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Creating a positive workplace environment for your team

Fostering a positive team environment not only benefits you and your staff, but also your business.

Happy employees are more productive, and produce better quality work. This leads to positive workplace culture and results in less staff turnover, more specialist knowledge and promotes job satisfaction. Therefore, you will have employees who are invested in helping your business thrive.

Work is an important source of identity, social interaction, achievement and self-esteem for most people and it can have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing. For example, working in an environment where you feel valued and can contribute, and are connected to a positive team, can boost mental health. While working in an environment where you lack recognition or control, feel disconnected or are surrounded by pessimistic people can have a negative impact on wellbeing.

As the business owner and leader, you have an important role to play in setting the tone, mood and work environment for the team. Try some of the strategies below to create a positive team environment in your business.

Be a positive and optimistic leader

  • Your team looks to you to set the tone for the workplace. Optimism and positivity are infectious, but the same is true for a negative outlook - if you are downbeat and cynical, this encourages your team to act the same way.
  • Think about how you respond to challenges. If you show resilience and focus on problem solving rather than panicking, shifting blame or offloading the problem to someone else, this encourages the team to also take responsibility and respond to challenges in a positive way.
  • Develop a sense of fun for the team. For example, being able to chat casually during the work day, or organising activities outside of work can also help to foster a sense of positivity and camaraderie for the team.

Develop trust and respect with employees and among the team

  • Spend time getting to know each employee and connecting with them as an individual. This can help to develop a sense of shared understanding and trust. If you can be open and transparent, this will help team members feel comfortable to open up.
  • Check in with employees regularly. Support them with any concerns, and make sure you are available if they have any questions or need your assistance.
  • Team meetings are also important to discuss your shared vision and goals, allow employees to have a say, and allow for transparent communication about issues.

[You] need to create workplace cultures where people can speak out without fear of retribution.

Small business owner, Bunbury WA

Show appreciation

  • Express appreciation for the work employees do, or the attributes they bring to the team. This is important for ensuring they feel valued.
  • Celebrate small wins. Acknowledging milestones reached or a job well done can help to provide a sense of achievement at work.

Provide freedom, trust and development

  • Trust your team to take ownership of their roles and work. This encourages employees to be invested in your business. Be open to considering and implementing any ideas they have for changes or improvements.
  • Think about each team members’ areas of strength when assigning roles and tasks. This can provide a greater sense of teamwork and achievement. But also be open to developing and training staff in new areas they wish to gain experience in.

Promote work-life balance for your staff

  • Ensure staff do not work more than reasonable hours and take regular breaks throughout the day. This can be important for concentration and safety, as well as work-life balance.
  • Allow staff to take time off. Being flexible with hours or allowing holidays helps employees balance work and life demands. This means they are more likely to stay with your business and feel valued working there.

Consider the physical environment

  • The physical workplace environment also plays a large role in our ability to concentrate and be productive at work. Consider things such as temperature, noise or music, lighting, airflow, standing desk options or adding some plants to an office. All of these can affect our sense of enjoyment, comfort and ability to get work done.

Check out the mood boosters resource for more ideas on how to enhance your environment.

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