Staying positive at work in times of austerity

Feeling “Like a Monday” 

Working life has its ups and downs but nothing is as disruptive as negative people in the workplace to create tension and contribute to general misery.
We live in times of economic uncertainties and no-one knows yet when the recession will finally be far behind us and companies can start planning ahead again. But in the meantime, the gloomy news in the newspapers and ongoing insecurities ruin people’s morale and breeds negativity in the workplace.
However it is now more crucial than ever to maintain positivity in order for the company and the staff to support each other and overcome together these troubled times.  Managers cannot afford to let a climate of negativity settle within their workplace, they must do all they can to re-direct people’s energies towards the common objectives.
 
Taking pro-active steps

Promoting positive energy flows in the office helps get over everyday frustrations, tensions, disagreements and worries to find a common ground and solutions that are mutually satisfying. It is therefore quite important not to wait for moans and complains to react, but nip all negativity in the bud and take pro-active steps to create a positive work environment.
Good communication is key. Smart managers neutralise the grapevine by informing staff of corporate facts and difficulties that are of interest to them; this may include mentioning strategic actions taken to overcome problems. Likewise, consulting staff on cost-saving initiatives and listening to their ideas shows respect and encourages commitment and creativity: nobody knows their job better than the person who’s doing it, making them the most qualified to come up with ideas to improve efficiency and reduce spending.
Line managers or people with responsibility to focus on positive things, be approachable and play their part to boost morale: constructive assessments and evaluations can be an opportunity to praise the work done and fix new objectives together.
Staff motivation is essential: in spite of the threats, the company must rely on their workforce to go on and perform as well as possible in a hostile environment. This is about making people feel valued, by fostering initiatives and giving responsibilities.
 
To encourage good team spirit and boost cooperation, social activities can be promoted within the company (e.g. celebrating commercial milestones or birthdays).This does not have to cost a fortune – the company may just let staff benefit from corporate prices or group bookings. Improved group dynamics and unity will contribute to the company’s strength and competitiveness. And many underlying issues can be improved outside the workplace.
 
Improving the workplace can also be an efficient tool to boost morale, giving staff some say in how they want their office/workshop organised and decorated. Here also, this is not about investing in new office furniture: sometimes just moving desks around to enjoy more light or a better view may do wonders.
 
A benefit for all

A boost in positive attitude is a boost in productivity; it translates by a reduction in sick days and greater staff retention which are a welcome effect. Happier employees are keener to give their best and show motivation and greater commitment, an invaluable strength to fight and achieve better performances as a company.

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