Five counterintuitive steps for a more productive workplace culture

Rae Steinbach gives us a few different ideas for productive workplace.

Talk of workplace culture is everywhere. Every manager has an idea of the kind of attitude in the office that they would like to develop, but the path toward achieving that goal can be hard to find. An effective feedback loop can help by revealing what employees value and feel, but there’s more to it than just open communication.

In some cases, the steps toward building a healthy workplace culture will seem counterintuitive. Many of the things that seem like a good idea can be counterproductive – it isn’t really something that you can force. Culture develops by the nature of the people in the environment, and it grows out of the values and traits that are reinforced and celebrated by the company.

You can’t change your workplace culture overnight. It is a process that takes time, and you need to be committed to the change.

Whether you are trying to develop an organisational culture from scratch, or just looking to create a more positive attitude, here are five steps that can help to build a more productive workplace culture:

Promote self-care
Healthier employees are going to be happier and more productive. You might not be able to force good health on your staff, but you can do things to promote it. To start, you should live the ideals of a healthier life yourself. You could support gym memberships for employees that want them, and you should try to make healthier snacks and meals more available.

Lose the focus on work/life balance
For many people, the idea of maintaining a work/life balance is overrated. Some people are happy to dedicate much of their time to work, and this brings them the most satisfaction. If you love what you do and feel that your life is fulfilling, there is no need to force an artificial balance.

Let your drive take you to new places in your career, and develop a personal life that is more suited to your goals.

Mindfulness at meetings
The purpose of meetings is to make sure everyone is on the same page, and to ensure that team members understand their obligations. However, a lot of people show up to meetings physically, but they are somewhere else mentally. 

Instead of jumping right into the agenda, start your meetings by going around the room and asking people about how they are feeling. This gives people a few seconds to become present and it will ensure that everyone is engaged and involved from the beginning.

Encourage the intuitive
You don’t want to downplay the importance of analytical thinking, but there is also something to be said for the intuitive side of thinking. Careful analysis is a great way to solve problems, but there are situations where it can take us only so far. Encourage your employees to embrace the intuitive parts of their minds.

Many of the best and most innovative solutions will come from intuition.

Manage autonomy 
It’s great when we can trust our employees to do more on their own. The more autonomy your employees have, the less you have to worry about on a day-to-day basis. However, you don’t want to introduce too much autonomy to your employees too quickly.

Let people grow into new responsibilities, and give people the support and guidance that they will need to succeed as you allow for greater freedom.

You can’t change your workplace culture overnight. It is a process that takes time, and you need to be committed to the change. You need to have a vision of the organisational culture you want, and you need to promote the values and traits that will make that vision a reality.


About the author

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and to continue curating quality content.


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