Productivity and positivity can make or break a company, especially one in its beginning stages. Because of this, there is an initial impulse to push, push, push; but this can lead to detrimental effects, and negate the desired effects, by leading to health issues involving stress and anxiety.
Health Factors & Positivity
Money and work consistently rank as the number one and two causes for stress. While these two are interrelated with one typically causing the other, workplace stress can lead to substandard productivity in a variety of ways. One of the foremost being the number of days missed due to mental health issues.
A recent report from the American Psychological Association showed that nearly half of people surveyed felt depressed due to the amount of stress in their lives. Along with this, a WHO questionnaire found that on average employees miss 27 days of work each year due to depression. Eighteen of those days reflected a loss of productivity. Clearly, stress only negates productivity, how can employers develop an atmosphere that reduces stress and leads to productivity?
Research has continued to show that the leading cause to productivity is a positive work environment. Developing an environment of positivity where employees feel relaxed and comfortable is key. Here are a few suggestions on how to develop positivity in your company:
The old adage, “Praise in public, correct in private,” remains as it true as ever. We, as people, thrive on recognition. Recognizing employees for their efforts and abilities can give them confidence like little else can.
Leaders of the company often give out this credit, and it often means the most when it comes from the person paying you. Leaders can begin by being mindful of the work their employees do. Being aware leads to an important approach of giving praise: giving it in the moment.
Immediate praise, or praise throughout a project, builds assuredness in employees, and enables them to continue a project with an amount of risk and courage that might not be seen if they don’t know if it’s any good. Remember, specific praise and encouragement in the moment can bring immense amount of positivity.
Doug Webster, The Dealio’s Co-Founder and Lead Developer, is adamant about praising employees for not only work well-done, but any work done.
“You have to be sensitive to the energy required to make something,” said Webster. “Putting what you make out there is hard and can be scary, so it’s important to foster a drive to create, even if the work is not yet perfect. I tend to go over the top with it, but I like it when there’s a culture of acknowledging and showing genuine appreciation for another’s efforts.”
While leaders should seek opportunities to praise, it shouldn’t only come from them. Approval from peers can be just as valuable. In this case, as in most cases, the Golden Rule applies. Think about how you can share genuine compliments with your peers, and the kind of praise you would like to receive, then seek opportunities to give that praise.
In line with value of giving and receiving praise from fellow employees, a study from the Association of Accounting Technicians found that many people often value work-relationships or a positive work environment over salary. Out of 2,000 people polled, eight in ten said they would turn down a pay increase if it came with an unsuitable change in environment or work relationships.
When asked about the survey, Olivia Hill, Head of HR at AAT, said, “I’m not surprised at all by the results of this study. It just goes to show that there is more to work than just money as the common perception can be. People don’t want stress in their lives. A great way to stay stress free is to work in an environment you find comfortable.”
Matthew Urick, a General Manager at The Dealio, spoke about the importance of celebrating each person’s uniqueness. He also touched on the importance of finding something that everyone enjoys. In the Idaho Falls office, that’s a daily workout they do together.
“It’s a commonality we all share,” Urick says. “We’re different people, but we have this unifying thing that brings us all together. It’s something that we all look forward to each day.”
It doesn’t have to be working out. It can be anything that brings the group together. The key is to learning enough about your fellow employees to know what they would enjoy. This learning process can be just as valuable.
“It comes down to being invested in them,” Urick says. “I care about what goes on in their personal as well as professional lives. It makes me work harder for everyone around me.”