Are you and your staff happy with the atmosphere at work? A recent study from the Journal of Economic Research found that job satisfaction is linked to the financial performance of an organization. How content are you with your community, health, and home life? Similar research has also found that workers’ productivity and performance improve when they are happy at work and at home. A recent Gallup-Healthways poll found that unhappy workers in America cost their companies $300 billion per year in lost productivity. Not only does unhappiness affect work productivity, but a 2011 Harvard Business Review article found that it also impacts workers’ creativity, commitment, and collegiality. In addition to satisfaction in the workplace, research from the American Psychological Association shows that people want supportive personal relationships, healthy bodies and minds, a spiritual core and purpose for their lives.
When we are successful at achieving a healthy work-life balance and nurture our relationships, the research suggests that we’re happier and more productive. Unfortunately, people and businesses don’t always foster and encourage this mindset and attitude. Many employers create environments that feed competitiveness and criticalness based on fear or guilt. They lose the team approach and instead create an “eat what you kill” mentality. The morale, attitude, and mood of the company’s people turn negative, and productivity and performance suffers. Not to mention that the turnover rate and absenteeism increase dramatically with this type of environment. So what can we do to create a positive work environment?
As I mentioned above, people value relationships, even at work, and appreciate when they are treated with respect and valued as a person. Spending time nurturing relationships and asking about the well-being of colleagues and employees rather than only focusing on work tasks is important and will yield positive results. We spend so much time at work, if we enjoy the people and the environment we’re more inclined to do a better job. Happy workers don’t mind putting in the extra effort and going the extra mile on occasion. We should reward our staff, appreciate their efforts, and acknowledge the value they bring to the company. The bottom line is that relationships matter even in the workplace. Make an effort to listen, affirm, value, and praise your staff and you’ll see the benefits.