Encouraging Positivity In Your Work Culture
Even in the best of times, many companies struggle with creating a culture that keeps their employees highly motivated, happy, and driven.
With the specter of COVID-19 and racial and political unrest looming large in the minds of many Americans, crafting a culture of positivity may seem out of reach. For companies and managers struggling to make it through this period of economic uncertainty, the need to focus on keeping above water may mean that company culture has had to take a back-seat.
Creating a culture of positivity doesn’t have to be a major expense! Let yourself add some fun and relaxation to your workplace, even if it feels impossible to step back from your day-to-day.
Almost 80% of American workers say that company culture is a major factor in the job satisfaction. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, companies with engaged employees outperform their competition by as much as 20%! When you allow your employees to play and relieve stress, the harder and more motivated they’ll work. So, in the age of work-from-home, how can you add a little positivity into your culture?
Bring your team together regularly for “no shop-talk” virtual gatherings, celebrate birthdays/holidays, hold friendly, bragging rights contests, or virtual coffee breaks/breakfasts. Little activities can go a long way and help boost morale or bring teams together. Some popular ideas are: run a spirit week and ask employees to decorate their virtual space, create a silly hat, or show off their favorite fancy cocktail; play games like trivia, heads up, or virtual werewolf; nominate an employee-of-the-month; host an ever-popular happy hour. There are tons of free or low cost options to incorporate into your weekly/monthly routine.
Leave Room for Flexible Schedules.
Desire of a good work/life balance is a defining trait of millennial workers, but if you’re in an all-hands-on-deck situation, how can you give your employees the balance they want? Leaving room for employees to have some flexibility in their work schedule can really show that you care about their personal lives and want to give them a benefit they value. Flexible schedules allow people to work around their life and feel like they can be trusted with that time. Bonus: it also helps boost productivity!
Encourage mini-breaks (and take them yourself).
Stress in the workplace is inevitable but finding ways to relieve it can make even the most stressful day manageable. Encouraging your team to take small breaks throughout the day can re-focus their concentration and work motivation. When employees are comfortable taking a few minutes to eat a small snack, listen to a favorite song, take a quick walk around the block or read a couple pages from a book morale often goes up! Whatever helps you (and your team) disengage for 5-10 minutes is enough. The key is getting buy-in from the top so that people don’t feel guilty taking their small breaks.
Celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays.
Acknowledging the day each employee joined your team lets them know that you appreciate them and the time they’ve contributed to the team. Simple gifts like a signed card by everyone, a small gift card, desserts to share, or even a social media shout-out can really make a difference.
Sometimes having a positive culture means making your environment a safe place to fail, make mistakes, and be honest about personal/professional struggles. Find time to talk about your failures and mistakes (big and little) with your team, and invite them to share theirs. Find out how their day is going and let them know what you can do, if anything to help. Be honest about hard situations and the timeline on resolution. It’s easy to try to sweep these things completely under the rug, but sharing what you can creates a culture of openness and by extension positivity.
Encourage your team to connect beyond the work in some way, whether that’s putting a virtual coffee on the calendar, meeting for a socially distant walk around the lake, or even just starting each meeting with 5 minutes of non-work chatter. Most people are missing the social aspect of working in a office, so find little ways to introduce connections back into the work day. When every interaction with your team involves stress or problems, it becomes easy to associate your colleagues with those feelings, especially between different teams. Adding social time can prevent that.
There is no silver bullet to creating a positive culture, but taking little steps when you can allows a culture shift to happen (or be maintained) gradually. What have you tried to keep spirits up in your workplace? Share your successes (and failures) in the comments below!