Creating a great office environment isn’t the sole responsibility of the PIC — person in charge. While the business owner, managers and/or supervisors certainly have an effect based on their style of management, they are only half the total equation. The other half is the employees themselves.
I recently came across several points outlining how to be happy. I realized that these can easily be applied to the work environment from an employee’s perspective. I fully believe that every person is solely responsible for their own happiness. Life is not about what happens but what you do with what happens. Similarly, working in a happy and productive (both in terms work completed and personal development) is, in part, each person’s own responsibility. Here are a few pointers to maintain a productive environment where you work.
See work as a gift, not punishment
This is every business owner’s dream: to have employees that see work as an opportunity rather than a requirement. I’ve always made it a point to create an environment where employees don’t dread coming to work on Mondays. But I also realize that I don’t have the sole power to do this. Each employee has to have the right motivation and the right mindset.
Coming to work with a negative attitude not only makes your day worse, but it creates a negative environment for everybody else. If work is seen as something you get to do rather than something you have to do, you can actually start enjoying what you do. This gives you greater enjoyment while producing better results that get you recognized for your contribution.
Recognize the value of your employer
It’s unfortunate, but most people just don’t understand the pressures that every business owner/manager faces each day. This is something that I didn’t truly realize until I owned my own business and hired my first employees. While I believe my greatest assets are the people working for me, it’s important that employees recognize the contribution that the employer provides them.
Sure, you work for your paycheck, but it doesn’t have to be you working to get that paycheck. It can often just as easily be someone else. As much as any employee wants to be recognized for the contributions they make, most employers enjoy getting the same recognition. You don’t have to suck-up to appreciate and stand behind the boss. You just have to recognize their value to you.
Pursue work compatible with your strengths
This is so important if you want to be happy at your job. You have to 1) find a job that you enjoy, and 2) find a job at a level compatible with where you are personally and professionally. Many people are always looking for the next job that will help them move up the corporate ladder and into a higher pay bracket. There is nothing wrong with that unless you seek out and find jobs that are ultimately beyond your means. The bigger paycheck may be nice but the pressures and expectations put on you may be more than you can bear.
Soon you can find yourself producing work that isn’t up to the quality or quickness that is expected of you–the expectation you created for yourself. This, in turn, can then cause the boss to constantly be “getting on your case” causing stress for him/her and yourself. Unless you’re capable of quickly improving, you’ll ultimately find yourself looking for other work, either voluntarily or otherwise.
Learn everything possible about your job
This is the fastest way to get yourself a promotion. Don’t just learn all there is to know about your job, but learn about the job functions of those around you. Well, first do learn everything there is to know about your job. And don’t stop there. Keep learning, growing and improving in your position. But once you’ve got that down, start expanding your knowledge.
The more you know about your job and the jobs of those around you, the more valuable you become to your employer. When another employee is out sick they know who they can rely on to fill the void. If there is an open position, again, your knowledge makes you the go-to person to fill in. It also provides you opportunities to continue to move up as you may be the best person to fill an open spot.
Use criticism to your advantage
No matter how hard you work there will come a time when criticism is leveled about something. It may be warranted or not (don’t assume it’s not just because you don’t want to accept it) but in every criticism, there is something that can be learned and applied. Use that as an opportunity to grow and mature. Even if criticism is unwarranted, you can use it as an opportunity to learn how not to put yourself in a position to be criticized like that again. That can be a valuable learning experience in itself.
All criticism, no matter how biting, can be turned into a positive, if you allow. Take what you can, figure out what you can change and change it. Us it to determine what others are looking for from you and then give them what they want. This doesn’t mean you have to compromise who you are, it just means that you find and fix what you can to be a more valuable employee.
Do more than is expected of you
So many times we find that we do only that which is expected of us. This is a trap of complacency. Life rarely rewards those who only do what they are supposed to do. You can “go the extra mile” by educating yourself or learning new tricks and strategies that help you improve your job. You can also do it through a combination of little, but helpful, things around the office. There is nothing more pleasing than someone to considers the needs of others before they think about their own needs.
But job improving and expanding job performance is by far the most important thing you can do. If you like your job and love the work that you do, do more. Don’t just come into the office 9 to 5, but stay until the job is done and, whenever possible, help someone else with their tasks. Take some work home with you or spend some additional education time while out of the office. You can add to your value as an employee by doing what is expected, or you can multiply to that by doing more.
One of the biggest frustrations a business owner or manager faces is not having enough time or people to do all the things that need to be done. This is even more true for visionaries that see so much more potential out of their company, but are limited by current resources. Every employee’s contribution in all the areas above, not only create a better work environment but they also create a better company. One that is able to do more with less.
This ultimately benefits everyone. The more productive a company is, the higher the profits that can be re-invested into personnel and growing the company further. As the company grows, new opportunities arise for everyone, including better pay, better bonuses, better benefits, etc. etc. Most people don’t realize the full value of their contribution to a company. This, of course, is largely management’s fault. It’s their job to ensure that each employee not only is reminded of their value but received ample rewards and opportunities for each employee’s valued contribution to the company.