The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all of us, to put it mildly. Even if most of us aren’t physically working in offices these days, it’s becoming increasingly clear that keeping up positive workplace vibes is essential, as the world tries to navigate this strange moment in history.
Most business owners and managers know that workplace gossip, toxic company culture, disrespect of boundaries, and more are all quick ways to end up with high employee turnover and sour any positive workplace experiences.
It’s especially challenging to foster a positive work culture in the new world of working remotely. It can be more difficult to spot and halt negative behaviors and actions as they happen.
With that said, when needing to increase and maintain the positive vibes throughout your office, remote or otherwise, here are some great tips worth employing:
Look For Warning Signs
A toxic work environment can be detrimental to productivity, efficiency, and overall work culture.
But what makes a workplace toxic, exactly? Some key warning signs to look out for include:
- High employee turnover
- Excessive gossip and office drama
- Lack of feedback
- Employees regularly being overworked or stressed
- Lack of professional development opportunities
A good motivator for creating a more positive environment is the fact that the happier employees are, the better quality and quantity of work they produce. Additionally, what’s better than an enthusiastic employee bragging up their place of work to their friends, family, and even acquaintances? It’s essentially free marketing.
And while it is understandably hard to always maintain a perfectly happy workplace, a consistently toxic environment could potentially sink your business. Think about it. If all the best and brightest talent ultimately quit or refuse to work for you, your ability to run a respected, dependable, and productive business goes down the drain.
Consider the next step, customers are often the second ones to “leave” a toxic workplace. Because of this, it’s imperative to keep an eye out and an ear down for any possible signs of a toxic environment brewing. Even if everyone is working remotely.
The Positive Effects of Engagement
Employee engagement is a lot different in the remote working world. Especially during this pandemic. As aptly summarized by Benjamin Laker while writing for Forbes,
“Keeping employees engaged during the pandemic comes down to two things: connection and recognition.
With employees at home and most taking on the role of caregiver, teacher, and parent. All while trying to stay productive at work. It is easy for remote staff to begin developing feelings of isolation and disconnect from their organization’s culture. Which can, in turn, contribute to low engagement.”
Even if your offices are open, safety precautions such as social-distancing are likely taking a toll on the way your employees interact with leadership and each other.
Engagement is necessary for a number of reasons when it comes to fostering a more positive work environment. For one, it paves the way for better communication throughout the office, even while working remotely. It’s also a crucial factor in productivity.
The more employees are recognized for their efforts, the more likely they are to be engaged with the company. Which also leads to boosted morale and happiness.
Considering the stress a lot of people are under these days, engagement is likely to fall as everyone struggles to juggle their responsibilities and stay safe. However, with more personal and meaningful interactions throughout the workday, employees can feel supported by their company. And thus generally feel more positive.
Try encouraging virtual 1-on-1 coffee breaks amongst co-workers. Make a point to check in throughout the week to see how everyone is feeling mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
And most importantly, be genuine and compassionate during these check-ins to instill trust and understanding.
Find Solutions to Negative Problems
As important as it is to foster positivity, it’s equally important to cut down on negativity as much as you can. Some negative behaviors, such as workplace gossip, are just going to happen whether you want them to or not.
It’s also a bit harder to track down where rumors or gossip might be swirling now that employees are working from home. However, it’s still worth working to combat these behaviors as it can spread negativity internally by reducing morale and values. It can also cause potential future employees to look somewhere else.
Luckily, there are some great workplace gossip resources to help curtail the spread of harmful rumors, bullying, and general toxicity throughout the workplace. While it may not be possible to cover all potential solutions to gossip in just this one article. It is worth noting that honing your methods of providing effective criticism can go a long way in reducing negativity.
Lead by example. Talk with employees directly and privately to address any concerns. And listen closely to what employees have to say.
This has been shown to help with productivity. And, if employees are able to air out their frustrations and general thoughts in a more professional and positive manner, the less like they are to vent to a co-worker. Subsequently, that can lead to the spreading of rumors and gossip.
When you create a welcoming environment to talk, it enforces important workplace boundaries. You keep employees’ concerns in the ear of leadership, instead of everywhere else.
So many people already dealing with the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking away one less worry such as workplace gossip will undoubtedly be appreciated.
Taking extra measures to ensure your workplace is a positive and encouraging place can make life a lot better for your valuable employees. Whether you’re completely remote, open partially, or are an essential business, there are plenty of ways to boost those crucial positive vibes.