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4 Key Factors Involved in Creating a Positive Work Environment

4 Key Factors Involved in Creating a Positive Work Environment

Harvard Business Review cites a wealth of academic research within positive organizational psychology showing the benefits of creating a positive work environment. Most of this research focuses on the detrimental impacts of a negative work environment, although some also suggest specific ways to create a positive work environment.

A cut-throat corporate culture that pressures employees into performing well doesn’t benefit anyone in the end. Long-term effects of stressful work environments far outweigh any short-term benefits. Chief among these include higher costs and lower productivity.

Workers in high-stress environments suffer from physical health problems as well. While we often joke about having a heart attack due to working in high-pressure positions for long periods of time, research has shown that this metaphor can actually be taken literally. A strong link has been demonstrated between being ranked lower in a stressful hierarchical organization and being at risk for cardiovascular disease.

In a negative or stressful environment, employees are more likely to become disengaged. While such an environment might foster productive competition in the short-term, it inevitably leads to burnout and emotional disillusion. The term disengagement is used to describe this state of mind.

Disengaged employees have been shown to take over 30% more sick days, be involved in accidents almost 50% more often, and produce 60% more defects and errors in their work. Disengaged employees also have an effect on the overall company that extends beyond their individual selves. Share prices and profitability tend to plummet among a disengaged workforce.

Creating a Positive Work Environment Comes with Many Benefits

By contrast, businesses often boom by creating a positive work environment. Businesses that have employees that are highly engaged receive twice as many job applications than those who do not. By this metric alone, creating a positive work environment will serve to greatly enhance the success of your business by attracting additional talent. Social connection, open communication, a culture of empathy, and a willingness to help are all key factors in creating a positive work environment.

Social Connection

Empirical evidence has shown that positive social interactions in the workplace provide terrific results. People in positive social environments even get sick less often and heal faster when recovering from surgery. They also learn faster and remember what they learned for longer, have greater clarity of thought and focus of mind, and suffer less depression.

Communication

People who trust their leader and believe he or she has their best interest at heart tend to be more productive. Under such a leadership structure, workers feel safe. A culture of safety produces better performance than a culture of fear ever can. To create a positive work environment, foster open communication among employees and encourage them to talk to you and feel free to raise any concerns or questions they may have.

Empathy

Studies using fMRI Brain-imaging scans have shown that people who recall an unkind boss see an increase in activity in brain regions associated with negative emotions and avoidance. Those who recalled a kind boss, however, saw their brains react in a polar opposite way.

Empathetic leaders create a positive work environment by creating a compassionate workspace. People have greater strength in the face of adversity under the leadership of a compassionate person. To create a positive work environment, always do your best to get a sense of how your employees are feeling and what you might want to have happened if you were in their situation.

Helping Hands

Leaders who are always willing to help create a positive work environment by establishing loyalty with their employees. Have you ever had a boss who always tried to help to the fullest extent they could? It’s a safe bet that you had a strong sense of loyalty toward that person.

Remember These Ways to Creative a Positive Work Environment

In the end, creating a positive work environment is crucial to a company’s long-term survival. These four factors – fostering social connection, having open communication, practicing empathy, and having a willingness to help – go a long way toward creating a positive work environment.

Take stock of ways that you can help to create a positive work environment within your organization today. Your employees will thank you. You may even enjoy higher productivity, profits, and share prices as well.

At Smile we do our part in creating a positive work environment. Visit us for employment opportunities.