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Who should care about the work environment? Everyone.

A 6 am cup of coffee and a quick shower (very quick if you’re in Cape Town), and off to work you go. 9 hours later you might feel exhausted and overwhelmed or you’re having a pleasant conversation with your partner or gym buddy about how wonderful your work environment is. Whether you work in a disconnected office with demotivated staff or you work in a loving and productive office with efficient people, there are always ways to improve the work environment. And because we’ve all experienced an unpleasant situation at work, let’s look at 5 ways to create a more positive setting.  

Connect with team members in person

It’s easy to get caught up in using short email exchanges as your main form of communication. There are many reasons why that works: it saves time, energy, the list goes on. But there is a very crucial benefit to making the effort to connect with team members in person: you establish a position of caring that motivates them individually. You’re dealing with real people and a little bit of in-person communication goes a long way. Ask your team members about their career goals and interests and show them that you care to hear the answer.

Show your appreciation
It might not come that easy for some people, but a little bit of praise shows your employees that they matter. One of the biggest complaints from employees is that they don’t feel appreciated and a simple “good job” makes a world of difference to an employee.

Listen to new ideas
Sticking to the status quo has worked for you this far, right? That might be, but your team has the experience and perspective that you might not. They could offer an idea of how to make things more efficient. Schedule a time for feedback from employees and decide whether to try it out. But firstly, be open to their ideas.

Trust team members
An important thing to remember is that your team is made up of capable adults. Don’t treat them like children. When you assign a task to someone, let them take control of it. Communicate trust with them by asking them to make decisions regarding meetings and communicating with the group.

Don’t be scared to have a little fun
Sometimes we all need a break from the seriousness of business. A fun work environment usually happens when people feel comfortable to be themselves. Drinks in the office on a Friday afternoon or having a few moments in the middle of the day to chat about something other than work is a good way to keep things fun and spontaneous.

Get the best out of your employees
Combine the above suggestions for a positive work environment and you’ll see the changes in your employees and your work environment. A quote by Richard Branson sums it up perfectly, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

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