Creating a Positive Work Environment
Managers spend much of their time ensuring that their employees are motivated to work towards the company's goals. A difficult task, considering that motivation is itself difficult to define, let alone foster. For some, motivation may be as simple as a good job description and good benefits; for others, it requires reasonable hours working in an environment that feels professional and productive. Our Motivation Methods section discusses motivating employees more generally - this article will focus on specific considerations when creating a positive work environment conducive to productivity.
Creating a positive work environment begins with jobs that are interesting and challenging; workers who feel excited by their work are more likely to take initiative and perform well than those whose jobs seem dull or repetitive (be sure not to overload your staff with too much responsibility - we'll discuss this in the next section). But it is not enough to simply hire interesting people and ignore their surroundings; consider that you offer a service not only to your staff but also (and more importantly) to your customers. What kind of an impression do they get when they visit your office? Is there clutter everywhere? Are you paying attention to detail in the products or services you sell? If the answer is "no", perhaps a fresh coat of paint will help. Or maybe rearranging desks so workers aren't facing empty walls would brighten their days, as would updated computers and phones.
You will have heard the old adage "a happy worker is a productive worker". While it may be true that a happy worker is more productive, it is equally crucial to ensure that your employees are not too overwhelmed. Your staff should have a reasonable workload - no one wants to spend all day trying to catch up on work that was neglected over the weekend.
We will discuss how you can determine if your workers feel under- or overwhelmed in a future article, but for now, just be aware of the correlation between productivity and time management. If tasks seem daunting, consider dividing large jobs into multiple small ones so that they may be completed more easily. This also allows workers who finish early to rest easy knowing they have some free time later in the week; alternatively, break their workday up with activities such as lunch breaks they may return refreshed and ready to go.