How to focus on well-being in the workplace
When you have a workplace, it is very important that your employees thrive.
What is a work environment? And how do you make it better?
When talking about a work environment, the definition is often very broad - and sometimes quite abstract.
The overall work environment covers physical, psychosocial, relational, and organisational influences in the workplace.
The work environment thus covers everything from:
- Management style and how people are treated in the workplace
- Collaboration and relationships with colleagues
- Physical surroundings such as tables, chairs, and the general interior design.
If you find it difficult to comprehend what the work environment really covers, think of it as everything that makes your colleagues and employees happy, still with a ‘mental surplus’ when they get home from work. Conversely, it also covers everything that can affect them during the day and also when they get home from work - whether they feel worn out, stressed, or in a bad mood .
3 important things to create a good working environment in the office
It can seem overwhelming when creating a better working environment - because where do you start? The truth is that creating a good work environment is a never-ending task, and it is something that must be worked on all the time. If it is not on the agenda, you risk quickly contributing to poor well-being in the workplace.
Don’t know where to start?
Here are 3 things you can do to create a great working environment in the office:
1. Create the right physical environment
It can be difficult to focus on things that cannot be seen, such as relationships and psychosocial interventions. Therefore, if you do not know where to start, start with the physical environment instead. Make sure there are good office chairs, adjustable-height desks, lounge areas, and a general cosy atmosphere. Reduce physical disruption by, for example, investing in a MuteBox and bringing the office to life with some green plants. It may seem like little things, but in the end, it makes a huge difference.
2. Make recognition of each other a habit
It is easy to forget to praise each other, and most of us tend to focus on what needs to be further improved rather than what is already done well.
Practice acknowledging each other's work and actually saying it out loud when something is great and well done. It makes a huge difference to your job satisfaction and the overall working environment when someone recognises your hard work. Do you have a colleague who is doing well? Then remember to tell them!
3. Give the community the right conditions
It can be difficult to create a community in a workplace, and even though you can hope for it, it is not usually something that happens naturally by itself.
Do you have the responsibility of an office or an office community? Be sure to plan some social events, make a point of doing joint lunches every day, make colleagues work together and take the initiative to create conversations between departments. When you set a good example and give the community a loving boost, relationships are more likely to be created in the workplace - and good colleagues are an effective weapon in the fight for a better working environment in the office.
Signs of poor well-being in the workplace
Are you unsure about whether the general well-being in your workplace is poor? It can be difficult to see and feel if you do not know the signals.
Clear signs of poor job satisfaction:
- There is a lot of time pressure on many work tasks
- There are generally a lot of collaboration problems and conflicts
- There is a large turnover of employees
- Your colleagues or employees do not feel heard or seen
- Your employees or colleagues gets interupted multiple times during the day (and therefore have difficulty reaching their goals).
Do you recognise one or more of the points above? Then maybe it’s time to do a survey (anonymously, for instance) in the office, so you get a better insight into what you need to focus on - whether it’s the physical settings and interuptions that can be remedied with a MuteBox, or if it is mainly about poor management or colleagues not working effectively together.
Tips for achieving better well-being:
#1 Recognition is important for well-being in the workplace
When you have employees who perform various tasks for your company, they need recognition. They may not always know if what they are doing is good enough. This can create a lot of doubts and frustrations in everyday life.
Recognition is a great way to increase well-being in the workplace. It gives employees an indication that they are actually doing something good for the company, and is an important factor when it comes to well-being.
Recognition can come from both colleagues and managers. It is important that employees receive recognition from both parties. It can therefore be an advantage to make recognition between colleagues and managers an active part of the culture of the company.
#2 Make the work meaningful to the employee
Recognition alone is not enough to improve well-being in the workplace - it is also important for employees to know that their work makes sense, and that there is a purpose and reason for their dedicated tasks to be performed. If the employee does not feel like there is some sort of meaning to the work, it can negatively affect their well-being.
Employees may not feel like they are an active part of the company, as there is no higher meaning to performing the given tasks. This can create the feeling of poor well-being, which can mean that employees no longer have a desire to carry out the work efficiently.
It is important to act in this case. As a manager, make sure you make all your employees' work meaningful. This applies both to the accounting clerk who is punching in numbers and the cleaning assistant who makes sure the office is spotless.
There are many ways to make a job meaningful, but it can be difficult to communicate to the employee that their work is important to the company.
Thinking about what the situation would be like if the person did not perform the task is a good thing to reflect upon - what would happen then? Based on that, you can work towards a solution to find a way of making the work meaningful to the employee.
#3 Create development opportunities for your employees
When you want to focus on well-being, it is important to make it clear to your employees that there are development opportunities available for them. Humans are not built to thrive in mundane and repetitive work scenarios where we end up doing the same thing for the rest of our lives - we need variety. This applies to both home and work life.
As a manager, you need to be open to your employees developing as individuals within your workplace. You may not necessarily be able to offer the possibility of a promotion, but that could be one solution. There are, however, many other ways to create personal and professional development opportunities for your employees.
Development can also consist of learning new things and gaining new skills. Personal and professional development could be about an opportunity to attend courses - either internally in the company, or with external organisers. It could also be a form of further education. Development could also consist of the possibility of moving around various departments within the company.
A development opportunity will be very different from person to person and position to position. You will, of course, need to learn more about what can motivate each employee to enhance their individual well-being. Remember, though, that you also need to look at what is realistic for each position.
Well-being is affected by other factors - think in different directions
There are many different ways to focus on well-being. You need to keep in mind, however, that there are other factors that can affect well-being in the workplace such as efficiency in the workplace. Improved efficiency can consequently lead to better well-being.
An improved working environment can also help to provide better well-being for your employees. There are many different indirect ways to improve well-being in the workplace. You can, therefore, think creatively in several different ways, and, by investing in several different areas, you can create a synergy of improved well-being. A shortcut to improving the work environment in open offices can be a telephone box.
Focusing on better well-being can lower sick leave and absence
In conclusion, we simply want to stress just how important it is that you focus on the well-being of your employees. If your employees are not feeling well in the workplace, it can affect them both physically and mentally. This can lead to higher sick leave and absence.
If you see a tendency of high levels of sick leave in your workplace, it could, amongst other things, be caused by poor well-being. But, by making a dedicated effort, you can reverse this trend.
Feeling a sense of well-being in the workplace can have a much more positive effect on humans than we think. It is therefore important that you prioritise the well-being of your employees in the workplace. With the above steps, you can reduce sick leave and create a healthy and happy workplace where your employees actually enjoy working.