Work That Lifts You Up: Building A Healthier Workplace

Creating a healthy work culture takes effort and time, but its benefits make the journey worth it. Follow these tips to get started.
Here are some tips to identify harmful work practices, and take the necessary actions to build a healthier work environment.

It is normal to feel stressed at work sometimes – after all, every job has its bad days. But if the stress is constant and you are often losing sleep or falling ill, it may be a warning sign that your workplace is toxic.

Other signs to look out for are poor internal communication, unhealthy competition between employees, and the erosion of work-life boundaries. These factors can eventually hinder productivity, and harm employees’ mental and physical health.

According to research on the effects of toxic workplaces on employee engagement, employees in a bad work environment also spread negative feelings among co-workers. They are less connected to the organisation’s goals and values, which reduces individual productivity as well as the organisation’s.

Having a healthy workplace can be a valuable pillar of support during difficult times.

Cultivating a Healthier Workplace

In a healthy workplace, stress and other problems are not absent – they are merely well-managed.

Healthy workplaces not only generate better employee wellbeing and productivity, they can also be a valuable pillar of support during difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are an employee or leader, anyone can initiate action to make a workplace healthier. Follow these tips to start:

Tip 1: Encourage Open Conversation

Clashes can happen when there is no open conversation. Voicing your opinions and encouraging your colleagues to do the same will give them the trust and confidence that they can speak up or disagree. For employees to feel that they are being heard, everyone on the team should practice good listening, empathy and self-awareness.

Tip 2: Be Transparent Where Possible

Being transparent does not only mean sharing information about performance and internal processes. It also includes relaying news – both good and bad.

Masking bad news might result in your colleagues finding out about it in harmful ways, such as through rumours and gossip. Communicating bad news sensitively and proactively, on the other hand, will help to build trust, motivation and productivity.

But remember to ensure that any information you share does not breach the Official Secrets Act or other confidentiality agreements.

Regularly giving and receiving feedback leads to more informed decisions and better growth strategies.

Tip 3: Give and Receive Feedback

According to technology company Zoho Corporation, feedback that is a two-way process leads to more informed decisions and better growth strategies.

Regularly giving feedback helps your colleagues understand how their work performance is perceived and what they can improve on. Similarly, seeking and being receptive to feedback is essential for career growth. It also lets your colleagues see that you can accept responsibility and are willing to improve yourself, which will strengthen your relationships with them.

Tip 4: Support Everyone’s Mental Health and Well-being

There are many small ways you can support your everyone’s wellbeing at work. Khoo Swee Giang, Lead Psychologist at the Singapore Civil Defence Force, shares a few possibilities:

  • Set clear boundaries. Separating office and personal time is very important, especially since working from home can blur the line between the two.
  • Make time to check in. Ask your colleagues if they are okay. If they answer “no”, be prepared to set aside time to listen to them. It is also good to check in with them later to see how they are coping.
  • Avoid labels. It is usually not helpful to attach labels when people are sharing their experiences with us, such as asking someone who is feeling down if they are depressed. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen.

Tip 5: Recognise and Reward

Employees who feel appreciated are motivated to perform better, so hard work and good actions should not go unnoticed. Recognition can be as simple as praising your colleagues during meetings, or sending regular messages of appreciation in the work chat group/platform. Rewards can be tied to performance standards to encourage a little friendly competition. What’s most important is that the gestures are sincere.

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    Dec 10, 2021
    Hidayah Md Sham
    Lei Ng
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