How To Improve Your Workplace Environment: 28-Step Guide

Want to know how to improve your workplace environment? Then you’re in the right place.

Work doesn’t have to be exhausting; it can be enjoyable and productive! Your management style has a significant impact on workplace culture and employee satisfaction, so treat people with respect and compassion when they are struggling with difficult interpersonal issues.

In the end, improving the quality of your workplace can help increase employee productivity and performance. Remember the ultimate goal: you want to create a good, enjoyable, and trustworthy workplace where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

How To Improve Your Workplace Environment:

1. Organize frequent social gatherings for employees to get to know each other.

Monthly or weekly outings will give employees a much-needed break while also allowing them to get to know each other outside of the office. Cool activities include bowling, hiking, art workshops, cooking classes, escape rooms, and dinners.

To organize activities that your employees will enjoy, ask them what they like to do outside of work.

2. Once or twice a month, host a weekly staff lunch.

A shared meal is a great way to connect with co-workers, especially if you have many new employees who haven’t yet opened up to the group. If possible, take your entire staff to lunch once a month or bring a buffet meal to the workplace.

Encourage employees to talk about themselves while they eat (e.g., their passions outside of work, favorite movies, favorite childhood memories, aspirations).

3. Play games with co-workers to increase their energy and enjoyment of work.

Quick quizzes, treasure hunts, and card games can help relieve tension and increase the energy level in the room. It will also allow employees to see their colleagues in a friendlier light.

Playing games with them that can encourage them to laugh and have fun is also an ice-breaker that allows employees to get to know each other better.

4. Ensure that new employees are well prepared for their jobs by pairing them with existing employees.

Having a work colleague can help new employees become more familiar with the company culture. It will also provide them with someone to talk to if they have any problems or questions. Assign the newcomer to someone with similar interests so that both employees feel more at ease.

A buddy support system can help a new employee make a positive introduction to the workplace, increasing the likelihood that they will like their job.

5. Pair people into groups based on their common interests and characteristics.

If you are assigning employees to group tasks, pair them with people you know will enjoy working with them. To achieve effective collaboration, consider work styles, interests, and personality types.

For example, pairing two Type “A” perfectionists can be challenging because they may waste time and energy fighting for control of the project.

6. Encourage employees to listen actively to commands respect.

By looking them in the eye, facing them, and rejecting distractions, you can give your full attention to the person you are addressing. Listen to what they are saying and don’t try to come up with answers while doing so.

To show that you are listening and paying attention, nod every so often and use brief affirmative comments such as “uh-huh,” “I see,” or “right.”

Make sure you don’t recognize the same two or three people every week.

7. Hold frequent training sessions so employees don’t get bored.

Giving employees opportunities to improve and learn new skills shows that you value their work and believe in their ability to succeed. When considering opportunities for new skills or development in the workplace, keep your employees’ career aspirations in mind.

For example, if you’re the manager of an advertising agency, provide training on effective public speaking so employees can better present themselves to clients.

If you are a public school principal, hire a child psychologist to train instructors in mindfulness and compassionate discipline methods.

8. Encourage healthy competition between groups of employees by giving rewards.

A little healthy competition can increase productivity—just be sure to divide employees into teams to improve communication and camaraderie. Providing gift cards, movie tickets, or other incentives for the winning team is very useful.

When grouping individuals, keep personality types in mind to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

SEE ALSO: How To Rebuild Trust In The Workplace: 10-Step Guide

9. Encourage employees to meet together informally.

Allow employees to meet and discuss projects they are working on outside of weekly meetings to provide time and space for feedback and collaboration. This can take the form of a separate, more casual meeting space for unscheduled open-table discussions.

Weekly meetings can be beneficial, but they can take up more time than they are worth, so provide employees with time and space outside of their weekly routine to meet and exchange ideas.

Allow employees to conduct weekly meetings on a rotating basis to maintain flexibility. This will allow you to vary the structure to avoid monotony and allow individuals to speak on topics that are important to them.

10. Make good use of online communication tools.

Giving employees the tools they need to communicate with each other at any time helps them complete group tasks without stress or wasted time. For example, use an online communication tool so employees can video chat or contact each other without leaving their workstations.

Slack is a simple tool to communicate, share files, and hold group chats.

You can use Redbooth (1) or Basecamp to communicate, assign tasks, and monitor progress.

If you want your employees to be able to message each other and make video calls, Microsoft Lync is a good option.

11. Hire team players and don’t be afraid to fire those who don’t meet expectations.

Employees are the heart and soul of any company, and they need to work together to achieve beneficial results. Pay attention to whether employees exhibit teamwork skills, make a note of any who don’t, and be prepared to fire them for the good of the team. Team players have the following qualities:

  • They can be relied upon to meet deadlines, cultivate excellent relationships with co-workers, and produce quality work.
  • They have excellent communication skills and depend on the opinions of others.
  • They take advantage of opportunities and go above and beyond, sometimes taking on additional responsibilities.
  • They are able to adapt to situations and do not whine or worry when things change.
  • They approach their work with commitment and enthusiasm and encourage other team members to do the same.

12. Set clear and reasonable deadlines for projects to be completed.

Clearly state what you intend to do and when you expect it to be done. Clarifying expectations can help employees manage their time more effectively and avoid the worry caused by looming deadlines or vague goals. To reduce the stress of taking on a responsibility that an employee might consider Sisyphean work, be realistic about workload and time.

Instead of saying, “I need a comprehensive proposal as soon as possible,” you might add, “I would like to see a draft proposal this afternoon so the team can comment on it and you can finalize it by lunch tomorrow.”

13. Get to know your employees to instill a sense of trust and respect.

Spend some time with them and ask about their family, hobbies, favorite foods, and history. This will show that you care about them and appreciate them as people, not just co-workers.

Set aside 20 minutes a week to talk with a co-worker over coffee or tea.

Designate weekly 15-minute conversation breaks and offer group tasks to encourage employees to get to know one another.

Conduct team-building exercises during staff meetings, such as talking openly about your interests.

Encourage employees to bring photos of their families and pets to work.

14. Use positive reinforcement to boost morale and increase productivity.

If you are working on or alongside employees, praise them often for their efforts. This will improve their attitude and motivation. Positive reinforcement can take many forms, from publicly praising hard work to giving rewards.

Consult with your employees to find out how they feel about public praise, as some people may not want to be the center of attention.

15. Provide food and beverages for employees when possible.

Employees will feel refreshed and invigorated if they have something to eat during short breaks. This will foster a more collaborative atmosphere. If your budget allows, you can put coffee, tea, almonds, fruit, fresh vegetables, or snack trays in the kitchen or conference room so employees can replenish their minds and bodies.

At your monthly employee brunch, consider bringing in breakfast tacos.

If you have the means to provide employees with free beer and wine, think first about their needs (e.g., if someone has disclosed that they have addiction issues) and how alcohol can affect their health, attention, and quality of work.

16. Increase the number of days on which casual dress is mandatory. 

Employees will welcome the opportunity to wear their favorite sweatpants to work, and several studies have shown that casual dress days increase productivity and job satisfaction. 

SEE ALSO: How To Stop Thinking About Work: 16 Quick Tips To Switch Off

17. Include a clear code of conduct in the employee handbook.

A clear code of conduct is essential to inform employees about what actions will and will not be acceptable at work. Describe the disciplinary measures that may be taken as a consequence of workplace harassment, discrimination, or drug abuse. Give examples so that everyone understands what constitutes harassment or discrimination.

For example, telling racist jokes or demonstrating religious intolerance may result in a short suspension or sensitivity training.

Employee handbooks should also cover company policies, communication practices, workplace culture, compensation, performance evaluations, employee privileges, and resignation or termination procedures.

18. Interpersonal conflicts should be discussed openly and politely.

If you are trying to resolve a problem between co-workers, talk to each of them individually. Listen to their complaints and develop a strategy to resolve the dispute so that each party feels heard and respected. If you and your colleague disagree, talk to them freely and politely to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Recognize that solving the problem may require some concessions.

Listen to each person’s complaints without taking sides.

Instead of focusing on personalities, pay attention to actions (e.g., replace “Kate is selfish” with “Kate acted selfishly”).

19. Teach employees who aren’t performing well how they can improve.

If an employee isn’t doing his or her job to the best of his or her ability or is causing conflict in the workplace, give him or her a chance to grow and improve conduct instead of punishing him or her bluntly. Let him know what he can improve on, and if necessary, teach him new skills that will help him perform better.

For example, if one employee constantly dominates group discussions and interrupts others, take him aside after the meeting and say something like: “I like your willingness to express your opinion, but interrupting and talking over others is not beneficial. Please take a step back so everyone can have their say. “

If the behavior doesn’t change, send the employee a formal letter outlining what they need to do to improve and what will happen if they don’t.

However, if theft, physical aggression, harassment, or other forms of inappropriate behavior are involved, terminate the employee immediately.

20. When employees report being sick, stick to your established policy.

If an employee reports sick, feel free to ask for the reason for the absence and make a note of it. If an employee is not feeling well for more than three days in a row, you should ask for a doctor’s note.

Don’t make the employee feel bad if they report being sick-they shouldn’t bring a cold or flu to work!

If you have an employee handbook, be sure to include absence guidelines in it.

21. Assist the employee in coping with mental health difficulties.

If an employee or co-worker has disclosed that he or she is suffering from a mental illness, resources should be provided to assist him or her. This may include conducting mental health self-assessments, running programs to improve coping with stress and depression, and providing free or subsidized therapy.

Don’t be aggressive or try to play the role of doctor-it’s not appropriate and will likely scare the interviewer away.

22. Increase the amount of natural light in your workplace to feel more energetic and happy.

Increase the amount of natural light in your workspace by opening a window or moving your office. If not enough natural light is coming through your windows, use blue-tinted light bulbs.

If a window obscures a bookcase or desk, for example, move it to a side wall.

If possible, remove the blinds or open them.

Avoid bright or yellow lights, as they can make you feel tired and depressed.

23. Use air purifiers to improve air quality and increase concentration.

Musty air can be a productivity killer and a source of boredom and despair. Invest in a good air purifier with a HEPA filter to reduce allergies and ultimately increase energy and concentration.

Make sure the vents are not blocked and that no furniture is obstructing them.

Check humidity levels monthly, especially in winter and summer (45% is ideal).

Air filters should be changed every 2 to 3 months.

Air ducts should be cleaned every 2 to 5 years if black material builds up around them.

24. To increase vitality and productivity, use cool colors in the room.

Dull or colorless walls can be distressing to the eye (and mood). Colors like blue, purple, and green work best in places where people can think creatively, such as workspaces and conference rooms.

Green is an especially good wall color for places where you or your employees need to think creatively.

If your office has a meditation room or relaxation area, purple is a good color to choose.

Gray walls may seem modern and clean, but in excess they can be dreary.

25. Use warm tones on the walls in rest rooms to evoke a feeling of relaxation.

Colors such as yellow and orange are ideal for entertaining spaces, living rooms and office kitchens. To introduce a touch of warm tones, paint the walls or use pillows, chairs, and other decor.

Avoid too much red in the workplace, as it can create fear and, in turn, tension.

26. Provide your company with some comfortable, adjustable seating.

Provide comfortable chairs or sofas instead of desk chairs or rigid, hard-backed chairs to make work more comfortable. Employees will be more comfortable and productive if the chair is adjustable.

To alleviate pain from prolonged sitting and promote healthy posture, consider purchasing chairs with balance balls or cushions.

To stay active and engaged at work, you may want to get a standing desk.

27. Increase the number of natural plants in your workplace to reduce stress.

If budget allows, buy some low-maintenance office plants or, if you have employees, allow them to buy their own office plants at company expense (if budget allows). Plants have been proven to increase productivity by up to 15%, concentration, and job satisfaction.

28. Maintain a clean and clutter-free work environment.

Dust and clutter can give the impression of disorder or chaos, which can lead to feelings of worry and anxiety. As a result, it will be even harder to concentrate. Every day, before you sit down to work, clear your desk and the nearby environment of clutter and loose papers.

If you work with employees, emphasize cleanliness at weekly staff meetings so that everyone is responsible for keeping the workplace clean.

At least once a month, make your workspace tidy by removing unnecessary small items and making sure everything has its place.

Organize your employees’ workspace with file cabinets, folders, and drawer organizers so they don’t have to spend time looking for the things they need.

If you have a large workspace and a limited maintenance budget, you may want to consider hiring a cleaning company to make sure the atmosphere is spotless.

Thank you for reading this article about how to improve your workplace environment and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here