4 Ways to Create a Happier Working Environment

Published In: Company News Created Date: 2016-03-05

by Tim Reese

There’s nothing worse than waking up every day and going to a job you hate. Well, being eaten alive by a cobra is probably worse… And the Spanish inquisition is definitely up there. Actually now that I think of it, turning to any page in a history book, I’m sure you have at least a 50% chance of finding something worse than hating your job. 

But even while there are certainly worse things, being a part of a negative working environment is definitively not good. According to a recent study, over 50% of employees claimed to not feel happy in their job, while 15.7% were said to be “Actively disengaged”. Regardless of who may be at fault in these cases, negativity in a company culture can be detrimental to any efforts of making said business successful.

At Accessory Power we’re actively trying to curb these attitudes. Obviously there’s no one right way to go about creating positive working environments, but we hope to share some our personal good examples. Hopefully some of our methods will be helpful to you whether you are a manager trying to create a better company culture, or an employee trying to brighten someone’s day.

1. Create Systems of Encouragement

If you’re putting your heart and soul into a project, it’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work. It’s amazing how much more a person will enjoy their job by hearing a simple “Hey- that looks awesome!” Good managers will point out when an employee has done something that’s special or otherwise worthy of praise, but it’s easy to forget to recognize an employee’s efforts once the day-to-day workweek sets in. 

AP has a system in place that lets employees nominate co-workers for their out of the box accomplishments in a mini-award-ceremony called “Power Player” awards. A small, unassuming box sits in the main kitchen of one of our offices with a stack of cards to one side. Employees are encouraged to write down a co-worker’s noteworthy accomplishment on one of these “Power Player Cards” and put it in the box. At the end of the month, the receiving employee will be surprised with a gift card, and a bunch of kudos around the office. It’s a little thing, sure, but it is a system that helps foster an encouraging environment. (Plus $50 off at Cheesecake factory is always a plus)  

2. Make Time to Relax

People who work for too long at a time tend to become more stressed and less energized (and by extension, less productive) as time goes on. It’s important to not only give regular breaks to your employees, but to encourage them to relax and unwind when they need to. That’s why AP makes regular yoga classes available to staff, as well as bringing in a massage team to the office as a special occasion. Not only does this energize our employees once they return to work, they come back much happier and provide higher quality work because of this. 

3. Ward off Hangry-ness

We’ve all been there. It’s still an hour to lunch and your stomach growls so loudly it may as well be an alarm button that you can’t hit snooze on; and for the next hour, you start becoming more and more irritated. This phenomena is the product of a special emotion called ‘Hangry’ which if you are not familiar, is a combination of ‘Hungry’ and ‘Angry’ that is far more powerful than both of the emotions combined, and the only cure is ‘snacks’. 

So to ward off the hangry-ness, AP provides a bunch of ways to get dire snackage. It helps that we are within walking distance of a local café (I’m a regular there, which is something I thought only happened in 90’s sitcoms, but is apparently a thing.) Some days the CEO of AP stops by each office and, with his adorable grandpa-esque demeanor, personally drops off gummy-snacks to everyone in the building. The company also provides muffins on Mondays (because upper management loves alliteration) and regular group restaurant trips, newly called “Munchie Madness” (because upper management REALLY loves alliteration). That being said, an acute acknowledgment about alliteration absolutely adds an additional atmosphere. (dangit now I’m doing it.) 

4. Be an Active Listener.

So maybe you’re a smaller company and can’t afford luxuries like massage days or buckets of gummy-snacks. The main thing that anyone involved in creating a happier company atmosphere can do is completely free of charge- and that is to listen. This seems obvious, sure, but it is more important than any of the above tips combined. Learning how to properly listen and trust your team will improve your work culture in a number of ways. This can be either used to increase workplace communication (a disconnect in this is one of the highest causes of employee frustration), learning to trust your teammates and/or employees, or even just listening to a coworker talk about their day. Once someone feels like they are being heard, they will be happier to contribute positively toward the common goal you all have: making your company an awesome place to work.