Sometimes, environments are hostile from the start. Other times, they slowly evolve from once great work environments that left too many issues unchecked for too long a period of time. Occasionally, environments are merely neutral and not moving in the way that higher ups would like. Whatever the reason or circumstance, every work environment can always become a tad bit friendlier. Fortunately, it isn’t always difficult to turn things around once you know what the issues are.
Assess The Kinks in the Situation
If you’ve been involved in the work environment for a longer period of time, it may be harder to determine what the issues are. It’s always harder to see things from the inside. If you’ve recently purchased a business and the employees came with it, you’ll probably be able to spot the hang ups much sooner. Put on your thinking hat, and observe interactions. Take notes of what isn’t working, and consider where the issues are coming from.
Address Any Concerns
If your employees have concerns about the way things are run, you need to be willing to go the extra mile to hear them out. From time to time, even things that seem petty on the surface may have deep running roots that affect the overall atmosphere of your office. You’re there to listen and take everything into consideration. People need to have their workplace issues heard, even if they turn out to be less of a big deal than you may be expecting.
Set the Right Atmosphere
Leading by example goes a long way in promoting a friendly environment. If you aren’t friendly, you can’t necessarily expect that everyone else will be. Strong leadership encourages employees to mirror their great behaviors. If you’re open and conscientious, you’ll set the tone for perfect office interactions. Things always get stressful from time to time in the workplace, and employees will feel that stress much more if they feel as though you’re projecting it onto them. Remember to keep things lighthearted, even when things feel bleak.
Have Policies Employees Appreciate
When your employees have problems or are facing gossip in the workplace, they may not know where to turn. Though nobody comes into work to make lifelong friends, their ability to communicate and cooperate with their coworkers goes very far in determining how productive they can be. They need to feel comfortable to speak to a higher up about things they feel are inappropriate in the workplace without a fear of retaliation, or the worry of not being taken seriously. Everyone can breathe a little easier knowing that management is aware of problems.
Make Sure Your Office Promotes Social Interactions
Sometimes your office architecture can prevent employees from bonding with each other. If your office doesn’t have any teamwork areas or meeting places, nobody will ever have a chance to get to know each other. Open areas and comfy break rooms are just what your team needs. They encourage interaction and inspire friendly conversations to help your staff be more connected. If you feel that your employees are too isolated from one other, it’s high time to take a look at online platforms like Gumtree to check for a new office space.
Remember To Have Fun
Work hard, play hard. You’ve heard it all before. Think about what happens after everyone has worked together to achieve something great. It was probably very trying on everyone. What happens after that? Do you move right onto the next thing, or do you celebrate that success? The best thing you can do to ease those tensions is to celebrate in the workplace. Have a catered lunch. Take your top team out for a drink. Let them know you value them as people, and that you understand you could never accomplish such great things if they didn’t work so hard. Recognizing success reinforces company culture and makes everyone feel connected.
More than anything else, the best way to create a friendly work environment is by asking and listening. If what you’re doing isn’t working, invite your employees to tell you why. Encourage criticism, and empower your employees to make the workplace better for everyone.