Creating a safer workplace

Everyone wants the right to a safe, productive workspace. Anyone who has the privilege of working on a safe environment can take for granted this fact. But with so many potential factors capable of compromising a good day’s work – internal stressors and emotions, a hostile workplace environment, even in-office politics – it’s important that coworkers work together to foster an environment that everyone is comfortable enjoying during the normal workday.

To anyone currently affected by the negative effects of a hostile or unsafe workplace, this type of “ideal” in-office environment can feel a long way off. However, the quality of your office workspace isn’t something you should be willing to compromise on. That’s why we’ve outlined six objectives, six simple tips, to help you take the first steps toward creating a workspace you’re proud to enjoy.

Before we get to those objectives, one important note: our definition of an ideal office workspace might differ from your own. We’ve outlined objectives that we believe will help you take the first steps toward a happy, healthy shared office environment. If your workplace differs from our description, whether because of office layout, space or the nature of your profession, simply adopt the tips we’re suggesting and apply them to your setting.

Offer your team opportunities to appreciate each other’s work.

No matter your line of work, team appreciation is always a good thing. If you’re the employer, take some time during the course of the week or the month to appreciate exemplary work from one or more employees. If you can celebrate personal wins as a team, you’ve created a safe environment where everyone wins.

If you’re an employee, consider this your invitation to celebrate the work of a co-worker without them expecting it. Whether you drop a note at their desk, offer a quick congratulations as you walk past their workspace or cover a congratulatory lunch, a little attention goes a long way when it comes to fostering a well-oiled workplace everyone can enjoy.

One thing to note here – the last thing you want to do when you’re celebrating the work of one employee is to belittle another. Let’s make sure that we’re celebrating personal or team wins that represent collective accomplishment, not the achievements of one employee over another.

Time away from the office improves time in the office.

Employees undoubtedly bond when they work next to each other. Oftentimes, that means employees are sharing projects and workplaces alike. For a truly well-rounded workplace, those same co-workers need time away from an office environment, or at least away from in-office conversation. It’s never a bad idea to give your employees, or your co-workers, a chance to enjoy some fresh air and some fresh conversation.

This one is more important than many give it credit for. Even if you’re abiding by 100% of the in-office safety regulations, your office becomes increasingly one-dimensional without even a little time away from the regular office environment, and the regular 9 to 5 routine.

Adopt personal reflection practices on a group scale.

At the end of every workday (or any day for that matter), it’s never a bad idea to take a moment and reflect. Even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes, take some time to reflect on what you accomplished – both at and away from your desk.

If you’re an employer, consider asking your employees to pause their work 15 minutes early once a week. Run through a few reflection questions, either independently or collectively. Consider some of the following questions:

  • Of everything I accomplished today, what am I most proud of?
  • How can I be happier at work?
  • Did I accomplish everything I set out to accomplish today? Why or why not?
  • What have I been looking forward to today?
  • How can I make tomorrow a more productive day?

Combining work questions and personal questions make for a well-rounded reflection that makes the office more than just a place of business.

Training breeds productivity.

A well-trained employee is a productive employee. In fact, even minimal training when an employee begins work can have amazing results on employee performance over time. However, whether you’re working in the fast food industry or a bank, a surprisingly large number of employees say they don’t receive the immediate training that they need in order to perform their job to expectation. Employee training is the first step toward a happy employee and high employee retention rates, yet so often it’s a step that’s either skipped or rushed through.

Employee training doesn’t need to be an intensive, months-long process. Rather, there are simple steps you can take to make sure that employees receive the training that they need in order to succeed long-term. Consider brief video tutorials for new employees and a standard employee onboarding process to provide employees all of the new hire training they need. Training breeds experience and a culture of productivity.

Let’s not forget basic workplace safety.

There’s so much you can do to foster a happy workplace, but let’s not forget safety. Whether you work in a construction zone or a 30th-floor office, safety is paramount. Safety begins as a personal responsibility. Beyond obeying basic regulations and safety signs, here are a few basic workplace safety tips to keep in mind, whether you’re an employee or employer:

  1. Report unsafe conditions you find to superiors or building owners.
  2. Keep emergency exits clear, and make sure there are multiple routes to each exit.
  3. Since tired employees are increasingly at risk for accidents, take regular breaks on the job.

Workplace safety begins when employees invest. Once employees buy into workplace safety, you’ve turned a corner toward a happier, more productive environment. A successful workplace, a safe workplace, is one that makes safe behavior an equal priority alongside productivity.

A happy, healthy workplace starts with happy, healthy employees.

Every successful workplace has successful employees behind it. And those employees aren’t machines; they’re humans, with real hopes and goals and struggles. One of the best ways to promote long-term productivity and increase employee retention starts when you help those same employees address personal or emotional concerns.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) like Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP offer cornerstone services for every single employee, no matter their needs. From substance abuse assistance to grief counseling, we’re committed to helping your employees foster and maintain a safer workspace.

If employees feel safe, everything else can fall into place. But if employees feel as though they’re entering a hostile work environment at the beginning of every workday, don’t be surprised if you’re constantly staring at compromised sales figures and mixed results from employees with more on their minds than their daily tasks. Fostering a safe workspace, whether through celebrating daily and weekly achievements, or through full-scale employee assistance programs meant to help employees focus on their individual concerns, helps you create a workplace that employees and employers alike are proud to maintain.

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