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What does a positive work environment look like?

Last updated

16 November 2023


Claire Bonneau

Reviewed by

Shawnna Johnson

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It’s 2023, and high-quality talent is searching for workplaces that value their employees. Is your company doing enough to foster a positive work environment?

Skilled workers seek roles with companies that chase inclusive, healthy workplaces. As modern working arrangements blur the line between home and office, more people want to work for companies that invest in employee well-being.

Leading companies continue to move away from stuffy, isolated cubicles, favoring dynamic, community-oriented layouts and designs. Companies looking to retain great workers must do more to create a positive work environment.

This article delves into everything you need to know about positive work environments. You’ll learn how to nurture an excellent working culture and uncover all the associated benefits.

What is a positive work environment?

A positive work environment makes employees feel safe and valued during the workday. It’s inviting, creates a sense of community, and encourages long-term growth.

As an essential part of a healthy and balanced workplace culture, a positive work environment significantly impacts employee satisfaction, turnover, and productivity. Top-performing brands invest resources into their work environments to hold onto high-quality talent.

How a positive work environment improves your business

Companies need to put effort into developing a rewarding work environment to get the best results from high-level executives and employees. 

The line between our work and personal lives continues to blur with at-home working capabilities and modern technology. A healthy work environment now has an even greater impact. Employees now value and require amenities that improve their work-life balance.

Companies who commit to a positive work environment experience many benefits, including:

Increased company productivity

Happier employees are more likely to produce high-quality work. A beneficial work environment encourages employees to solve problems effectively and get more work done.

A stronger sense of company pride

Elective employee turnover is a significant issue for maintaining talent. When an employee leaves a company to pursue another opportunity, it’s costly for a business to find and train someone to take their place. 

Companies that invest in work environments are more likely to retain staff. This prevents brain drain and allows coworkers to build long-term working and personal relationships.

Enhanced coworker collaboration

Employees who feel fulfilled and valued at work are more likely to contribute and assist their coworkers. Well-bonded colleagues can achieve more ambitious goals, serving the employee’s work pride and the company’s bottom line.

Fostering long-term company growth

Brands that offer a positive, inviting work environment are more likely to grow and increase their chances of producing better quality products and services. They’re also more likely to offer clearer pathways for employee growth and development into leadership roles.

Key physical elements of a positive work environment

If you control the physical office space your company works in, you can improve your colleagues' working experience. 

While every company’s physical office space is a limitation, we recommend considering improvements to these three key areas:

Comfortable and approachable workspaces

Long gone are the days of stuffy, isolated, and beige (why are they always beige?) cubicles. 

Modern working space decor has created more inviting workplaces, and employees want more! So why stop there?

A few examples of workspace decor and tools that can improve your office’s working environment include:

  • Partnered or pod desk spaces for collaboration

  • Sit-stand desks

  • Comfortable and adjustable office chairs

  • Accessibility devices, including ergonomic mice and drawing/note-taking tablets

  • Including and encouraging personal desk decoration 

If your company works from home, you can improve your employee’s working environment by: 

  • Shipping company-branded swag like blankets, coffee mugs, or wall art

  • Providing your team with an allowance to decorate their working space

These small gestures go a long way toward building a positive work environment. You can even encourage your teammates to share their space in a virtual office tour to maximize the fun!

Inviting and accessible break facilities

Every in-person workspace needs break facilities for team members during their breaks. These spaces can act as an office socialization hub, so employees can get to know each other as they share a snack or chat over lunch.

Whenever possible, offering additional amenities in this area of your business is a great way to increase team morale and show your appreciation. 

Examples of effective changes you can make to your break facilities include:

  • Purchasing a coffee machine and offering free staff beverages

  • Stocking the fridge with snacks and treats, considering any dietary needs

  • Installing a beverage fridge for soda, sparkling water, and more

  • Encouraging team members to take their lunch or day breaks at the same time

  • Coordinating office potlucks for birthdays and holidays

  • Using the break room as a central hub for events and news

Facilitating an inclusive and inviting break environment is equally important for remote teams. While one of the primary benefits of at-home work is the ability for people to get work done asynchronously, encouraging your team to take breaks together can boost morale.

Well-designed office layout

Finally, the office flow and layout can play a more significant role than you may realize.

Aside from improving productivity and efficiency, a well-organized office space can facilitate bonding, improve collaboration, and make the workspace feel more like a community hub.

While you may be limited by the amount of space your office provides, here are a few ideas:

  • Keep your workspace floor plan open and inviting

  • Avoid dividing your workspace based on teams where possible

  • Provide spaces for individual and team working opportunities

  • Decorate the workspace with bright, inclusive art

For work-from-home teams, finding ways to support each employee’s working space gets more difficult. But it’s not impossible.

Offering to purchase office resources can make your team’s workday more comfortable and encourage a more positive working environment. Examples include sit-stand desks, footrests, ergonomic equipment, and additional monitors

Five steps to creating a positive work environment

You can also improve your work culture and environment outside the physical office space. Here are our top tips:

Outline clear pathways for open communication between teams

Chances are, you have experienced a professional situation where you felt unheard or undervalued. Because these are common situations, we often think they’re normal or unavoidable experiences,  but this shouldn’t be the case.

A workplace that facilitates open communication between team members, stakeholders, and C-suite executives is well on its way to fostering a positive work environment.

Being intentional about internal and external communication means your company can cut back on wasted time and confusion. This also encourages employees to participate, gathers better ideas from more people, and reduces frustrations between coworkers.

To improve your communication channels, we recommend calling an all-hands meeting to review your current communication styles and plans. 

From here, everyone can share feedback, and you can create new communication channels. This is great for getting your team on the right track.

Use positive feedback to support and motivate staff members

People are prone to focusing on negative feedback, especially when they’re stressed. As a result, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or undervalued, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction. 

As a helpful way to combat these adverse outcomes, companies need to find effective ways to regularly share genuine positive feedback with their employees.

Whether you give regular compliments around the office or host formal events to highlight employee achievements, there are many ways to strengthen this skill. Once you master it, you’ll quickly notice a big shift in employee morale and spirit.

Encourage and reinforce work-life balance practices

As more businesses rely on virtual and instant communication channels, the line between being at work and on personal time continues to blur. 

While it’s tempting to allow your employees to determine this balance independently, companies need to directly support and facilitate work-life balance practices for the best results.

We all need to recharge, rest, and participate in our personal lives. Encouraging and reminding your team to log off (and even limiting access to work when necessary) is essential to fostering a better work environment for everyone. 

If you implement this tip effectively, you’ll have more engaged, productive, and refreshed workers ready to tackle problems more efficiently.

Plan regular staff celebrations and events

Everyone likes feeling appreciated, and this also rings true in professional settings.

While we hope you’re already celebrating more traditional events like staff birthdays, holidays, and successful launches, you can go a step further.

A business that’s committed to creating a great work environment should go above and beyond to truly show appreciation to its staff. 

A few examples of fun, engaging, and celebratory events include:

  • Staff celebration days

  • Lunch and learn sessions to share team member wins

  • Career highlight days

The goal is to ensure everyone feels like a valued team member. Another fantastic benefit is that these events create personal bonds between colleagues.

Regularly reevaluate and adjust your working environment

One of the most critical steps for a positive work environment is regularly reevaluating your processes.

As a fun way to get everyone involved, we recommend holding quarterly or biannual meetings to discuss your company’s working culture and environment. This is ideal for gathering more nuanced insights, too. 

At these meetings, encourage your remembers to share their experiences at work over the past few months. What have they been loving? What can be improved? Do they have any specific suggestions for making work more enjoyable?

Asking for feedback unifies your team with the common goal of improving your work environment. Plus, you can access stepping-stone ideas to get started. Don’t forget to reward employees for their valuable contributions, whether that’s a company lunch or half-day. 

Better yet, make these meetings fun and inviting so your colleagues look forward to them throughout the year.

Investing in your work environment pays off

So, is your workplace doing enough to foster a positive work environment for every employee?

Workers deserve an excellent working environment. Whether you work in the C-suite or management, you can implement beneficial practices to improve your working culture.

Invest your time, resources, and money into building a work environment to be proud of. Your employees will thank you with loyalty and extra productivity. You’ll also increase your chances of creating meaningful, effective products for your clients.

It’s time to focus your efforts on improving your working environment, and we hope this article is a helpful guide to get you started.

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