Updated: October 09, 2022

How To Create A Positive Work Environment: 13 Ideas

You found our guide to positive work environments.

A positive work environment is an atmosphere where employees enjoy performing their jobs and feel supported. Creating a positive environment in the workplace involves implementing activities that make staff feel engaged, valued, and empowered. Understanding this concept is crucial because it enhances team building, increases the sense of belonging, and improves employee productivity.

These environments are the opposite of workplace toxicity and follow employee engagement best practices.

This article covers

  • positive work environment examples,
  • good working environment characteristics
  • benefits of positive work environments
  • the role of a leader in creating positive environments

Let’s get started!

Positive work environment examples

Having a positive workplace atmosphere makes employees enjoy working. Here are examples of what constitutes a positive work environment.

1. Adherence to occupational safety

Safety in the workplace makes employees more comfortable and willing to work.

Most countries have an Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA, which helps regulate and enforce a healthy working environment. Managers should ensure that their institutions adhere to these OSHA principles and requirements to prevent various risks associated with employees’ jobs. Employees can also take steps to meet the occupational safety and health requirements.

Below are activities that can help organizations achieve occupational safety and reasonable prevention of hazards.

  • Training staff on risk prevention. For instance, fire safety training may cover the different types and causes of fire and how to prevent and extinguish the blaze.
  • Using pictorial labels and signages to warn or direct employees in case of potential danger. For example, using green labels to make exits on doors and staircases.
  • Encouraging health breaks to prevent fatigue-related errors. For instance, employees who operate machinery need concentration to perform. Without sufficient breaks, these employees may tire out and cause fatal accidents.
  • Wearing protective gear such as helmets, gloves, boots, and clothes such as aprons to guard against scratches, heat, impact, and contact with harmful substances.
  • Decluttering the office space. Keeping the office clean and organized creates enough room for movement and prevents risks like falls and electrocution from loose or misplaced electric cables.

Occupational safety is extensive, and managers can adjust tactics depending on the nature of the job.

2. Employee engagement

Employees who feel engaged are likely to perform better and remain loyal to the organization. Employee engagement involves providing opportunities for staff to participate in important matters concerning an individual’s line of duty.

Employee engagement examples include

  • inviting employees to consultative meetings
  • involving staff in departmental decision-making procedures
  • stimulating employees’ intellectual capacity through challenges
  • delivering clear and frequent communication, especially company updates
  • giving employees autonomy for creativity, improvement, and opinion

The main purpose of employee engagement is to create an environment where employees feel part of the organization. As a result, you maintain high employee motivation, dedication to work, and enthusiasm for work.

Here is a guide to employee engagement strategies and a list of creative engagement ideas for staff.

3. Appropriate workplace ergonomics

Good ergonomics improve employees’ physical and mental comfort to enable optimal working. Ergonomics is crucial in reducing employees’ fatigue, stress, and injuries. To ensure a positive work environment through ergonomics, focus on adjusting the workspace arrangement and design to suit employees’ needs.

Here are ways that staff can ensure personal comfort on different body parts

Body part Ergonomic tip Associated benefit
Arms
  • Rest the arms on the chair arms, desks, or countertops.
Supports the arm’s weight and reduces stress on neck muscles
Back
  • Sit upright
  • Rest your lower back on the chair’s backrest.
  • Avoid leaning forward
Provides back support and reduces pressure on the backbone discs
Head
  • Hold your head upright
  • Support head on a headrest
  • Situate the monitor directly in front or slightly lower
Balances head weight on either side of shoulders and reduces discomfort on traps, the muscles behind the shoulders.
Eyes
  • Place your monitor at eye level, ideally at arm’s length
  • Control screen glare using blinds or reading glasses
  • Avoid prolonged staring at the screen. Take short breaks instead
Reduces strain on extraocular muscles, which control eye movements
Legs and feet
  • Rest the feet flat on the floor or a footrest. Adjust your seat up or down or achieve this position
  • Let the hip, knee, and ankle joints rest perpendicular to the floor
Eases pressure from body weight on heels and pelvis
Wrists and elbows
  • Align wrist with forearm
  • Rest elbows close to the body
Promotes proper wrist alignment

Since different employees need different ergonomics, it is best to redesign the workplace to fit every employee. Additionally, you can enhance physical well-being by taking more fluids and engaging in physical exercises.

You can budget for economic equipment, including offering a stipend to work from home employees.

4. Existence of a positive organizational culture

Good organizational culture aims to promote the company’s core values. For instance, a company may create its own work culture by

  • fostering mutual respect in employees of all levels
  • applying professionalism in all staff dealings
  • working with integrity
  • building team spirit
  • integrating employees with the organizational purpose

Positive work culture strengthens employees’ bonds and gives an organization a competitive edge. For example, the organization becomes attractive to current and potential employees. This competitiveness improves employee retention and attracts diverse talents in the recruitment process.

Check out this guide to improving company culture.

5. Availability of quality tools and equipment

Work tools and equipment make work easier and more enjoyable for your employees. These tools and equipment include computers, machines, materials, and consumables that employees often use to perform tasks.

Supervisors often overlook the need to maintain office tools and equipment. However, it is necessary to ensure that machines undergo regular servicing and inspection. It is also essential to repair or replace malfunctioning equipment that may be risky to employees. These simple practices will contribute to a conducive work environment for the employees.

6. Integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion standards

Discrimination in the workplace is a common complaint at work and kills teamwork and morale. The concept of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) may be the long-term solution to discrimination issues.

Currently, most employees appreciate an inclusive workplace because diversity, equity, and inclusion appear in most company policies. These employees include the traditionally disadvantaged groups such as people living with disabilities, women, and certain races. Nonetheless, HR professionals should constantly revise the company policies to ensure that each staff enjoys equal opportunities at the workplace.

Here are some practical tips for employees to promote inclusivity.

  • Promote tolerance, for instance, through reading to understand different cultures
  • Encourage hospitality, such as welcoming new employees and showing them around
  • Have a discrimination policy that sets diversity, equity, and inclusion policies in the recruitment process
  • Nurture respect by practicing courtesy
  • Encourage fair treatment through equal opportunities
  • Encourage active listening to promote understanding

Though many companies have set DEI standards, there is a need for increased sensitization of diversity and inclusion across the globe for organizations to embrace this concept.

Check out this list of DEI exercises and books on workplace diversity.

7. Employee well-being

Managers concerned with employees’ well-being directly invest in staff’s emotional needs. In turn, these employees feel valued and remain loyal to the company.

These are examples of the most important employee well-being elements.

  • Provision of medical cover and health insurance
  • Provision of sanitary needs like clean drinking water and hygienic restrooms
  • Allowance or sufficient rest time throughout work shifts
  • Protection against external environments like noise, awful smell, and extreme temperatures.
  • Family-work balance through workweek hours and vacation provisions, for example
  • Social security funding like retirement benefits and 401k plan

Taking care of your employees’ welfare has many benefits, including achieving high levels of staff retention and promoting a good attitude towards work.

Check out more employee wellness program ideas and employee benefits.

8. Fair policies

Fairness brings contentment and results in harmony among team members.

Examples of areas where fair policies promote a positive work environment include:

  • the hiring process, for example publicly sharing all internal job openings
  • promotion opportunities. For instance, having a written policy that outlines the basis for promotion,  using merits
  • training and educational opportunities
  • Offering equitable pay as per the job responsibilities and staff experience

For policies to be fair, they should be equitable and applicable to all staff members. Therefore, it is a best practice to have an accessible, written policy document.

9. Clear job expectations

Employees perform better when individual duties and responsibilities are well defined. When each staff understands their role, it becomes easy for supervisors to provide direction. In addition, outlining an employee’s work scope helps avoid conflicts that arise from overlapping jobs.

Understanding the demands of the jobs allows staff to determine and communicate needs, for example, access to information and equipment. Employees may also create a positive work environment by communicating personal objectives with the supervisors and incorporating these goals into their job responsibilities.

10. Supportive leaders

Leaders who listen and show a willingness to help influence employees to love their jobs. Such leaders promote a good atmosphere for work by helping employees overcome work challenges.

These examples of simple action are effective in promoting a conducive work atmosphere.

  • Providing job-related advice
  • Sourcing and allocating required resources
  • Facilitating teamwork
  • Providing mentorship

Leadership is a skill that managers and supervisors should have to influence their followers to work toward achieving company goals.

Here are the signs of a good manager.

Good working environment characteristics

The state of the working environment manifests in many ways. Positive workplaces tend to share several qualities. Below are notable features of a good working environment.

1. Open communication

The existence of open and transparent communication provides a pleasant work environment. Employees derive job satisfaction when they get a chance to offer opinions, share ideas, give feedback, and receive updates regarding the progress of the tasks.

To enhance communication in an organization, ensure that employees understand the communication process and protocols.

Check out this list of books on communication.

2. Strong work ethic

Work ethics such as discipline and respect are essential in directing how employees should relate to one another. The ethos promotes good relationships, defines responsible behavior, and promotes accountability. These benefits contribute to trust-building, which improves the work environment for workers.

3. Positive thinking

Employees portray positive thinking when they deal with challenges objectively and proactively. For instance, when a problem emerges, folks with positive thinking will provide creative solutions, collaborate with other team members, or suggest substitutive methods to counter a problem. However, Individuals with negative thinking are likely to complain, shift blame, and back off.

To improve positive thinking in your staff, consider strategies like staff empowerment, leadership training and development, and motivation strategies such as incentives.

4. Empathetic team members

Strong teams signify team leaders’ efforts in ensuring that team members collaborate and bond. When staff are part of a team that cares about their well-being, they feel a sense of belonging. Effective team building activities strengthen relationships among team members and allow social integration.

5. Enticing motivation strategies

There are two categories of workers, based on Douglas McGregor’s theory X and theory Y. HR professionals who understand the concept of these theories apply different motivation strategies to promote enthusiasm at work. For instance, extrinsic motivation like monetary incentives likely attracts the theory X group better, while theory Y folks delight more in intrinsic motivations such as recognition and supportive supervisors.

Enticing rewards make tasks attractive, promote a pleasant work attitude, and encourage productivity.

Check out this list of books on motivation and this guide to incentive programs.

6. Smooth onboarding process

Integrating new employees into the work system and culture introduces the recruits to the work environment. Employees who receive good onboarding connect better with other colleagues and quickly find their footing in the organization.

Good communication and intensive orientation enhance the onboarding experience and contribute to a positive work environment for newbie staff.

Here are ways to welcome new employees virtually and a list of the best onboarding activities for new hires.

7. Ambient workspace

An ambient atmosphere encourages optimal working by reducing distractions and promoting high concentration levels. Examples of factors that make the workplace ambient include tidy office rooms, well-organized desks, sufficient lighting, external noise management, good work ergonomics, and high hygiene.

Benefits of positive work environments

A positive environment has many benefits to the employee and the organization, including the following.

Below are some benefits of a positive work environment

1. Increased sense of belonging

Team building and employee engagement create a good working environment where employees feel that they are valuable contributors to the overall organizational goals.

2. Improved productivity

Employees become more productive when they work in optimum conditions. Better technology, well-maintained equipment, and a clean and healthy environment contribute to improved output.

3. Team collaboration

Good communication and leadership strategies enhance team spirit and cooperation among colleagues.

Here are strategies to improve workplace cooperation.

4. Career growth

A positive work atmosphere promotes career growth through acquiring knowledge and fine-tuning talents. Mentorship and coaching also equip employees with the necessary skills and traits for leadership.

5. Boosted morale

Motivation strategies such as incentives, participation in decision-making, and occupational safety and health boost employee confidence and job enthusiasm.

Check out this list of quick morale boosters.

6. Increased loyalty

Employees who devote time and energy to their jobs echo satisfaction with their employer. Fairness, clarity of purpose, and employee engagement are examples of a positive environment that enhance employee loyalty.

7. Reduced turnover

Improved employee loyalty, job contentment, and management support contribute to employee retention.

Here is a guide to staff turnover.

The role of a leader in creating positive environments

Creating a positive climate requires leaders’ efforts and persuasion. Below are actions leaders take to create an enjoyable workplace.

1. Encouraging good employee communication

Effective leaders share useful information with managers and allow communication to cascade down to junior employees and vice versa. Managers should encourage an open-door policy, meaning that employees feel free to share personal contributions such as individual experiences, info, ideas, and opinions.

Here are some communication-boosting exercises.

2. Spearheading a positive work culture

Leaders have the power of influence and can use this authority to cause a change in organizational culture. A leader may convince employees to behave ethically by rewarding professionalism, for instance.

3. Encouraging collaboration through team building activities

Working together makes challenging jobs easier to manage. Through team building activities a leader increases the bond and collaboration in a team and influences the members to work together towards a common purpose.

4. Promoting camaraderie

Humans are social beings who have an innate need for socialization. Leaders promote friendship and fraternity among colleagues through social activities like company luncheons and corporate events.

Check out this list of community-building ideas.

5. Encouraging fun and humor

Allowing socialization in the workplace fosters bonding, empathy, and teamwork. Leaders can ensure such opportunities exist for staff by creating workplace social joints. For instance, a centralized water dispenser, a shared office kitchen, and Slack channels are effective places for staff to meet.

6. Aligning employee skills with suitable roles

Employees have diverse talents and skills that may be crucial to an organization. Leaders offer staff opportunities to unleash untapped potential by aligning these skills with specific job roles. For instance, through job redesignation and promotions, employees find a chance to work in a more suitable role or job position.

7. Improving the workplace ambiance

The office interior can affect occupants’ moods and attitudes. Leaders improve the ambiance by redesigning the appearance and plan in the office. For instance, customizing colors that promote productivity, ornaments that enhance beauty. Also, considering that the amount of light coming into the room is sufficient to avoid glare or strain.

8. Enhancing sanitation and tidiness

Leaders implement hygienic measures to benefit staff’s mental and general well-being. For example, these measures get rid of fumes, ensure clean public areas and bathrooms help to keep employees comfortable. By adding shelves and cabinets to create more storage space, leaders promote neatness and easy retrieval of materials.

9. Empowering the staff

Leaders empower employees by allowing autonomy for the staff to manage themselves, make decisions, and handle more demanding responsibilities under a supervisor’s guidance.

10. Focusing on employees’ career growth

Leaders help staff grow through mentoring and coaching, role modeling, and shadowing new employees. These strategies impart knowledge and skills that make jobs easier to tackle. Here is a list of mentor program ideas.

11. Encouraging employees to perform better

Recognitions such as employee of the month awards encourage healthy competition. Leaders who celebrate employees’ achievements make work a fun place for employees.

12. Implementing fair compensation

Employees deserve compensation that matches ability and effort. HR managers promote a happy work environment when they give equitable salaries based on an employee’s skills and experience.

13. Supporting staff performance

Leaders give support by funding, leading, and empowering staff with necessities for successful completion of the task.

Conclusion

A constructive work atmosphere encourages employees to achieve organizational objectives such as high productivity. Managers achieve a positive environment by offering support to employees, encouraging professional culture at work, and ensuring that the physical properties of the workplace meet employees’ physical needs. Leaders may use the features of a positive work environment, such as transparent communication to assess the effectiveness of the strategies used to promote a positive work environment.

Next, check out this collection of books on company culture, this guide to creating a strong remote work culture and this list of ways to celebrate promotions.

We also have a guide on the matrix organizational structure and one on company culture committees.

FAQ: Positive working environments

Here are answers to common questions about positive working environments.

What is a positive working environment?

A positive work environment occurs when employees experience contentment at work. The satisfaction arises from the presence of trust, collaboration, fairness, and respect. The factors that make up this positive environment include management support, employee engagement, and good corporate culture.

What are the qualities of a positive office environment?

The qualities of a positive environment may be physical or intangible.

The physical qualities of a positive office environment include

  • Ergonomic workspace
  • Ambient interiors
  • Organized office plan
  • Hygienic environment

The intangible qualities of a positive office atmosphere include

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Staff loyalty
  • Employee empowerment
  • Career growth

These qualities also act as qualitative measures of a positive office environment.

How do you create a positive work environment for employees?

Managers can create a positive work environment by focusing on different employees’ needs and meeting those needs. For instance,

  1. Encouraging teamwork and camaraderie for employees’ social needs
  2. Maintaining high hygiene and sanitation to meet staff’s physical needs
  3. Empowering staff to take up challenges for mental and capacity growth
  4. Giving praise and encouragement for emotional needs
  5. Providing training, development, and mentorship to meet career goals

Through a thorough evaluation of employee needs, leaders gain vast insight into improvement areas. Thus, the creation of a positive environment may vary with the different needs of the organizations.

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Author:

Content Expert at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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