When employees look forward to going to work, they are more likely to produce good work. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, there’s more to creating a positive environment than simply installing cool light fixtures and providing a keg of craft beer.
Keeping employees happy and productive requires frequent and open communication and lots of hard work from a project management perspective. And establishing an encouraging project environment for your workers is an important element in creating a successful project communication plan.
Healthy, Creative Brains
Any advertising industry vet can probably tell you about a time they stayed in the office until midnight to meet a deadline. After all, you can’t rush an idea. But survival mode—the maniacal scramble to wrap up a campaign on time—is not a sustainable approach to work.
Employees who consistently work in stressful environments engage primitive, reptilian parts of the brain, as higher functions recede or stop working. While moderate or ‘good stress’ can build stronger circuitry and a more resilient brain, acute and prolonged stress can wreak havoc.
In order to combat stress, the best project managers should put an emphasis on positivity. It’s proven that positive emotions are more fleeting than negative ones—but they also pay off in the long run. While employees are more likely to notice the effects of stress—fatigue, headaches, muscle tension—positive emotions are subtler, resulting in enduring friendships, strong partnerships, higher income and improved physical health.
What constitutes a happy office? In a recent report, the Conference Board suggested that it should encompass concepts such as employee engagement, job satisfaction, and attachment to the organization.
Generally speaking, individuals have a desire to be able to make a difference in their company or community and pursue work that has meaning. They are interested in being part of something that has a vision and a larger purpose.
Employees who find meaning and purpose within their roles are healthier, happier—and more productive. Not only do engaged workers feel inspired to contribute to a project, they bring a positive return on investment for organizations, as it has been noted that happiness at work leads to increased sales, productivity and accuracy.
Valuing the Individual
It becomes painstakingly clear that creating a successful project environment begins on the individual level. And it is up to you as project manager to create an environment in which your employees feel valued.
Five simple ways to do this are as follows:
- Recognize Success
- Offer Development Opportunities
- Build Trust
- Give and Receive Feedback
The quality of interaction between project management and those involved on the project is a key determinant of motivation and performance. Workers are subconsciously influenced by the way others treat them; and the more value you place on your relationships with individual workers, the more mutually beneficial they become.
By treating your team members as individuals—or as crucial parts to the project as a whole—the better results you will get. By fostering a positive project built on positivity, trust and communication, your team will work creatively, efficiently—and happily.