A positive work environment is a necessary part of a healthy business. When people struggle either emotionally, mentally, or physically to complete their work, quality plummets. Whether you’re an owner or a manager, your attitudes shape the environment that your employees show up to work in every day, and your actions help create a positive workplace.

Embrace Flexibility  

Flexibility in the workplace involves the ability to respond to new situations and revise expectations while remaining true to your original goals. Flexibility can mean taking on a task that isn’t yours, admitting a mistake and seeking a solution, or accommodating the unique needs of a team member.

A positive work environment expects a certain amount of flexibility out of both the manager and the employees. As a manager, consider the needs of your team. Remember that rules exist to accomplish specific purposes and should not be followed for their own sake. In many cases, you will be able to accommodate an employee without compromising your project’s success.

Employees contribute to a positive work environment by returning that flexibility. As an employee, it can be difficult to see the big picture of a project. Employee flexibility is the willingness to accommodate changes in project requirements while still maintaining integrity in their quality of work.

You can create a positive work environment by remaining flexible in your own actions while giving your team the chance to be flexible in return.

Respect Structure 

The workplace poses challenges of workflow and communication. Structures are the answer to those challenges. Filing systems and deadlines exist to set expectations that can be relied upon by other employees. Following these structures makes it easy for other people to complete their tasks and shows an inherent respect for their time.

Management structures exist to alleviate problems of communication. In a positive work environment, it is someone’s job to deliver feedback, follow up with tasks, and maintain the forward motion of the project. Both positive and negative communication should be delivered through the correct pathways; this sets expectations that allow employees to complete their work without worrying about emotional implications.

As a manager, you have influencing skills that allow you to set the standard of behavior in your workplace. When you stick to existing structures, you lend credibility to those standards and allow your employees to rely on them. Employees need to understand what’s expected of them and be able to trust that those standards won’t suddenly change.

Express Gratitude  

Your team is composed of individuals who put their own time and effort into your company’s success. It isn’t always easy to put your own needs aside and work for someone else’s goals. So when team members make positive contributions, they should be both recognized and rewarded.

Regular recognition encourages employee engagement and improves quality of work. This could mean praising a project or simply giving a smile after a task is completed. People want to feel valued for the ways that they contribute. If you make it clear that you understand how much work someone put in, they will be more likely to work that hard again in the future.

Rewards can take on many forms. Although it’s possible to reward employees with gift cards or bonus programs, it may be easier and more effective to give hardworking employees a well-deserved raise. Smaller rewards can mean buying lunch for a stressed department or giving an extra vacation day to someone who met a deadline early. Rewards should not put stress on the company, but rather exist as the natural result of hard work and financial success for everyone involved.

A positive work environment in one in which everyone, from ground level employees to upper management, feels comfortable and confident. Workplaces exist to get work done. Standardized structures, situational flexibility, and systems of recognition all exist as tools to help you reach this goal. As long as you maintain a philosophy of respect and productivity, a positive work environment will naturally emerge from your decisions.


by: Dennis Hung