Contribute to a Positive Environment
By Elizabeth Davis & Stacey MacArthur
First, we want to acknowledge that there is a multitude of working environments. Some people work in an office, some people work as part of a large team, some individuals work outside, and others work from a home. Regardless of the type or location of employment, it is important to recognize that we all experience and contribute to the working environment, our own and often of our colleagues.
Things that affect our work environment may include:
- Physical set up (e.g., amount of natural light, presence of plants, clutter, etc.)
- Distractions auditory or visual distractions
- Support (administration, emotional, social, etc.)
- Whatever we bring with us
- Mood or mindset
- Stressors (positive or negative)
- Level of wellbeing
So, what can we do to contribute to a positive work environment? First, identify what is in your control and what is not, then focus on what you are able to influence. Stay connected to your colleagues, organization, and social circle. Promote and maintain a positive transparent communication style. Be inclusive of differences and promote a safe culture where it is safe to speak up, try new things, and fail. Provide meaningful and positive recognition and appreciation in order to create a sense of belonging. (See Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty) (5 Characteristics of A Positive Work Environment).
These elements will take time to establish and will need constant attention as people and situations change (e.g., COVID-19, change in personnel, etc.). Individually we do not have the ability to create our ideal work environment, however, it is incumbent upon us to intentionally contribute to a work environment that is safe, congenial, and productive. For example, we cannot demand or force belonging, however, we can always include others and model the expectation.
As we consider what our contribution to our own work environment can be, keep in mind that setting yourself and others up for success comes down to the emotional, intellectual, and physical ways that you support them (6 simple ways to foster a positive work environment).