According to a 2019 survey by CNBC, approximately 85% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. But what exactly gives a person satisfaction at work? And what can make a person not only satisfied with work but looking forward to work each day? While there is no magic formula for making employees enjoy work, there are a few things that increase happiness in the workplace. People tend to stay at jobs where they feel comfortable, and you can consider these seven tips for making employees feel more at ease at work.
1. Make it Feel More Like Home
Your office does not have to look like the main goal is strictly business. Employees likely spend more time at work than they do at home, so you should make the office feel as comfortable as possible within reason. For example, offer a break room with a few extra amenities. Make the lunch area feel more like an actual kitchen by making a few simple upgrades like adding glass pantry doors. This is a great option for adding a touch of familiarity in the office, with the option of engraving your company’s logo or name into the glass. When you make the environment more homey, workers will not have to dread coming to a cold, sterile environment.
2. Encourage Open Communication
Employees get easily frustrated when they feel that their concerns and opinions do not matter. Create a safe space where employees can voice things that they think could be improved in the workplace. Also, if an employee comes to a manager in confidence about an issue, make sure that the conversation remains private. There is no need to pit employees against each other by announcing when one employee has an issue with another. Instead, try to resolve conflicts without insinuating that anyone reported an issue.
3. Allow Casual Dress on Certain Days
One of the main advantages of working from home is that one can dress casually. While office dress is likely expected at your place of business, you can offer casual days every once in a while as something to look forward to. Consider letting your employees wear khakis and a polo at the end of the week instead of a suit every single day. Little gestures like this can boost morale more than you know.
4. Host Team-Building Activities
During work hours, coworkers likely do not have much time to conversate and find out a lot about each other. Hosting team-building exercises on a regular basis can be a good way to let everyone get to know each other better with no pressures from work in the way. Try to think of fun group activities that promote bonding. This includes bowling, pottery painting or even an escape room. Employees may find out that they have more in common with each other than they thought, and this can translate to better teamwork in the office.
5. Reward Good Work
If you want someone to feel comfortable with his or her job, make sure that you do not leave them guessing about work performance. When you see someone doing a good job, tell him or her that you appreciate his or her dedication and attention to detail. Offer incentives throughout the year to employees who demonstrate a strong work ethic. When workers feel appreciated, they are more likely to feel satisfied at work. A simple “Good job” can go a long way in making workers feel comfortable at their job.
If you are willing to take it a step further, offer incentives for hard work. A simple way to do this is choosing an employee of the month and letting them pick out a gift card to their favorite restaurant. This will show your employees that their work doesn’t go unnoticed and will motivate them to keep putting their best effort into what they do.
6. Offer Some Privacy
While there is certainly a time and place for team bonding activities, there is also a need for privacy at times. Employees will likely not feel comfortable at work if they feel that a manager is constantly looking over their shoulders. While monitoring of job performance is definitely necessary, employees need to feel that they are trusted. Giving employees private cubicles to get work done can make them more efficient because they will feel less pressure to impress the people watching them.
Although it is a helpful suggestion, employees don’t need their own cubicles to be productive. If that isn’t your style for running a company, use your own office as a place to monitor your employees from a distance. You can do this while your team works and operates in an open office layout. You should check up on things a few times throughout the day, but it is best to show your employees that you trust them by letting them do their work on their own.
7. Allow Anonymous Suggestions for Improvement
Some employees may never be confrontation people. However, these employees may still have great ideas about how the company can be improved. Instead of putting employees on the spot and making them feel that they have to attach their name to any suggestions, consider allowing anonymous ones. For example, you can offer an end-of-the-year survey annually. In this questionnaire, you can ask workers to report things they do and do not like about their jobs. When you do not make someone put their name on this type of survey, you will likely get a more honest and open report. This also helps to take pressure off of your employees because they won’t feel nervous or at risk of losing their job by anonymously stating how they feel.
8. Gain a Relationship
There tends to be a stigma when it comes to power status within the workplace. Often, employees don’t have a great relationship with their boss. Sometimes when someone above you holds higher power, it can be easy to avoid them out of fear. Talking with a boss can be uncomfortable and forced if there isn’t a positive relationship established first. It is possible and helpful to have friendly work relationships with employees and still establish your place of power.
A simple way to build a foundation of a great boss to employee relationship is to have positive conversations with them. Help them feel comfortable with you by discussing topics that don’t revolve around work. When you ask your employees how their weekend was, if they’ve seen the latest movie, or compliment their new hair cut, it takes the stress away when you approach them. If your employees feel like you appreciate them and enjoy having them around, they will be more willing to have open conversations about work situations too. It’s important to help your employees feel comfortable with you so they can speak how they’re actually feeling when you ask them about work topics.
Most employees want their workers to be as happy as possible with their jobs. In many cases, coworkers become like a family to each other. Promoting an environment of honesty and open communication is essential in making employees feel comfortable in their positions. Do not be afraid to ask them what could change to make their workplace a little bit better.