With most of our waking hours being spent at work, it’s essential that our place of work be a positive one. And, if you are working 40+ hours a week, it’s important that you know if it’s worthwhile to invest your time and energy into the job (and company). But how exactly do we define a ‘healthy’ workplace?
We all want a career that is rewarding and meaningful but what other criteria should we look for? Is it really all about the big paycheques and benefits, or are there more boxes that we need to be checking off?
Here are 5 things that I believe are requirements for a WELL-THY workplace:
OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW
If you aren’t growing as a person or employee then you are just asking to feel bored and unfulfilled within the workplace (which doesn’t seem very fun!). Yet at the same it, it’s much easier to get comfortable in a role and just continue to go through the day-to-day motions. It’s great to feel confident at work and feel like we can tackle each task, so instead of seeking growth, we often stick to what is comfortable. However, if you continue on this pattern of comfort and self-assuredness, work will easily become a place of dullness and predictability.
Although sometimes it can bring a challenge, growth, and change in the workplace can be exciting and rewarding in the long run. It allows you to develop more skills, gain confidence in yourself, and expand upon your ability to be creative and innovative. You deserve a job that allows you to both learn and thrive – and if it’s not offering you that then you need to either ask for it or look elsewhere.
POSITIVE WORK CULTURE
According to an article on Linkedin, 70% of working professionals would not tolerate a poor workplace culture, even if it meant working at a leading company. People would sacrifice a higher pay and leading position if it meant taking a position with a positive workplace culture. I don’t think this is really all that surprising, given that a toxic workplace culture can easily lead to feeling unhappy, burnt out, and deeply dissatisfied. Having a poor work culture isn’t that great for employers either because an unhappy work environment is a sure way to promote a high turn-over rate.
To create a strong work culture, employers should strive to convey a culture of belonging, positivity, and unity. Employees should feel welcomed at work, with a good morale amongst co-workers. Rather than fostering competitiveness, management should promote encouragement and support within the workplace. Management should also foster strong company values, and remind it’s employees what the company’s goals are. Employees are more likely to feel important within a greater organization if they are aware of the “why” behind what they do. Having a shared purpose can boost productivity within the company, while also helping to increase employee satisfaction and fulfillment.
This may seem obvious, but you can’t have a WELL-THY workplace if your work does not promote health and wellness. What does this mean? Well, it means providing employees with perks like good health benefits, paid sick leave, flexible vacation days, and a focus on work-life balance. Knowing that the company provides such benefits is a good indicator that the employer views employee wellbeing as important – which ends up being a win-win for both the employee and employer in the long run.
During the interview process, ask how the company promotes health and wellness within the workplace. What are the company values, and how do they demonstrate them? Do they offer programs or resources that reinforce the idea of good health (i.e. some companies have the added bonus of access to a gym or nutritionist)? Unfortunately, not all companies place a strong value on employee health so such health benefits may differ. Therefore, if working for a company that values health and wellness is important to you (which it should), it’s important that you look into their wellness perks.
A strong leader should go beyond just being able to manage effectively. Management should be understanding towards their employees, foster a positive culture, and promote growth and development. Managers are not only responsible for their own career, but also the learning and success of their employees. Therefore, it’s imperative that they have the skills and abilities to effectively be a good leader.
Managers set the tone for the workplace. They are the ones who can easily influence the morale of the company, as they play a key role in creating an atmosphere that is either negative or positive. When employees aren’t happy with the actions or attitudes of their bosses, they are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their position. This may lead to poorer performance, lack of initiative, and enhance the likelihood of quitting.
In order to succeed and grow as a person (and an employee), you need both positive and negative feedback in how you are doing at work. So if you aren’t getting any feedback (or just getting feedback once a year during an annual review), then you are being left in the dark with how you are performing. Feedback boosts confidence, improves performance, and enhances personal growth. If a company lacks in this area, it may be a sign that the employer does not view the employee as a valued team member (which can be a big red flag in the long run!).
If you aren’t getting the feedback you need to succeed, you can easily ask the manager how you are doing. I know it can be scary to ask for feedback because there is a risk that negative aspects will be brought up as well, but if you focus on your overall performance then you need to hear both the good and bad. It’s important to recognize that you can’t improve in an area if you don’t have the awareness that you need to improve in it. Therefore, consistent feedback is key to career growth and happiness.