The workplace tends to become our second home. For some people in high-demand industries like financial services, the workplace becomes the primary home because we spend more time at our offices than at our home addresses.
The following guidelines are not to suggest that a workplace with all these characteristics will automatically become the perfect job. However, this list is to invite you to reflect on what happens at your location, how do you feel about your day-by-day, and evaluate what sort of changes could be recommended to improve your workplace. Let’s review a few characteristics that could make our workplace a place worthy of going to every day.
Work Recognition. – Most people work within a group setting, therefore, it is important to feel part of the team. When your contributions to the group are acknowledged, it generates a feeling of belonging and appreciation. In fact, this recognition motivates you to find ways to add value to the team. This healthy dynamic creates a great work environment and promotes collaboration.
Communication. – While working with people, each team contributor has its assigned tasks and responsibilities. From time to time, our work expectations change with business needs. It is important to understand that business expectations might need to be clarified or re-stated. As an employee, we should be ready to ask for assistance and guidance to understand how to do our jobs. As a supervisor, we should be open to questions from our employees and ensure they have the right information and directions to complete their tasks.
Competence. – A big part of a team’s success is linked to the level of competency of each team member. As supervisors, we should create the right environment to allow our team’s contributors to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful. Ensure to budget for annual training for your staff. It will be a great investment of financial resources. As a wise man said “A sign of a good leader is not how many followers you have, but how many leaders you create - Mahatma Gandhi”
Managing Meetings. – Ensure to avoid certain disruptive behaviors that could sabotage the whole purpose of the meeting. These behaviors include; confronting, dominating, shutting off, etc. Be positive and encourage all ideas related to the topic of conversation. Many great projects started off as a brainstorming idea. Show the benefits of participating in the meeting.
Consistent One-on-One Conversations. – Well-structured individual meetings, a.k.a. “One-on-One” can be an excellent method of communication to get to know your staff and supervisors. One-on-one meetings are key to reaching team members without the fear of being open in front of others. When managing one-on-one meetings, be consistent. Schedule recurrent meetings at a date/time convenient to you and the other party. Avoid meeting around key deadlines such as steering committee meetings, month-end reporting, upcoming exit interviews, or the last day before vacation. Make sure the meeting will flow based on the conversation. Employees truly value when supervisors show care for their personal well-being.
Constructive Annual Evaluations. – Make sure to turn annual performance evaluations into constructive conversations. This is the right opportunity to assess progress made towards defined goals. Goals must be set at the beginning of each year to ensure annual evaluations are based on predefined expectations. Annual assessments can be turned into an opportunity to review areas of improvement and create a targeted plan for addressing shortfalls. Let’s not forget one of the most important objectives of annual evaluations is to praise employees' accomplishments and recognize them for a job well done.
Respect the End of Workday. – In the interest of life-work balance, make sure to separate your workday from your personal time. At the end of your daily journey, disconnect from work, whether you are in the traditional office environment or working from home. There should be an end-of-day for every type of employment and when you have reached it, respect it. Do not delay it or change it for any unplanned changes.
Time Management. – One of the most common terms used at work today is probably one of the most challenging actions to execute, that is; Effective Time Management. Let’s be clear, despite the fact that you have too much work to do, too many job responsibilities, too many staff to manage, or reports to finish, these variable factors will not change the one single constant; time is a limited and fixed resource. Our daily job responsibilities should be set based on how much time we can spend at work on a daily basis, not around how much stuff I need to complete before my next deadline. Time Management should be the allocation of time to a series of tasks in order to complete an overall objective; a project, a report, a deadline, etc. Complications arise when we believe we can make our days longer than 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds.
Team Building Events. - Some people believe that Team building activities are most effective at a corporate level. This is far from the truth. Every team can benefit from building a strong relationship with their peers. It is important to know the strength and weaknesses of your co-workers. We should know when to rely on them and when to assist them. Team building events allow us to know our colleagues, let others know us, and build a stronger team. Being part of a strong team is a great reason to go to work.
Avoid Mental Fatigue. – When we reach a point of exhaustion, we should call it a day. It has been proven over and over that our productivity decreases after we reached our “boiling point”. Find out what is yours and don’t ignore it. Any time spent at work past that point becomes an expense for you and your organization.
Think Beyond Cash. – High financial compensations do not make loyal employees. Other factors like job security and job recognition have stronger ties to employees’ longevity. This is not to say that salaries are not important but rather to clarify priorities when developing long-term employees.
Building and maintaining a healthy workplace environment is not an easy task; however, it is possible and could be the key to a successful business.
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