Office Design – Engaging staff for design success

Less Stress, Increased Active Engagement the Secret Ingredients for Workplace Success

Once upon a time it was thought that a cut-throat workplace with employees competing ferociously against one another was the secret to financial success.

Not anymore, according to an increasing body of scientific evidence that disproves the idea and supports the concept of employee engagement as the key to success.

While there is the assumption that pressure to perform motivates employees to work harder and, therefore, better, most employers don’t account for the costs which can skyrocket very quickly.

The high cost of job-related stress

The American Institute of Stress says studies show increased levels of job stress, as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands, have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders. 

Other studies from various sources have shown that possibly as many as 550 million sick days annually in the US alone result directly from workplace stress.

The big question is how to deal with it effectively.

Many employers are offering up a feast of sweeteners ranging from onsite fitness centres to allowing employees to work from home at times. However, such benefits don’t create active engagement, which is the key to lowered stress levels in the workplace and increased performance.

Since studies show that employees who are actively engaged are 28 per cent more productive than employees who are actively disengaged, and 23 per cent more than employees who are simply ‘engaged’ there’s a need to change the culture.  

Four ways to foster active engagement

Fostering active engagement in the workplace can be done in four ways, according to research.

1. Show empathy

Results from research by Cornell University in 2014 showed that employees who identified their superiors as compassionate were more likely to be resilient and collectively loyal during hard times. Being seen as an empathetic boss makes it more likely that your staff will be loyal during rocky times.

2. Encourage office friendships

Another important ingredient is encouraging work mateship since studies show people who see their colleagues as friends work better, are less inclined to call in sick; they learn faster, remember more, and are less depressed.

Bosses who encourage friendships among their empolyees have more motivated staff since the sense of camaraderie gives everyone the feeling that they’re a team working towards the same goals.

3. Go above and beyond

One specific point shown in the study is that employees’ loyalty increases towards their employers if they see their bosses working above and beyond their duties. In other words, if staff see their managers as being not only helpful but self-sacrificing they’re more likely to be inspired and committed to the success of the firm.

4. Foster trust

Trust is a major ingredient according to studies which show that if workers feel they can trust the managers, they are more empowered. Also, employees who feel safe in their jobs are more likely to be creative and exploratory, which fosters growth in the workplace and adds to lowering levels of stress and fear.

This has been shown to be the case in a wide variety of different workplaces.

Aspect Furniture Systems
© Aspect Furniture Systems Australia & New Zealand

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