A Better Work Environment

We work a good chunk of our lives. Eight—or likely more—hours of our day are committed to working. It’s a necessity—perhaps an evil necessity—that we have to work in order to make a living. And as employees or managers, no matter which department, I think everyone wants a better work environment. Unless you’re one of the lucky employees at Pixar or a Pixar-type company, most places of business lack the creativity and the energy to make an employee excited to go to work. If you are in a job that is miserable, non-fulfilling and gives you that "hate walking through that door every Monday" feeling, chances are the workplace is not where you want to be.

However, some people are actually passionate about what they do—even without the Pixar environment. As an IT manager, I certainly am. Perhaps I'm lucky. But the reason I love coming to work is because I try to find things in my job that allow me to solve problems and put good processes in place. I also try to get my team involved and get them to help solve problems. This could be a way that you, as human resources or a manager, can boost productivity.

Task forces, which should include both workers and managers, also can be used to increase morale. Everyone’s input should hold equal weight; and the solution that is decided upon should actually be implemented. If this happens, the team will feel the significance of solving either a projected problem or one that has been around for a long time.

Another way to boost productivity and morale is by making your work environment friendlier. Look, I know some people believe employees should "appreciate" the fact that they have a job in the first place, but why would you want to take that stance? People work better and harder when given latitude; it’s worth it to throw in few extra dollars to have a get-together, company picnic or something outside of the norm. Daily, let people run errands and give them some flex time. I had a boss who was extremely flexible with my time, and let me tell you, to this day I would do anything for the guy. Why? Because so many times when I had to pick up my daughter, take her to the doctor or deal with some school issue, my boss not only let me go, he made me.

It’s hard work to give to your employees in non-traditional ways, but think of the feelings you get from doing something nice. Inevitably, you’re going to get complainers, but they are people you'd probably want to take a serious look at anyway. If they’re complaining about company benefits, they're not be the productive employees you think they are in the first place.

Get people to enjoy coming to work and I'd bet my company’s fortunes and pay checks that there will be a return on that investment. Take the time to map out fun and exciting things, be flexible. Make work somewhere employees want to be, not somewhere they have to be.

First published on Human Resources IQ.