A negative work environment can tear down an entire company, individual by individual. When negativity persists at work, a couple things happen with your employees. Not only are employees less enthusiastic about coming to work, but they are less engaged in the company’s mission and less productive. They are even more likely to leave the company. Workplace negativity is so detrimental, in fact, that one Gallup study asserted that it costs the American economy an estimated $350 billion a year.
The positive news is that it is within your power to build a culture of positivity. When your workplace is positive, your team is dedicated to your company and more willing to work together to reach common goals. There are several things you can do to keep your workplace environment positive.
Engage your employees.
It can be tempting to dictate and make autonomous decisions but don’t. Employees may feel discouraged with negative feelings when they feel like their opinions and expertise don’t matter and like they’re not part of the process. When you’re working on a new project or approach, engage your employees in the discussions. If there’s debate to be had, let employees disagree in an open and positive way so that conference room arguments don’t become office grudges.
Avoid unnecessary rules.
Your employees are, likely, adults, and they want to be treated as such at work. Overly restrictive rules can lead to employees feeling undervalued and infantilized. If a specific employee behavior is causing a problem, address that behavior with the employee or employees rather than instituting a blanket rule that affects everyone.
Enforce policy fairly.
Obviously, no office is an entirely rule-free environment. When you do enforce your office policies, make sure you are enforcing them fairly and consistently. The policies, and consequences for violating policies, should be the same for all employees, no matter what.
Build a culture of positivity.
Make positivity a goal for your company. When you hire new employees only take on employees that you feel would be a value to your company’s environment. You will know by evaluating their level of optimism and positivity, Building a culture of positivity also can mean letting go of employees whose chronic negativity is leading to a toxic work environment.
Lead by example.
As the company’s head, you set the tone for office culture. Make sure that you approach things with a positive mindset. Don’t let your stress or bad mood show in front of your employees. Treat problems as challenges to be solved, rather than as roadblocks and sources of frustration. When you approach your work in a positive way, your employees will adopt a similar attitude.
A negative office environment is bad for you and your employees. Not only does no one want to spend their days in a toxic environment, but it’s bad for business. Make positivity a goal to help your business succeed. Head off any signs of negativity before they can take hold and become major workplace problems.