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How to create a healthy and productive work environment
Reading time: 7 minutes
Updated 03 June 2024

How to create a healthy and productive work environment

Creating and fostering a healthy and productive work environment, especially today when the needs of workers have changed profoundly, is a decisive factor if you want to start a successful startup and make it work.

Despite this, the influence that the work environment has on employees’ well-being and, consequently, on their performance is still underestimated by many employers.

If you want to create a competitive advantage and stand out from the competition, don’t miss this guide: you will learn what is meant by a work environment, how it affects business productivity, and what are the best tips on the most effective strategies for building (and improving) a positive work environment.

 

What is meant by the working environment?

One of the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs, when it comes to the work environment, is to consider only the corporate headquarters where the business physically takes place as the work environment. Physical space, however, is only one of several elements that make up a work environment. Let’s find out what the others are.

 

Constituent elements of a work environment

The main building blocks of a work environment are 3:

  • physical environment, which precisely includes all the physical and tangible spaces in which the company’s activities are carried out;
  • social environment, of which all elements concerning interpersonal relationships among workers are part;
  • structural features, which include the size of the company, its formal structure, and the corporate culture on the basis of which it is run.

 

Constituent elements of a work environment

Constituent elements of a work environment

 

It should be pointed out that, in addition to these three macrocategories, other elements also contribute to defining a work environment: these include workers’ expectations of the company (and their resulting attitude in the workplace) and the productivity of the individual employee and the work team.

 

Benefits of a positive work environment

We have just talked about productivity and it is, therefore, now time to find out what, concretely, are the benefits that a positive work environment brings to your startup’s performance.

 

Benefits of a positive work environment

Benefits of a positive work environment

 

Impact on efficiency and productivity

It’s all about staff well-being, that is, the physical and emotional state that makes workers feel more energized and motivated to give their all to better withstand workplace pressures and challenges.

You will not be surprised to learn that when employees operate in a positive work environment, they feel more involved in company projects and more valued. This has a major impact on business performance, in terms of efficiency and productivity.

 

Reducing absenteeism and turnover

Increased efficiency is not, however, the only consequence of a positive work environment: in fact, important benefits are also found with regard to business organization and business stability, since having more motivated employees also means recording a reduction in workplace absenteeism and company turnover.

Promoting a positive business climate and paying special attention to employee serenity in the workplace increases employee retention, who will have no reason to look elsewhere for what they already have within the company.

 

Improvement of corporate reputation

Well-being, therefore, contributes greatly to a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace and, together with serenity in the workplace, is an indispensable element for any company that also wants to show itself positive in the eyes of consumers, partners and competitors. Promoting a positive business climate, in fact, also translates into a better corporate reputation and greater attractiveness, both in terms of talent on the labor market and customers.

 

Characteristics of a healthy work environment

In addition to the constituent elements of a positive work environment you also need to know the characteristics that allow you to call the work environment “positive” (or “healthy”), from workplace safety to communication.

 

Welcoming and functional physical spaces

Physical spaces should be welcoming and functional. Take care to make the furniture as comfortable as possible, so that employees are put in the best conditions to work. Comfort, however, is not the only aspect to consider: the workspace, in fact, in addition to being functional (and safe), must also stimulate creativity.

 

Effective and transparent communication

It is not only physical spaces, however, that make for a welcoming work environment: another crucial factor is communication, which must be transparent and effective, both among employees and between employees and managers.

Remember that communication must be bi-directional: in fact, it is also essential to be able to listen to the different points of view of workers and involve them, as much as possible, in decision-making processes, fostering teamwork.

 

Collaborative and inclusive corporate culture

The last aspect goes hand in hand with what has just been said: communication must also revolve around the concepts of diversity and inclusion in the company and help build a collaborative and inclusive corporate culture.

Employees need to feel part of something bigger and be aware of their role and their contribution to the achievement of the company’s goals: only then will they feel proud of what they do and be able to develop feelings of trust and loyalty to the company.

 

Strategies for building and improving a positive work environment

The highlight is here: you are about to learn about the best strategies for building a positive work environment. The main steps to take, again, are 3.

 

Incentivize employee welfare

As we have already pointed out, everything revolves around employee well-being, and it is therefore crucial to incentivize it by paying attention to various aspects. Remember that, as Emily Johnson says,

“employee health and well-being are investments, not costs. A positive work environment pays dividends in terms of productivity and business success.”

Fundamental, first and foremost, is to ensure the safety of every employee in the workplace. Work spaces must be large and well lit and ventilated, as well as, of course, clean.

The decor and colors should convey calm and relaxation. To increase each worker’s sense of well-being, you could give each of them the opportunity to personalize the workstation.

In addition to investing in your employees’ physical health, you need to think about their mental health: more and more companies these days have decided to implement psychological support programs and policies aimed at ensuring a proper work-life balance.

In a workplace, there must also be space for relaxation: if the environments allow, you could set up a relaxation area where employees can take a break and relax (and rejuvenate). Alternatively, you might consider offering, for example, an agreement with a gym. Pay attention to food as well: well-being, in fact, is also determined by what you eat, and, therefore, you should take care to offer healthy food to your employees within the workspace.

 

Fostering teamwork and participation

Teamwork and the participation of every worker in the company mission are other decisive elements of a positive work environment.

If employees do not communicate with each other and accumulate grudges and jealousies, the whole company will suffer. You must, therefore, promote collaboration within the team and healthy competitiveness aimed at the collective good. Very useful in this regard are team-building activities, which improve the corporate climate by strengthening team spirit.

It is also very important to hold employees accountable-perhaps you will be surprised to learn that by giving workers greater autonomy, you may experience an increase in productivity.

 

Provide opportunities for professional development

The last point ties in with what has just been said: in addition to empowering your employees and making them participants in the company’s decision-making processes, you should also offer them attractive opportunities for professional development. This way, in fact, you will ensure their trust and loyalty.

 

Implementation and management

In the preceding lines we have clarified how and where to intervene to create a positive work environment and provide maximum well-being for all workers. It should be clear to you, however, that the guidance you have obtained is, inevitably, general and generic in nature; to properly implement the above strategies, therefore, you need to make additional considerations.

 

Business-specific needs assessment

Every company has its own story, and startups, in particular, have very specific characteristics and needs. This means that probably not all of the guidance you have just provided can be effectively translated by you into concrete arrangements. What you need to do is to focus your attention on your startup and your team and understand what the specific needs of the group are.

 

Strategy planning and implementation

Accurately analyzing the specific needs of your startup and your team early on gives you the ability to plan early on the best strategies to implement to build (and then improve) a positive work environment. Of course, this will not make you immune from the need to intervene at a later date to possibly correct your course.

 

Continuous monitoring and adaptation

We have emphasized several times in this guide the importance of listening to your workers; this is very important because it allows you to demonstrate your attention to the contribution of each of them, but it is also important because it gives you the opportunity to pick up on any small alarm bells that might undermine the positivity of the work environment.

Listen and observe your work environment, then, and you will be able to take prompt action to restore your team’s mental and physical well-being without impacting your business. Not only that: monitor the results of your initiatives, and you will then have the opportunity to understand which arrangements are working and which are not, and to re-establish the right priorities based on the renewed needs of your startup.

Nicola Zanetti

Founder B-PlanNow® | Startup mentor | Startup consulting & marketing strategist | Leading startup to scaleup | Private angel investor | Ecommerce Manager | Professional trainer | Book writer

info@b-plannow.com

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