Positive Psychology in the Office: Building Stronger Teams and Better Health
How can your organization build stronger teams and better health? Making small changes and implementing positive psychology in the office can make a huge impact.
A 2021 study from the American Psychological Association found that 59% of employees said work-related stress negatively impacts their performance.
But there’s good news — in the same study, 87% of employees think that actions from their employers could help their mental health. Changes from flexible schedules to encouraging breaks were cited as making a positive difference.
Here’s what you need to know.
Positive Psychology in the Office and the Impact of a Positive Work Culture on Engagement
Employee engagement is a top goal at every level of organizational leadership. The reason is simple — high employee engagement drives significant business results.
Gallup has found a strong connection over multiple years between high employee engagement and these outcomes:
- High customer loyalty
- Increased profitability
- High productivity
- Lower turnover and absenteeism
- Fewer safety incidents
- Lower theft and quality defects
- Higher employee well-being and organizational participation
The good news is that a positive workplace can have a significant impact on engagement. A positive mindset can lower stress, improve self-esteem, and even improve sleep quality. Lower stress and better health can help improve employee performance and engagement.
What can employers do to improve the psychology at the office? There are a lot of ways to create a positive company culture that reduces stress, increases flexibility, and shows appreciation for hard work. Here are some strategies to consider.
Showing appreciation for employees can be unexpectedly challenging. Some team members love being praised publicly, while others find it embarrassing and stressful.
However, one thing everyone loves is a thoughtful thank you note. It’s important to ensure it’s genuine and not generic. Rather than saying, “Thanks for your hard work,” thank an employee for a specific action or accomplishment. You can also include a bit about why the work matters to the organization.
When you give employees a thank you note, they can keep it private or share it with other employees as they prefer. You don’t have to make a decision between private and public praise — you can leave it up to the employee.
The changes we made during COVID-19 showed everyone that productive work can happen away from the office. Now, employees are increasingly interested in flexible work arrangements that can help them balance their work and personal lives more effectively.
Some employers are comfortable with work-from-home arrangements or hybrid working schedules where some days are in-office, and others are remote. If that’s not an option, consider offering flexible hours, where employees can work schedules that meet their needs and make up missed hours on other days.
Flexible schedules allow employees to better fit their life and work together while the organization benefits from high-quality work from less-stressed employees.
In your organization, do employees feel comfortable approaching their supervisors with concerns? Is there an open door policy in name only, or is the availability real?
Being honest about how communication currently works in your company helps you improve it. It’s important for employees to feel like they can express their feelings and concerns about work issues without getting in trouble. Also, there should be an outlet for employees who need to talk about personal issues, whether that’s an employee assistance program or mental health awareness classes.
Communication skills are challenging for both employees and managers. One thing that can be helpful is training that helps all employees understand how to communicate effectively verbally, nonverbally, in writing, and over chat.
Excellent communication can help improve the culture at your organization, making it positive and supportive, which in turn strengthens your teams and improves mental and physical health.
There are so many ways employers can help employees manage their stress more effectively, it’s almost overwhelming. To make the right choice for your organization, think about how your team operates and what types of workshops or resources best fit into your work environment.
Some options for supporting mental health include offering:
- Employee assistance programs (EAP)
- Mindfulness and stress-reduction classes
- Space for employees to unplug on breaks and lunches
- Mental health workshops
- Access to community mental health resources
Helping employees access qualified professionals who can assist them with their personal needs can make a big difference in employee morale and engagement. Moreover, don’t forget that mental health and physical health are the same thing. If you don’t have a gym onsite, consider offering gym memberships as a benefit. Incentivize employees to get active, perhaps through rewards points they can redeem for paid time off.
If you host lunches or provide snacks in the office, prioritize food proven to boost immune health, such as almonds, dark chocolate, and blueberries. Since green tea is also on this list, a simple tea station stocked with green tea is one of the easiest health-boosting things to implement. These investments show that you care about your team and their overall well-being.
Creating a positive office culture includes appreciating the hard work employees put in, helping your team members manage stress, and giving workers options that help them with work-life balance.
When your organization invests in creating this type of culture, you’ll not only benefit from healthier employees, but you’ll improve the overall culture and engagement of your workplace. Productivity will improve, it will be easier to recruit and retain top talent, and you’ll see less turnover and absenteeism.
There’s no reason not to build a stronger team with positive psychology in the office.
Author Bio: Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, business, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.