It’s safe to say your job can make a huge impact on your quality of life. For most of us, we spend around a third of our lifetimes at work.
Knowing how our workplace culture and environment impacts our job satisfaction, motivation, and sense of fulfillment is essential to designing the best employee experience.
If your employees are finding themselves frustrated, feeling unworthy, and sleep-deprived like a zombie, you'll need to focus on creating an environment that uplifts their morale, productivity, and relationships.
What's a human-centric workplace?
A human-centric workplace is one that revolves around its people and considers their specific needs.
Using human-centered design, we can apply the theory to crafting our workplaces, starting with intentionally hearing about the desires and pain points of employees. The end goal is to come up with custom-made solutions that address those specific needs.
Let’s take this approach and see how human-centered design can be applied to the workplace. This concept consists of three unique elements:
Empathy. Meaning that there is genuine care for the people who will be using the workplace environment. It’s essential to build empathy by immersing yourself in the community that will actually be involved with whatever you’re designing, i.e. your employees.
Creativity. Especially in our changed working world, we’ll need to find creative ways to solve new problems that have emerged, such as the problem of loneliness and lack of connection at work.
Business needs. We need to make our workplaces a core support for our employees’ success, particularly when it comes to enabling collaboration and communication.
Creating an environment where employees can thrive starts with involving them in the design process. Here are several strategies that can help humanize your workplace.
Strategies to humanize your workplace
1. Offer flexibility
Flexible working is a major perk to employees. 64% of workers say that flexible scheduling they would like their employer to offer more flexible working arrangements. More schedule flexibility enables workers to balance their work and home life in a way that suits them, ensuring they’re able to enjoy their free time and focus when they are at work.
Giving team members more ownership over their daily routine and productivity demonstrates trust in your team, helping them develop their time management skills. Providing tools such as time-tracking apps is a great way to help team members manage their focus autonomously.
However, flexible scheduling can add some potential challenges, such as getting people on different schedules into a meeting on time. Additional reminders can help employees stay on track here. For example, many companies use SMS appointment confirmations and personal reminders to ensure employees are fully prepared and on time for their meetings.
2. Recognize achievements
Recognition for accomplishments and hard work is an integral part of showing your employees that they’re valued. While praise and appreciation are far from the only motivators in a happy and productive team, make sure that hard work is acknowledged because that’s one more reason people perform at their best.
Recognizing achievement doesn’t only mean rewarding employees for accomplishing set goals and targets. Giving a shout-out for great work in everyday tasks, such as noticing that a team member went above and beyond for a customer or proactively collaborated to solve a difficult problem is just as important. Paying attention to these details and awarding out-of-the-box thinking shows employees their impact and contributions.
3. Focus on employee wellness
Employees who feel overworked or stressed typically don’t do their best jobs, affecting the entire team. Work burnout also leads to demotivation that can influence the mood of other colleagues. Furthermore, employees struggling to manage their workload are less likely to help other team members with their tasks or proactively think about future obstacles and solutions.
These factors highlight how leaders can provide support by initiating direct conversations that address a need for change. For example, regularly discussing ways a team member could streamline their tasks to reduce workload, leaders offering to alter their schedule, or providing advice on switching off after work. These conversations are critical in a remote or hybrid team, where you may not have as much face-to-face time to gauge how team members are feeling.
Taking care of employee wellbeing is essential for its own sake but brings very tangible benefits for your business. Satisfied employees are up to 20% more productive, and it’s known that happy salespeople generate 37% more sales.
4. Create team goals
Rewarding individual accomplishments is one of the critical parts of making people feel valued, but working towards collective team goals is just as important.
Group targets encourage team members to collaborate, unify and share their knowledge with colleagues—which drives overall team performance and drive employee efficiency. Furthermore, this practice in working together gets employees more comfortable asking for or offering their skills to help a colleague.
Achieving a goal together strengthens the bonds between team members. Being part of a close team makes work more fulfilling; and achieving ambitious results can serve as a powerful motivator. When setting up a team-oriented project or team-building task, think about ways to involve remote workers.
5. Office layouts matter
The layout of your office affects how people work and interact in it. Shared workspaces make it easier to communicate and work together, but they have their drawbacks too. Separate work areas and offices enable employees to focus without interruption. They also provide the space for private one-on-one conversations, meetings, and group work. As a result, your office’s mix of shared and private focus pods, meeting rooms, discussion spaces and social areas should reflect the needs of your human-centric workplace.
Teams with remote workers need to consider how they’ll engage everyone in group work and meetings. If you’re using video conferencing to connect remote workers to an in-office meeting, bear in mind that it’s easy to unintentionally prioritize the input of in-office employees over those who are far away. For example, talking across one another is generally bad practice in a meeting, but this can make the conversation unintelligible over a video call. Referring to physical notes and charts can similarly cut remote workers out of the discussion. The bottom line is to grant a platform for everyone to share their ideas without neglecting those who are physically absent.
6. Provide learning and development opportunities
In today’s competitive jobs marketplace, organizations have to promote from within and develop talent in order to sustainably scale. A popular reason why employees quit their jobs is because they feel like their growth is stagnant. Organizations that care about their employees will provide learning and training opportunities so that career advancement is a natural progression for all employees. By investing in your employees’ careers, your teams and overall business will also grow.
At the end of the day, humans want to work at human-centric workplaces. Suppose you want employees to consider a long-term career at your business. In that case, there has to be a workplace environment that fulfills their needs for recognition, personal development, and rewarding teamwork. Companies need to understand their employees’ needs to build the work environment that enables them to thrive in their role and as part of their team.
A human-centric workplace that rewards, supports, and develops its employee’s benefits from motivated teams who are more than ready to meet the next challenge.
Alexa Lemzy is the blog editor and customer service maven atTextMagic. She's extremely enthusiastic about productivity advice, small business tools, and workplace innovations.
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