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5 Ideas for Simple, Sensible Workplace Culture Improvements

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Unlimited complimentary food and coffee. Craft beer in the break room. Free massages and gym access. Bring your dog to work days.

These workplace perks might seem like overkill, but for a multibillion-dollar company, providing these extras is a no-brainer. It’s not rocket science that when employees are healthy and happy, working in a positive environment, they produce better work and create more successful businesses. Yet so many workplaces tend to ignore the data.

Harvard Business Review and Forbes recently reported results from national polls on company culture and wellbeing. According to findings, employee disengagement leads to greater errors on the job, higher absenteeism, and a greater number of workplace accidents. This disengagement is often the result of high stress jobs in high-pressure companies that show little to no concern for their employees general well-being. Contrary to what some believe, putting pressure on employees to produce great work under tight deadlines will not motivate them to work harder or better, but rather will stress them out and lead to higher turnover rates.

Given that the main driver for businesses is to be successful and profitable, it is important that companies recognize the importance of employee well-being and work to create positive culture in the office.

How does one do this you might ask?

Creating a positive workplace culture is not just about dishing out higher salaries or bonuses and giving away free snacks. It’s about creating an environment in which employees feel that they are value.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Encourage a culture of caring for colleagues. It’s critical for managers and execs to lead by example and emphasize the importance of showing colleagues that you have their best interest in mind, empathize with them, and genuinely care about their well-being.

  2. Avoid blaming employees when errors occur. Learn to forgive mistakes and create a plan to move forward. Mistakes are just that, mistakes; they are not intentional and should not be used to hang over someone’s head. It’s likely that the employee is already beating himself up over the error and will not benefit the added blame.

  3. Invest in employees’ professional development. Showing someone that you care about their career and want them to grow and succeed will go a long way.

  4. Promote health and wellbeing by creating a healthy environment in (and out of) the office. This can be done by providing healthy snacks in the break room, offering reimbursement for gym memberships, or simply organizing a daily walking group or office-wide wellness challenge. Studies show that active, healthy employees feel a greater sense of wellbeing at work.

  5. Provide regular check-ins with supervisors and opportunities for peer feedback. Employees love to know when they’ve done something well or seek advice on how to improve.

Creating a positive office culture does not have to be expensive or complicated. By making small, concerted changes you can greatly improve employee engagement and the overall productivity of your business.