June 23 2017 - Workplace tension is never fun. The office is not like a social group. When people aren't getting along, they can't choose to simply skip out the next time. Everyone has to come in and do their jobs, and when the environment isn't right, many people will be suffering through their work day. Whether your office environment has actually become unpleasant or you simply feel as though things aren't as great as they could be, you have plenty of options to remedy the situation.
Have a Proper Way to Handle Disputes
No matter how great an office is, things like gossip and disagreements will still happen. You can't always prevent them, but you do have control over the way they're resolved. If you develop a method for employees to speak with a higher up about these issues in confidence and without fear of retaliation, workplace issues can be resolved much sooner. If you have an employee who is a constant troublemaker, it may be worth letting that employee go. It's not worth having one negative attitude bringing everyone else down.
Make Sure Everyone Can Come Together
It's a bit hard to develop friendly working relationships when you're by yourself all the time. If there aren't a lot of meeting places or teamwork areas, nobody will ever have a chance to get to know each other. If everyone is isolated, it may be time to scout Gumtree for a new office space. Open areas encourage interaction. Comfortable break rooms allow for friendly conversation that will help every member of your office feel a little more connected.
Decorate the Office
Believe it or not, aesthetics largely contribute to an environment. When an environment is warm and comfortable, people will feel a little more at ease. Decorate your office to match the vibe you want. Things like fresh flowers, appealing colors, and artwork on the walls create an ambiance that feels a little more like home. Employees will feel welcome from the moment they walk through the door, and work will be a place they're glad to be. People are both happier and friendlier when they're comfortable.
Train Bosses to Be Leaders
You may have heard that employees don't quit jobs, they quit bosses. If a boss is hurting everyone's confidence, they're going to feel trapped in a hostile environment. Some employees may wind up seeking employment elsewhere, and the ones who stick around will be too unhappy to do their best. Leaders need to be role models that encourage everyone to do their best while providing them with the tools that they need to get the job done. If employee-leader relationships are successful, everyone will be more successful.
Let Everyone Relax Once in a While
Burnout is a huge problem. If you suspect your employees feel burned out, give them a little time and space to breathe. If tension is rising and stress levels are already high, nobody is going to be smiling and waving to everyone on their way in. Schedule days where employees can come in just to work on loose ends. Every once in a while, plan to have a day where everyone can come in a little late and leave a little early. Encourage them to spend that day organizing their desks and working on smaller tasks that have been put aside. Everyone will be able to catch their breath and unwind, and at the end, they'll feel less like things have been piling up out of their control.
Remember to ask employees whether or not they feel as though they're working in a friendly environment. Shy, inoffensive employees may be dealing with issues that you aren't aware of. Every successful workplace needs a constant dialogue about what it will take to help things thrive.
Winona Chandler is a blogger based in Sydney, writing for several online magazines and managing a small marketing team at BizDb.co.nz. With a background in IT administration, she likes to cover tech and startup topics.