It doesn’t take very much to let morale in a working atmosphere slip. A one-off conflict, high stress over peak periods or a change in structure can set the mood plummeting and you’ll need every resource in your arsenal to maintain a productive happy atmosphere.
It might be tempting to dismiss low morale and stress as ‘part of the job’, but there have been countless studies which have shown the intrinsic link between low productivity and low morale.
Happily, there are four key areas to look at to retain a positive working atmosphere in your workplace.
4 Key Areas to Create Positive Working Atmosphere
There is a whole multi-million dollar industry in creating good and positive working environments, but as a manager, you might not have the budget to ensure your workplace is fitted with flat-screens, games rooms or expensive social areas complete with bean bags and smart boards.
But there are always ways in which you can transform your space into a positive working atmosphere. Considering people spend a third of their life at work, you have to know how to balance a professional space with one in which people can feel at home. It’s a well-worn method for people to personalize their desks, so you can do the same for the office as a whole. Think about the shared values of your team, the interests that everyone has in common.
“You need not spend a fortune, and in some cases, going cheap and tacky can be fun, provided you don’t let it get out of hand. So decorate to your heart’s content, and let your team help you in planning what their working space can be,” says Margaret Weber, employee at Reasearchpapersuk and Last Minute Writing.
If your team has done well, you can surprise them with treats. Some team leaders swear by giving flowers or cupcakes to their teams to brighten up everyone’s dispositions, but it is wise to be aware of everyone’s allergies.
Sometimes, we have to understand that the workplace can be claustrophobic, especially with everyone in such close quarters for great lengths of time. You might notice that there are employees who insist on getting out of the workplace on their lunch breaks, so why not take the idea a stage further?
If you know it’s a sunny day outside and you have a meeting planned, there’s nothing to stop you taking your meeting outside. People automatically relax when they’re outside giving them the recharge they need refocus and remain positive.
Parents, teachers and child psychologists know that positive re-enforcement is a fundamental way of instilling positive behavior in children. But it doesn’t end at graduation, and it’s a sign of a healthy mindset to seek reward for one’s work.
Many may interpret this as a call for better pay, which (while it is a crucial driver behind productivity) doesn’t tell the whole story.
Reward for a positive professional attitude can take many forms and needs to be personalized to every member who performs well. It can be as simple as recognizing some outstanding work or as extravagant as granting extra leave following a productive period.
Showing that you have thought carefully about what shape a reward might take is a key indicator to your team member that you feel genuinely grateful for their hard work.
Reward may also take the shape of an opportunity to progress. But opportunity really shouldn’t only be reserved for those who have shown they can be productive.
It is important to be careful about who you give an opportunity to as it can sometimes lead to feelings of resentment if it is felt that it isn’t deserved. So, before you go giving a promotion, you must make it clear why it is they have been given this opportunity so that others can see how they too can progress.
“Treated carefully, opportunity can also be used as a motivator. Where you are not seeing the positivity you would like to see in your workplace, offering the opportunity for an autonomous project which is goal orientated and time-specific can transform an unproductive employee,” shares Allyson Longshore, blogger and regular contributor to Draftbeyond and Writinity.
4. Be the change you want to see
It may sound like a corny line, but some of the old clichés are founded on wisdom. In order to give your workplace the positive atmosphere you need, the change has to start with you.
There are times when the stress levels of a job can seem overwhelming and it is difficult to see the wood through the trees, but unless you work hard to bring that positivity in, it will only spread and cause unbounded chaos in your company.
Positivity is infectious, but it can take time to take hold, so you’ll need to make a conscious effort to gear all of your interactions to optimize positivity, right down to open body language and encouraging verbal responses.
This means allowing yourself to be somewhat vulnerable. People love an underdog, and if you can show that you are leading a battle against low morale, you’ll find team members starting to line up behind to help.
Once you’ve shown your commitment to being open and honest, you’ll find that your team will be happier talking about the issues which may underly the negativity in the office. These are the times it is important to maintain effective listening techniques. Once you’ve grasped the nuances of the issues, you’ll show a deeper level of understanding that means you will better equipped to work for more positive, energized atmosphere.