Identifying a Healthy Workplace

October 05, 2017

We’ve probably all been there before – working jobs that were fun for that season of life, working for companies you thought you’d stay forever but left feeling a bit disillusioned, and (hopefully!) working for some places you’ve simply loved. Loving where you work is a direct result of having a healthy workplace. It may be easy to say you loved it because of the work itself or it was conveniently located near your home, but those are only perks and benefits. The jobs we love – those deserve another category on their own and have nothing to do with traditional perks or cash.

Let me share a few qualities that are often ascribed to a healthy business, organization, or school, and you take a few moments to measure where yours falls in line. Taken from Inc.’s Signs You’re in a Happy Work Environment, Harvard Business Review’s Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive, and from some of our own Morrison experiences; here’s my compiled list of qualities deeming a healthy work atmosphere:

  1. Real Relationships: People who develop positive social connections with others produce much better results. They get sick less, learn faster, remember longer, recover twice as fast from surgery, and perform better at work (Harvard Business Review). UC Irvine found that the probability of dying early is 70% higher for people with poor relationships, outpacing that of obesity, drinking, and smoking.
  2. Low Turnover: Happy people aren’t constantly looking over their shoulder for the next big opportunity… or a way out.
  3. High Empathy Count: Bosses have huge impact on employee wellbeing. A brain-imaging study showed that “when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind or un-empathic, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotions while the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic boss.”
  4. Constant Conversations on Growth: Every single employee should be thinking of ideas to help the company grow. Good leaders inspire it from their employees, and employees should feel empowered that they could begin dreaming up and making real their own future at that company.
  5. “Buena Onda”: Spanish saying translating to ‘giving off good vibes’ or ‘bringing a fresh, tranquil spirit to the place.’ Are people in a good mood at your office? The day to day attitude reflects strongly on a company.
  6. Communication is Everywhere: In healthy workplaces, the staff should rarely be shocked by upcoming events. The team generally knows of the trajectory of the business or a strategy shift in place. Not only is this essential in confirming that every team member is an important part of the whole but also in demonstrating a unified business to your clients and your sector.

The good news is that no matter your workplace’s degree of implementation on these qualities, all of them are also directly applicable to you as an individual. Even if you’re feeling discouraged with your office, try to apply these to your own life this week and see if your office does end up changing even just a little bit simply because you took the effort to change yourself this week.

About the Author

Carissa Ryström is a consultant with Morrison & Company, which provides business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing, recruitment, and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Carissa directly at crystrom@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 210.

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