefits help combat. According to a Harvard Business Review poll of 1,000 U.S. workers, the top complaints employees have about their leaders revolve around communication; not recognizing employee achievements, not giving clear direction and not having time to meet with employees created a workspace that prevented effective leadership. These communication issues often leave employees feeling unsure of their standing with the company which results in confusion and unnecessary stress.

High stress levels can cause anxiety and poor mental health, which can distract employees and keep them from doing their best work. Not only does poor mental health deter employees from being productive on the job, it can even result in serious psychological breakdowns. When these work problems become severe enough to interfere with a person’s livelihood, they can be considered serious enough to result in workers’ compensation claims. Although requirements place a high burden of proof on the claimants, with evidence from a licensed psychiatrist, an employee can be entitled to up to six months of benefits, depending on the state.

Improving Job Satisfaction

There are several steps companies can take to improve job satisfaction, foster positive relationships with employees, and avoid being the source of employees’ poor mental health. Often, good leaders will impose company ethos of equality among employees; this is because 65 percent of employees at all levels consider “respectful treatment of all employees” as very important. When employees see their co-workers being undervalued or mistreated in any way, it creates a hostile work environment and can decrease confidence in their job security.

A laid back work environment is often used to increase employee satisfaction, as it can decrease stress levels among employees. Companies offer perks such as remote work opportunities, flexible schedules, and even the option to drink beer at work to help increase job satisfaction among their employees.

Although letting employees drink on the clock might seem counterintuitive, it has been proven to reduce stress, encourage socializing and team building between coworkers, and to lower turnover rates. It’s a relatively low-cost perk for employees to go to work, and it’s often a selling point of a lively company culture.

Motivating Employees to Succeed

To have the best company, you need to have the best employees; and the best employees are motivated when they feel valued. In his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey wrote, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart; his heart is where his enthusiasm is. Treat employees as volunteers just as you treat customers as volunteers, because that’s what they are. They volunteer the best parts – their hearts and minds.” Although you’re paying for your employees’ time, they ultimately make the decision each day to continue working for you.

Fun company events and activities can also help foster a positive work environment, but no amount of job perks can substitute for good company leadership and uplifting relationships between management and employees. Stressful work environments are often not the cause of actively critical and demanding managers, rather, leadership that doesn’t do enough to put their employees at ease by creating a happy and opportune work environment.

When leaders make an effort to empower their employees through one-on-one conversations, creative problem solving meetings, and gestures of appreciation, employees will be more apt to be productive and to prove all the goals they are capable of accomplishing.

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Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek