Adults spend much of their “awake” time at work. Just like schools play a huge part of young children’s development, work plays a massive role in an adult’s well-being. With the latest hype on the topics of quiet quitting and great resignation, it is becoming more. Providing a healthy workplace is crucial to employee retention and happiness.
Many have taken the pandemic as a wake-up call that work is not everything that contributes to one’s happiness. However, undeniably, it still is a significant factor. Besides, people realize that work (or, more specifically, monetary compensation) is no longer the only determination of a “good” workplace. Instead, there are more like: work culture, flexibility and job scopes.
So, the big question here is, what makes a workplace healthy? What makes people want to continue working for an organization when there are so many options out there? Here are some of the ways that employers (and employees) can start seeking out to create a healthier workplace.
1. Listen and take action
Listening may be one of the most underrated skills needed in the organization. Know that as much as you can provide surveys and go through your usual check-ins, nothing beats having a genuine conversation on how your team is working. So how would your team know when you’re listening? You follow up with their feedback with action plans when they see that. It can be as small as having monthly get-togethers if employees feel like there is a lack of bonding with their teammates; or on a bigger scale, restructuring the company’s policies as time goes by to meet the needs of the growing team Hear them out, then take action.
2. Make it easy for people to make healthier choices
If it was more accessible and more effective for people to communicate their needs to the management, I believe nobody would want to opt for venting to their peers or gossiping in the workplace. So make it easier for the team to communicate their needs: either through a monthly Google Form, or having easy access to the HR of the company. Constantly look out for new feedback in the company because as the company grows, your people grow as well.
3. Provide structure, not micromanage
What is micromanaging? Micromanaging is where managers feel the need to control aspects of their employee’s work and decision-making to an extreme degree – more than is necessary or healthy for a usual working relationship. Ever experience anxiety at work when you feel like your employer is keeping an eye on your every move? You’re probably experiencing being micromanaged.
Why is this harmful to the workplace, then? When micromanaging is happening at the workplace, it often shows a lack of flexibility and trust in the workplace. Instead, revisit the company’s culture and work value, realign them and set better structure/big picture (e.g., using the OKRs structure to offload micromanagement) so your team feels empowered to make decisions while achieving the team’s goal.
4. Lead with empathy
Create an environment where people listen because they genuinely care, not to tick off the checklist boxes from the management. But, of course, this can only be done when everyone feels psychologically safe in their workplace. With the rise of mental health conversations, mental health at the workplace is becoming more prominent too. Hence, for upper management to lead with empathy, like setting boundaries, taking time off, and being empathetic with other employees, can be beneficial to provide a psychologically safe environment for employees to do the same.That said, organizing talks or workshops for managers and employees on mental health at the workplace can be a good door opener to encourage both parties to learn to create effective conversations around mental health needs. Win-Win!
5. Improve the workplace, literally.
It’s the chicken-and-egg situation. When we work in a space that promotes better productivity (e.g. better lighting, having ergonomic facilities), the safer employees tend to feel in the organization. Back to the first pointer of this article, listen and take action. Listen to your employees on what adjustment is needed to boost their productivity at work. Are specific tools or software required to help them at work? Are there more plants needed in the workplace? Do they need a microwave in the pantry to kick start their healthy diet journey?
Once again, listen and take action so we can meet employees’ needs where they need them most.
To summarize, building a healthy workplace is not a one-off project. It is an ongoing process as the needs at the workplace grow too. To keep up with the change, constant feedback is crucial so that organizations know what is needed to promote a healthier workplace.