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Simple Ways to Increase Positivity and Eliminate Toxicity in the Workplace

Simple Ways to Increase Positivity and Eliminate Toxicity in the Workplace

Negativity is contagious and can be hugely damaging to an office environment. Negativity breeds employees who are unhappy in their jobs, and this unhappiness leads to reduced productivity. When things get really bad mistakes are made – mistakes that can cost your business dearly.

When you think about the aspects that make up a ‘good place to work’, you’ll likely think of brand value and employee compensation. While these are important, it’s actually an organisation’s culture that retains and binds hard workers. A good work culture brings out the best in people, even in adverse circumstances. Negativity on the other hand, kills creativity and removes any affection or ownership one has with their workplace.

A quick way to look at the situation is that people spend one-third of their lives in their workplace. If this workplace environment is enjoyable, naturally your employees will will be happier and more content with this ratio. If your employees are dragging their feet on a Monday morning, it’s time to look at the psychology of your workforce.

Positive psychology

Business leaders can do a lot to improve the psyche of their employees. Generally these are small actions, which add up to a significantly more positive psychology. Actions can include:

Sending positive emails

All employees, no matter what they might say, crave recognition and praise. When they receive this they feel important and valued, which in turn leads to greater business connection. An email recognising one’s contribution to a project, a manager that starts a meeting by saying thanks, an organisation that rewards outstanding contributors, all move toward a more positive working tone. As many experts will tell you, feeling appreciated is usually the first step to being truly satisfied with your job.

Encouraging wellness

Companies can really benefit from a workforce of wellness, with employee health having a big impact on overall performance. When an employee is overweight and not in good health, they are more likely to take sick days than their healthier co-workers.

To encourage wellness, company managers can offer discounted gym memberships, introduce low-impact yoga or encourage mindfulness through meditation. Another idea is to place bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables around the office for people to help themselves. The cost of such things is minimal and will likely be offset by the increased productivity.

Hiring the right people

When your company relies on efficient teamwork, skill gaps can cause a lot of disruption. It’s therefore important that you evaluate each team member individually to ensure the role is properly suited. Really get to know a person before jumping into hiring them, and if alarm bells ring early, address the problem immediately. Try to think of team members’ abilities as unique cogs in your team machine. Position the cogs correctly and your machine will run smoothly.

Highlighting the company vision

A workforce that’s on the same page will work much more cohesively, so put your company vision at the centre of everything you do. Paint the big picture to your entire workforce and open up the floor for discussion. Once you’ve nutted out the finer details, spread the message to all, have it painted onto your office walls, set it as a computer screen backdrop – whatever it takes to ensure everyone knows why they are there.

Getting together outside of the office

A lunch outing or an afternoon happy hour is a great way to get people talking about work in a more casual setting. Casual conversations and a changed perspective are the times when creativity flows, so while you might think shutting down work for a couple of hours is costly, the benefits of creative chat can be huge. It’s unfair to encroach on an employee’s free time, so these casual chats should be held during office hours.

Applauding results in detail

Setting clear, measurable, and achievable goals provides a boost of motivation once each goal is conquered. You can inflate this effect by celebrating each achievement in as much detail as you can. When applauding results, don’t stop at saying “Good job Lisa on the Needs Assessment!” Instead, offer up information on what the completed goal has meant for the company by saying, “Good job Lisa on the Needs Assessment. Because of your hard work, we were able to determine the greatest needs of our clients. This enables us to better cater our services to current issues, and it’s helped us to strengthen existing and non-existing relationships.”

Making the office more green

Studies show that putting plants in the office makes workers more productive, as much as 15 percent more in fact. Staff concentration and satisfaction increases with improved air quality, thought to be because foliage absorbs pollutants, dust and bugs from the air. Data suggests that a green working environment is consistently more enjoyable for employees.

Hanging art

Art affects every person that sees it differently, but all art has the potential to increase positivity, efficiency and creativity. Art inspires and unlocks creative potential. It helps connect employees and clients. It affects the atmosphere of a room and can alter perceptions. Art can be used to send feelings of calm, promote satisfaction, and evoke a feeling of nostalgia that emphasises the longevity of a company. It brings life to a space and makes going to work all the more interesting.

Quash negative attitudes

No matter how hard you try, there will always be one person who prefers to speak of the negatives rather than the positives. This ‘workplace whiner’ needs to be managed before they turn the office environment into a toxic one. The problem is, telling someone they complain too much is never going to go down well.

There are ways to subtly notify an employee of their negative attitude, such as sending an internal email about workplace whiners while asking “Is this you?” Hopefully the reader will get the message without feeling like they are being singularly targeted.

If this doesn’t work, take the workplace whiner to lunch and calmly explain the impact they are having on the office environment. Show them empathy and try for a little humor too if you can. Be truthful about the mood they create and try to find ways to resolve any issues. It’s important that you consider that their complaints are real and take them seriously.

If the workplace whiner makes no effort to change their attitude, consider giving them a poor performance review with a time frame for changing attitude. This way you’ll have legitimate reason for terminating their contract if you feel it necessary. No one should be subjected to a miserable working environment, and not only could removing them help them to find a more rewarding career, you’ll be a hero to your other employees.

Promoting a healthy mental environment at work

It’s important to remember that in any business setting, employees are the most important asset. Companies can, therefore, gain a competitive advantage by creating a positive working environment. Positive employees make better decisions, and are more resilient, creative and better at communicating. The mor positive a company is, the more successful it will be.


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