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Building a Better Workplace in 2014

Published: December 6, 2013 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner

Is your company an amazing place to work? Building a better workplace creates more value than simply making your employees happy--though that's definitely a priority for the savvy employer. When your business is known to have a great working environment, you'll attract more top talent, strengthen company loyalty, and retain your best employees.

While today's employers frequently require more time from their workers, they are also providing new incentives to improve the experience --and they're reaping the rewards of caring for more than just an employee's productivity. The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune to create an employee-centric culture.

Three main workplace improvements can go a long way toward fostering employee satisfaction and a more pleasant atmosphere.

Be flexible

Flexibility in the workplace doesn't mean you have to start doing yoga during morning meetings. Instead, it requires recognizing that your employees have commitments, passions, and responsibilities outside of the office. This awareness can translate into offering options for working from home weekly or monthly, which is easier than ever thanks to expanding technology. Alternately, offering maternity and paternity leave makes a strong statement about seeing your employees as whole people. When workers feel like they can ask for time off without fear of reprisal, they will actually work harder and become more invested in their work.

Be chatty

Connecting with your employees, and encouraging them to connect with each other, is a second crucial method for improving the atmosphere in your workplace. Social media sites like Google Business and Yammer foster both personal and professional interactions, making it easier to collaborate on joint projects while creating a more cohesive office.

If you haven't heard about Yammer, here's how it works. It's a social sharing site, structured similarly to Facebook--but it's specifically for your business, with no connections outside the company's staff, suppliers, or customers. Yammer makes sharing fun and fosters greater collaboration, knowledge transfer, and overall efficiency.

Large organizations have already put Yammer to work in their corporate environments. For example, Nationwide Insurance uses this social business site to ease the pain points of bottlenecked information they'd experienced in the past, and upgrade the company's employee experience to embrace a familiar modern platform. And at Xerox, Yammer is used to build community connections and offer faster answers for both employees and customers.

How big is Yammer? Here are a few quick stats:

  • Over 4 million corporate users
  • $40 million in funding
  • 100,000 new organizations joined Yammer last year, doubling company memberships to 200,000

Though social media like Yammer is often seen as a waste of time, it is actually an asset at work when implemented properly. Any tool that encourages workers to communicate will lead to a more pleasant environment, one in which everyone will feel more appreciated and valued for their individuality.

Be healthy

The third tactic you can implement to improve your workplace is to focus on health. Show your employees they are more than just cogs in a machine by offering help with their whole selves, not just their work personas. Even if it's as simple as putting healthy snacks in vending machines, an attempt to provide well for employees will improve their satisfaction levels. Free flu shots can reduce the number of sick days your office takes, but you won't be the only one grateful; family and friends will appreciate not having illness spread around! Discounted gym memberships will encourage physical activity, which increases productivity and overall well-being.

Be human

Your office employs people, not robots, so it only makes sense that you recognize the aspects of your employees that make them human. Allowing flexibility in work schedules shows that you respect them as individuals, rather than for just what they contribute.

Fostering communication among colleagues fuels humans' natural social drive, creating connections that resonate in productivity and atmosphere. Presenting opportunities to improve wellness obviously keeps the workplace healthier, but it also boosts morale and performance with more energetic, invested workers.

These three steps may seem simple, but they have the ability to radically improve your work environment for both you and your employees.

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