As we spend a lot of time with our colleagues at work during the week, for the sake of our wellbeing and the productive aspect of the company, it’s best to work in an agreeable and pleasant environment. However, it is not an easy thing to achieve and it takes some time and effort. As the workplace includes many different people with diverse, even clashing personalities, people with a distinct social background who believe in various life philosophies it is only natural that some issues arise every once in a while. The key is in setting out rules for everyone to follow, respecting them, teambuilding and resolving any potential issues as soon as they happen. In order to assure a healthy and respectful working environment that will also be productive, there are some ways to create harmony in the office.
1. What is the cause of disharmony in the office?
There are many possible sources of disharmony in the office and all kinds of things can cause it. For example, some changes in the company structure and organization, changes in management, procedures, duties or position descriptions, redundancies and staff changes are often a cause of an unpleasant and awkward work environment. Other sources if this negative office vibe include lack of communication both among the employees and among the management and employees. When there is a misunderstanding about the company’s goals and the team’s focus, frictions might arise due to these core disagreements. Mistrust and suspicion among the staff can also inflict a bad working atmosphere. Insufficient leadership, as well as micromanagement, can also be the causes of the office disharmony. Luckily, these are all issues that can be easily monitored and prevented with a few simple steps.
2. Don’t neglect the power of communication
When talking about creating a harmonious working environment, the first thing we need to put emphasis on is communication. Communication is very important and it is the first step to a harmonious working place. It is a powerful tool in establishing some rules, setting out goals, making clear the means of achieving that goal and resolving any potential issues. Good communication stems from the top positions.
3. Express your gratitude
Two powerful words that we tend to forget: thank you. These two little words can help a lot in creating a harmonious and happy working environment. People work hard to achieve certain goals and they are proud of their achievements, whether big or small. However, they can feel overlooked, neglected and insignificant if there’s nobody to recognize that success and say ‘Thank you, you’ve done an amazing job for this company’. This simple thing makes the person feel valued. It’s important to say thank you for even the smallest things such as opening the door for each other, getting a coffee and inviting someone to lunch. Showing genuine gratitude at all positions is key for achieving a thriving working atmosphere.
4. Pay attention to details
When employees are happy and satisfied with their job, you can be sure that they will go out of their way to add a little extra to their commitment. That means staying a little longer in the office to help out with an unfinished assignment or taking up an extra project. A happy employee won’t find it hard to clean up the kitchen or correct some errors in the company’s documents they’ve noticed. They’ll genuinely care about making the company even better for themselves and for everyone else. It’s highly important to notice these things and say thank you whenever they happen as employees will appreciate the fact that someone saw and recognized the value of what they did. This will act as a motivation for the employees to keep up with the good work as well as improving the company and the business itself.
5. Promote a no-gossip policy
Gossiping and bad-mouthing in the office, outside the office or during the company’s socializing events is not advisable as it fosters distrust and eventually causes disharmony and suspicion in the office. When there’s too much gossip going on, people feel resentment and chasms open. It is very difficult to work and thrive in such an environment. And not to mention that it’s bad for the business as well. That’s why it’s essential to set a no-gossip policy and to enforce it. It would be a good idea to extend the policy to happy hours and the company’s outings, as the relaxed atmosphere in combination with alcohol can loosen inhibitions in people.
6. Be available
Creating an open-door policy where employees can come to you anytime is the one that really fosters good communication. This will encourage suggestions, complains and discussions without any judgment. In that way, you can be ahead of any potential problem and solve it even before it escalates. Due to the diversity of people and their social backgrounds, they all have a different way of looking at things and perceiving them. By listening to them, you can understand better their point of view.
7. Organize regular meetings
Organizing regular meetings only strengthens the communication lines among your employees. Meetings are a perfect way for employees to take ownership of the company and suggest some ideas for promoting the business by using their own creativity and talent. When they understand that their opinion does hold value, they are more likely to say what they think (which can often be a revelation and really help businesses thrive) and use that to build the business as a whole. So, instead of giving orders, listen to what the employees have to say and give them the opportunity to look for ways to improve together as a team. It can do wonders for the business.
8. Offer your help
It’s important for the employees to realize that the management is there to help. Whenever your employees are facing a deadline or have too much on their hands, jump in and help them out. They will surely appreciate it. If you don’t pitch in and instead go home and relax while they continue working, they’ll ask themselves ‘If he’s/she’s not bothering, why should we?’ By helping your co-workers as well as employees over a hump it will only bring advantages and benefits for the company as well as the business itself. The sense of unity, mutual respect and the will to help is key here. People working as one bring the best results and profit for the company in the long run.
9. Socialize outside work
Many companies nowadays place a focus on socializing outside the company. It includes all kinds of outings as well as events and happy hours. Some companies opt for a monthly picnic, others for a yearly barbecue party while some prefer to enjoy a friendly sports game. This relaxed atmosphere will deepen the bond and strengthen the connections among the employees. This is a time when people get to know people they work with on a casual gathering, in editions that differ from the ones at work. It is a chance to really get to know the people and their preferences as well as characters.
10. Don’t forget the motivation
People work best and give their best only when they are motivated. That’s why it’s essential to motivate the employees and well as co-workers in different ways. Motivation includes competitive salary, the possibility of achieving bonuses, opportunities for traveling and improvements and so on. Motivation is number one when it comes to an incentive to start something or keep up with doing good work. It can do wonders, and that’s why we shouldn’t neglect it.
11. Encourage fun and celebrate both big and small things
Working place is usually a serious, strictly business environment. However, there’s always a place for a little fun. Encourage fun at the office by organizing some specially themed days every week or month. People love that! It works well on increasing the team’s morale and it makes the office extra fun. Sometimes, we need to feel that fun is also a part of our job. It helps us survive through some difficult days.
Another thing that employees appreciate is celebrating. Always celebrating something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small thing or a big win, a celebration is a key to emphasizing the importance of the win. Mention and discuss the successes at the meetings and make sure to give credits and praise to your employees. Reward them in some way so that they’ll know their contribution is valued. You can celebrate all kinds of things such as closing a big contract, finishing an important project, and employees’ birthday, the birth of a child, buying a new house, etc. The reasons for celebration always exist. Make sure to get a card and have everyone sign it. Organize surprise birthday parties and retirement parties, it really affects people in a positive way.
12. Mind the office space
When it comes to office space, there are some considerations to be taken into account. The working environment should be constructive and it should foster the growth of teamwork. That means that the office needs to be properly equipped and furnished. Appropriate desks and comfortable chairs arranged in a suitable way, relaxing areas such as sofas and coffee tables and well as some plants here and there are all some basics. Employees should have everything they need for their work available at their disposal. Things such as project rooms and conference rooms equipped with the latest remote conferencing tools as well as areas of benching where people can do some work but also confer with each other are usually a necessity in most, big companies. But besides the basics, you should also do something in order to foster conversation. That’s why many companies opt for installing a workplace coffee machine which enhances productivity, improves the mood and makes a perfect spot for people to hang out and get to know each other during their break. Having a lounge or a small kitchen area where people can eat their lunch is also important. In any case, the workplace has to be a reflection of people’s needs and it is an important part of creating harmony in the office.
13. Recognize teambuilding as an essential tool
Teambuilding has become a hot topic recently. People have started to see the many benefits of teambuilding exercises and a lot of companies put the focus on these activities in order to make their team members familiar with each other and to strengthen those bonds for the aim of better productivity and business results. Teambuilding tasks range from short ones, that last up to 10 minutes to the ones lasting up a whole weekend. You can make a short teambuilding exercise a part of your regular meetings and you can organize some trips for your team. Before deciding on the teambuilding activity, you need to make sure what specific challenges is your team facing and what specifically you need to work on. They can vary from wanting your team to get more familiar with each other to wanting to resolve some issues or conflict and so on. If you do the teambuilding exercises more often, the results are better and long-lasting, the same as doing physical exercises. If you think about it, you can’t climb Everest if you train twice a year. No. A similar approach goes for teamwork. If you want to achieve certain goals (and we all do), you need to find a way to incorporate these exercises that will help you achieve that goal into your weekly or monthly schedule. Nothing worthy and long-lasting comes quickly and without any effort, especially when it comes to managing and organizing a large group of people who all have one mutual aim to achieve.
Creating harmony in the office is a multifaceted activity that needs careful consideration, insightfulness, cautious managing, mindfulness and the ability to recognize when is the perfect time for a certain event or procedure. It starts with good communication and moves to celebrating victories, organizing the workspace properly and using the advantages of teambuilding.
About the Author
Neil White is an automotive&travel journalist from Sydney. Neil was into cars since he can remember, and road trips are his greatest childhood memory. Combining journalism and traveling is something that he was dreaming about, so now he is considering himself a really happy person.