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Improving workplace culture for your employees

Many people experience difficult days at work. And although stress isn’t uncommon in the workplace, it doesn’t help to foster a healthy work environment.

Our own research revealed that 32% of employees attribute mental health deterioration to poor workplace culture, and 36% even cited workplace bullying as being a cause, Whether it’s a manager who’s adding pressure, a difficult relationship with a colleague or a tricky project to work with, these type of consistent ups and downs in the workplace can contribute to a toxic workplace culture.

A toxic workplace will often be characterised with low work-life balance, negative atmosphere, high employee turnover, which can all lead to an unhealthy and unhappy team.

Creating a culture of openness and trust at work can help nurture and support employees to be able to do their jobs efficiently, and be happy in their role. Here are a few ways you can support a healthy workplace environment.

How to create a healthy workplace culture

1. Encourage expression - and genuinely listen!

Encourage honesty and transparency amongst your team, and between employees and managers. You can establish this through a clear open door policy and by giving employees’ concerns, ideas and thoughts genuine weight. Of course not every comment can be acted on, but genuinely listening to give a measured response, can help employees feel heard and demonstrates that their opinion matters. Plus, these conversations could help you understand your employees’ genuine needs that can shape the way you offer support.

2. Foster an attitude of gratitude

When an employee achieves something – shout about it! Whether that’s in the workplace like handling a new project amazingly, or in their personal life, like running a 5k, recognising achievements can help improve employee happiness.

And while focusing on areas of improvement is incredibly important for businesses, it’s imperative this doesn’t come at the expense of celebrating successes. Whether you take a more structured approach and create an ‘employee of the month’ award or simply express genuine thanks for their efforts in person, a dose of gratitude goes a long way towards employees feeling happy and secure at work.

3. Building relationships

Scheduling formal or informal downtime means employees aren’t always talking shop. Whether that’s just taking a break from screens to have lunch together as a team, or organising healthy fun at work socials, it can help foster positive employee relationships and inspire better collaboration. Here are six ideas for more inclusive work socials you could introduce for your workforce.

And it’s just as important, if not more, to build those emotional connections for remote or hybrid workers, through virtual quizzes or team days out. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of face-to-face interaction, which can lead to feelings of isolation, disconnection and eventually digital fatigue.  

4. Make work comfortable 

There’s a fine line between being professional and being formal. Creating an overly formal workplace environment can lead to employees feeling uncomfortable, and hence unproductive or unhappy.

At the end of the day, employees are human beings – so they should be able to act like it! Being professional also has space for being informal and friendly, to help nurture employee relationships and collaborations. And with the physical work environment, businesses can make it more comfortable with an ergonomic workstation or it could mean more art on the walls.

And don’t forget about any employees working from home – keep checking in to make sure their set-up is comfortable too by offering them access to desks, chairs or monitors to ensure they’re well-equipped.

5. Create specific office traditions

Traditions help employees bond and in a business, they can act as a mark of distinction – so why not come up with your own one? It will depend on the current culture of your workplace but a few ideas could include a monthly bake off, dress down Fridays or a festive ugly jumper competition.

The benefits of a strong workplace culture could include more satisfied colleagues, improved productivity and retention levels and better workplace camaraderie and dynamics. Ultimately, the type of culture you foster is entirely dependent on your workplace and your organisational goals, but the key to a good workplace culture is that it’s supportive, empathetic and positive.

6. Setting an example

Managers play a big role in setting the tone for a healthy culture. Even the best health and wellbeing interventions can seem superfluous if employees don’t feel supported by their managers. Managers can make simple habit changes that can help create a healthy team culture, such as doing a wellbeing check in during 1:1’s, ensuring their teams know exactly what is expected of them, keeping watch over workloads and sharing their own tips of how they manage their wellbeing.

Our business healthcare

Benenden Healthcare for Business provides an affordable, high quality, private healthcare solution to support all your employees. With easy setup and no exclusions on pre-existing medical conditions, we want to help make healthcare a standard of employment for everyone, rather than just a perk for the few. See how we can help you develop a healthcare solution that works for your whole business.