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What characterises a great working environment?

Employers should try to make sure the working environment is not only safe and efficient but also pleasant

We all want to enjoy our time in work – or at least not to dislike it too much. If we can find a workplace we actively look forward to going to every morning, it makes such a difference to our whole lives. It is pretty obvious what makes a bad workplace – colleagues who blame others for their mistakes; unreasonable bosses who never listen to their workers; over-strict, unnecessary rules etc – but what makes a good one?

Employers should try to make sure the working environment is not only safe and efficient but also pleasant; after all, it has been shown that happy workers make more productive workers.

One good sign of a great workplace is one in which every worker is treated as an individual. Businesses that treat every employee differently depending on their individual skills, needs and ambitions will help to nurture their workers to achieve their very best.

This means being flexible – to allow people to work the hours that suit them; to let employees work from home if it is practical and they want to; and to adapt training to every individual’s needs. After all, one size never fits all.

Another great employer trait is good communication. Managers who talk to their employees, are honest with them at all times and provide direct and helpful feedback to their staff will reap the rewards.

It is also important that bosses are good listeners. If their door is always open and they are willing to accept feedback in addition to giving it, an atmosphere of mutual respect will follow. Leading by example will also engender a great working atmosphere.

In workplaces in which you have to work as a team, knowing your own place in the team and being aware of what your responsibilities are will help to maintain a good working environment. Getting on well with your colleagues is, of course, important – even if you can’t be best friends, having respectful, honest and kind relationships will make for an enjoyable eight hours at work.

One way to help engender good relationships between workers is the ‘open office’ environment. This usually means an open-plan office, where everyone is accessible and communication and socialising are encouraged.

This could be achieved with the help of comfortable ‘breakout’ areas, in which staff can have a coffee and a chat, and organised social and team-building events to engender better relationships.

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