On the occasion of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, I would like to talk to you about the work environment. Many times when we look for a new job we only ask material questions such as: hours, salary, functions to be performed and responsibilities, but we forget about an issue that can become crucial: the work environment. It seems a trifle, but many times we do not consider that variable and it can condition our permanence in a position or company. If we work at ease and the environment is pleasant, we are more efficient and effective, we have a better mood and we better cope with adversity or stress.
However, there are companies that do not spend too much time or effort in creating a good work environment, since they consider that it is not an important aspect, but they are making a mistake. By taking care of it, it can be possible to increase the productivity and the commitment of the workers in relation to their tasks.
What aspects make up a good work environment?
- Teamwork: Cooperation is essential to generate a good climate. If everyone goes to his or her own way or there is no dialogue, it is difficult for there to be a good atmosphere. However, if you work as a team, several thinking heads can solve problems better than just one, and communication between the members of the company helps make the climate more humane. The Google company exploits the subject of teamwork and communication well. It has game rooms in which employees can pineapple, relax and enjoy the company, aspects that help to get to know each other better and perform more effective work later.
- Communication and positive reinforcement: More and more companies are joining in motivating their workers. The way is simple, reinforce everything that they do well and that represents an effort or benefit for the company as well as highlight the errors not as punishments but by urging and helping the person to correct them by giving them a vote of confidence. In addition, the subject of communication is essential to generate a good atmosphere. Boss and employee do not have to be friends but a humane and pleasant treatment does not hurt.
- Propose goals: If workers perform their duties with objectives and are rewarded for achieving them, they will be more motivated than if they simply spend a few hours as a trance to get financial compensation at the end of the month. Being able to move up or have more weight in the company can be an extra reason for motivation. If there is no possibility of prosperity, the person will probably end up getting tired of the job and will leave it.
- Dynamic work: If the same functions are always performed, the work ends up mechanizing and therefore boring. It is important that there is dynamization, that is, introducing new tasks or ensuring that mechanical work is not the only function of the worker since people committed to the work usually want to be able to give the best of themselves and not act like robots.
- Take into account the opinion of others: Obviously the boss is the one who decides in the last instance, but it is good to listen to the opinion of the workers, propose that they expose what works and what they think does not work or could be improved in the company as well like what they could commit to to achieve that change.
- Work without fear of dismissal: Especially since the crisis that was looking for any excuse to fire workers, many people have developed an atrocious fear of their bosses. They fear any conversation for fear that it could be used against them and they question everything they do in case it could lead to dismissal. If you are a worker, I know that is easy to say, but you cannot live with fear in your body. You are in your job for many hours and that stress will not make you work better, on the contrary, it can lead you to make more mistakes and give reasons for what you fear. And if you are a boss, try to ensure that communication is free from threats and creates a relaxed atmosphere in which communication is fluid and free.
- Respect rest: If it is not working hours, it is important that workers can disconnect and rest. If they are aware of the email or are called media forcing them to cover overtime, they can end up being demotivated. Many companies join the bandwagon that people meet daily goals regardless of the schedule, but the salary is based on the stipulated hours. Then the person is demotivated because he sees that he works many extra hours that are not financially compensated. If there is no choice but to work overtime, a good work environment means compensating in some way for the effort, granting a day of rest that the person chooses or remunerating it.
- Grant some privilege: That workers can choose their vacation days, that at specific times they can leave before work or come in later, allow family conciliation, etc., are aspects that favor a good work environment.
Now, if the conditions are negative, how can you ensure that the work is not torture?
- Avoid criticism: Venting is fine, but if you are always criticizing your boss or your partner, you fall into a spiral of negativity in which you experience everything badly. Remember that you have to be there for many hours, and if you do it just seeing the bad thing that happens, you will be worse.
- Value the positive: Surely not everything you have is negative. Learn to value everything that is good or pleasant, no matter how small it may seem. It’s about shifting the focus from bad to good.
- Focus on tasks: Living in the here and now, that is, if you are passing products through a cash register, instead of thinking about how little they pay you or that your wrist hurts, think about the products that you are passing, in do it well and fast and serve the customer well. Work will be more enjoyable than if you are only thinking about the hours until you go home.
- Try to create a good atmosphere: Talk to your colleagues about things you like, try to make rest a pleasant moment and at lunchtime try to socialize and not talk about work. Try that the conversations are about other aspects of your life that can bring you good times and if you work with someone, try to get along with that person or at least have a cordial treatment but do not compete against him/her.
- Try to improve yourself: Make work a goal and set goals. Congratulate yourself on the achievements made and value the work you do every day, not for the company but for you as a person and as a worker.
- Take advantage of free time: On rest days, rest, avoid thinking about work. Think about your weekend, enjoy it and take advantage of that time. Many people lose part of the weekend thinking that tomorrow is Monday and they will run into trouble again. Don’t fall for it.
Even if the work environment is not the most suitable, we can fight to make it better than what we have. It is everyone’s job, both bosses and employees.