Leaders find ways to show that they value their employees. It creates a positive working environment, and productivity goes up. Everyone wins. It helps if the leadership of your company gets this concept.
Daimler-Benz, the auto manufacturer, was ahead of the curve in the early 1990s. At their corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, interior spaces were designed for comfort and efficiency; the employee child care center was state of the art; a fully equipped fitness center with personal trainers was available to employees during working hours; the cafeteria offered inexpensive, healthy menus; and employees were encouraged to take regular walks on the beautifully landscaped campus.
Daimler senior management didn’t implement these features just because of their good hearts. They believed that a commitment to a positive work environment led to improved attendance and more positive feedback, loyalty, and longevity with the company.<sup>1 </sup></div>
Since then, many other companies have caught on and implemented their own programs to create a more attractive work environment. They’ve realized that when employees feel good about where they work, they are more productive, innovative, and successful. It just makes sense.
But what can you do on your own to improve the environment for your team? Talk to your staff. Listen to them. Ask for their input on what would make them less distracted and more successful on the job. Stress is an energy-sapper for everyone. You can’t expect to eliminate it completely from the workplace, but there are measures you can take to reduce it. For me, running is a great way to cut stress. My family has a history of heart attacks, so I’ve been pounding the pavement for more than twenty years. I’ve found it does more than improve my physical health, though. It’s a chance to get away from everything and let my mind wander. I think, plan, strategize, and dream better when I’m alone and running. Some of my best ideas (and I do have one now and then) come when I’m sweaty and pumping my legs.
Not everyone is a runner. You may, however, be able to help your team find other ways to reduce stress. Could you schedule regular walks during the workday? Could you allow someone on your team to take a long lunch break and make up the time later so she can swim at the local pool? Schedule small 20 minutes parties. Use your imagination. You may be surprised at how effective a creative approach can be.
Leaders, keep finding ways to show that you value your employees and create a positive working environment.
Adapted excerpt from: “Inspired People Produce Results” – Jeremy Kingsley, McGraw-Hill (2013)