A how-to guide for building and sustaining high-energy workplaces
I am sure you have at some point walked into an office or meeting room where the tension is so high it is almost palpable. It appears that people are not getting along with each other, or are distant acquaintances at best. Everyone looks serious and jaded. A low energy, low-on-positivity workplace is contagious.
Amidst pressing personal and professional needs, new-age distractions, and high-stress city living, it is not hard to see why your employees might get jaded more easily than before. It can be a silent killer for your organization’s productivity, creativity, and positive work environment. Clearly, employee well-being is good for business.
What low energy workplaces really mean
First, one myth that must be shattered is that employees of such organizations don’t love what they do. In my own experience, even jobs one loves can have boring, staid, or extremely stressful days. In fact, every job and form of employment is a combination of crests and troughs, excitement and monotony, successes and failures.
A low-energy workplace could just mean your workforce needs a shot in the arm – a daily motivation of sorts that is of its own making.
What high-energy employees and environment can do for the organization
There are so many benefits of such an environment. It makes everything exciting – from ordering staid lunches to thrashing out weekly reports. It lightens the mood to the point of employees wanting to come in to work for their daily dose of fun before moving on to the serious issues. It encourages constant innovation, from the smallest projects to the big-ticket wins. It works perfectly towards a collaborative culture. Friends and people who have fun together are known to have each others’ backs and make powerful, high-performance teams.
The essential ingredients of a high-energy workplace
- Respect for the individual: Work teams are made up of diverse adults with varying degrees of IQ and EQ. Personal and professional insecurities thrive in the hyper-competitive environments of new-age workplaces. While competition is great to raise the quality bar, it can also manifest itself in negative forms, like judgment and confrontation. Respectful engagement removes negativity and focuses on getting the job done. Objective communication takes away any tension that may root from personal insinuations. It also allows people to speak up fearlessly about things they care about. Respect for the individual and basic decency – irrespective of performance, gender, and designation – are crucial ingredients of positive, high-energy workplaces.
- Knowing when and how to communicate: Lack of communication within teams is the most important ingredient that drives negativity and interpersonal issues. It is important that direct, fearless, yet respectful feedback becomes a norm in your team and organization. If such issues are not addressed objectively and early on, they are only going to bring down energy levels and breed cliques and politics. There are two ways to achieve this. One is that employers stop treating errors as the end of the world. Two, employees need to be trained in giving constructive feedback to each other. Not everybody is a natural when it comes to tough conversations. It is important that they are shown the right and wrong ways to communicate at the workplace without stopping the dialogue or getting into conflict bottlenecks for the smallest of reasons.
- Not taking everything too seriously: Sure, it’s work. Sure, it is important. But is it really the end of the world? You decide. The ability to lighten the load at the workplace is grossly underrated. Good humour brings teams closer as individuals faster than anything else.
Contrary to what most organizations believe, creating and sustaining high-energy workplaces needs consistent effort. It is not about the one-off Friday drinks or lunches, offsites, and celebrating big wins. It is about finding the ability to see each other as normal, functioning human beings who need to socialize in fun, happy company. But most importantly, it is not that difficult to achieve if everyone behaves themselves!
Read Also: 5 tips to making your team super productive