Note: This is a guest post from Lisa H of Getting to Zen 

titleWe have all worked at places that we were less than excited to get up in the mornings and go to; this is an awful feeling. It is much more pleasurable, and less stressful to go to a work environment that is filled with positivity and enjoyment. A positive work environment is not only important for our physical, mental and emotional health, but is also important for the results that we produce for the company. The better we feel at work, the more likely we will take pride in our job activities and be loyal towards our place of employment.

So let’s look at some ways to create a positive working environment.

1. Accept the right position

The first step to creating a positive work environment is to secure a position that positively suits you. Before you accept a position, you should know what your key skills are; what type of work you want to do, what kind of role you would like, where you see yourself in five years, and what kind of environment you thrive in. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to recognize those opportunities that meet those criteria, giving you a running start.

2. Be a positive person

Present an attitude of positivity and approachability. Show coworkers that you are available and wiling to help them. Walk around with a smile, and make eye contact with those you pass in the hallways. Be friendly, pleasant and nice. Talk with kindness, encouragement, civility, and respect. Ask questions before making assumptions. Be fun to work with. Listen to others with interest; and finally, don’t complain, whine or gossip.

3. Take responsibility

Take responsibility for the direction of your career. Ultimately you are responsible for creating an environment in which you can learn and grow. The longer you stay on a “dead-end” career path, the harder it will be to stay positive. If you are not happy with the current directions of your career, communicate that to your manager if you wish to stay with the company; otherwise, look for another job that you feel is a better match.

4. Communicate with your manager

Meet with your manager regularly to ensure you are on track for meeting his or her expectations, and your performance goals. Don’t always wait for your manager to reach out to you. Informing your manager about the status of the activities you are performing shows that you are credible, trustworthy, interested in the business, and committed to your job. You may even consider sending a weekly status report indicating what you are working on, what you have completed, and what you have pending.

5. Be social

Interact with your colleagues in a non-working way. Join a company team or group. Bring a few games in that you can play over your lunch break. Celebrate birthdays, and other special events. Cultivate working friendships. Organize a competitive sporting event. Organize a departmental pot luck lunch. There are so many things that you can do to connect with others while at work.

So, if you are wondering what a positive work environment looks like, here are some signs.

  • You are doing a job that you enjoy
  • Your ideas are valued
  • Your creativity is encouraged
  • You feel appreciated
  • The job matches your skill set
  • You have work friends that you can talk to
  • Your manager is approachable
  • There is room for you to grow
  • You are recognized when you do good work
  • You feel like a part of a team
  • You look forward to coming to work
  • You are respected
  • You are happy while at work
  • Work is fun

See you in the comments.

Lisa H (aka RunningBear) is a technical writer living in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She enjoys long distance running, cooking, sewing and blogging. Her blog, Getting to Zen, includes articles on personal development, enlightenment, consciousness and awareness.

Photo by mudpig


Categories: Working

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

  • http://lookingtobusiness.com Daniel M. Wood

    Loving you job and having a positive working environment is critical to your well being and your future success.
    I think you really hit the spot with this article and if you think about all these tips you can easily either create a nice environment or find that the company or industry you are working in just isn’t the right one for you and that it is time to change.

  • http://www.oplife.org Roman Soluk

    Being positive is very important. Really nice & helpful tips. Thanks a lot for sharing this, Lisa!

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    Hi Daniel. Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree. No sense is staying at a place that is literally making you sick. It is up to us to create our own destinies.

  • Lisa

    Hi Roman.
    Thanks. I find that a happy worker is a good worker. :-)

  • http://nlp-way.com Ben Tien

    Nobody will deny that a positive work environment is fundamental for a sound organization. A positive work environment is like a fertile soil that will help to produce a high quality of products and services.

  • http://www.ciosteve.com Steve Berg

    Great article Lisa. I especially agree with the point about soliciting feedback intentionally from your manager. Never assume silence from him/her means things are rosy!

  • ira

    Lisa.. Thank you for your tips.
    I just want to share my experience,
    I have quit from my job, eventhough :
    - I was doing a job that i enjoy
    - I think that my ideas are valued

    But :
    - My creativity is not encouraged
    - I don’t feel appreciated
    - My manager is not approachable
    - There is no room for me to grow
    - I am not recognized when I do good work
    - I don’t feel like a part of a team
    - I am not respected
    - I am unhappy while at work
    - Work is not fun

    That was true.
    When I arrived at home from office, i was crying.
    I love The job, but i didn’t feel comfortable.
    And i am happy to escape from the job.
    :)

    • Ken

      Ira, you made the right decision, I hope that you had another job lined up though before you resigned. Did they do an exit interview with you where you could state your reasons for leaving? If properly handled, Human Resources should use these as a means of correcting situations as you experienced. Loving your job means you never have to work another day in your life! Hope things work out well for you.

  • http://www.mindrecipes.com Brenda Freeman

    Good post. I decided a long time ago that when I was working in a job, then I would make the decision that while I was there, I would make the most out of that experience.

    I have had jobs in the past that weren’t ideal, but I focused on why I was there rather than why I didn’t want to be there. When my children were younger, it was to help pay the bills. There was a tangible reason for working.

    i also made the decision that if I had to be at work, I was going to enjoy it and make the best of anything that came my way. This made a huge difference to my job satisfaction. Now I have the luxury of choosing where and if I want to work, and still having fun.

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree. Sometimes in life we may have to take a job that does not perfectly suit us in order to take care of ourselves and our family. However, this does not mean that we can’t make the best of it or learn something from it–there are growth opportunities every where.

    Focusing on why you are there is critical to staying sane in a job that does not suit you well. It also helps to remind yourself that you won’t be there forever, and that it is just a stepping stone on the way to what you really want.

    Congratulations on being able to create the career that you want–and enjoy it.

  • http://thedropoutkid.com/blog/ jonathanfigaro

    I think the best way to meet people is to join social gathering. So for example if you an author, join a writing club. If you like soccer join a soccer team. If you like sex, well…I can’t help you there, but you get the point.

    Be social, Get out there, Make something of yourself and the day you have right now. There is no tomorrow so seek what you want and you’ll find it. Start today.

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    Hey there. Good point. Ever heard the saying you’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take? You have to get out an amongst the people.

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    @ Ben Tien. Hi Ben. Love the way you put that. Very true. Only a good fertile soil will yield crops with high nutritional value. The same goes for the places we work.

    @Steve. Hi Steve. Thanks. Yes, I find that soliciting feedback is so important to not only keeping the line of communication open, but to building a relationship of trust and reliability. In fact I wish I had learned this earlier in my career.

    @Ira. Hi Ira. Sorry to hear about that. That is a hard place to be–when you love the job, but the people there are making it very difficult to enjoy. It sounds like you are on your way to bigger and better things. Good luck with everything.

  • http://www.mindadventure.com/blog rob white

    Hi Donald,
    Very nice article. It is so important to take responsibility for your career. There is a sense of entitlement that creeps in that has people feel they deserve to move up… this has people reach a ‘dead end’ very quickly. Being successful requires going the extra mile… not just showing up to collect a check.

  • http://hpshappy.blogspot.com HP van Duuren

    Thanks for your post,

    The Work environment is definitely something that is important.
    I remember years ago during my Military Service getting up in the early morning in the Winter Cold getting out of my tent, right into my ‘Out-door-office’ than washing my face firstly removing the thin layer of ice out of the water with really K-k-k-k-k-kold water!!! :)

    Fortunately most office environments usually will have
    slightly better conditions.

    When you like to read a little about my

    - Happy Worker –

    ‘Out-door-home-office’

    Where in Summer I can sit in the Sun, you definitely want to
    read my ‘Short Story’ here below:

    http://hpshappywriting2.blogspot.com/2010/08/writers-workspaces-that-inspire.html

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Work Environment - Inspiration,
    HP

  • http://www.peppervirtualassistant.com/ cheska

    I like #2. being positive is really important because everything follows after it. If you have a positive outlook, no matter how hard a situation is, for sure you will find the solution or the answer in no time. having a positive outlook will also reflect a lot in your output at work.

  • http://www.6aliens.com Ben

    Hi Lisa

    I really like this and your points here. I think an important one for me is “communicating well with your manager” I don’t think I’ve done that recently and I am responsible for the awkward feeling between us. Your tips about meeting regularly has given me a great idea. Thanks!

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    Hi Ben. Thanks.Yes that is a very important one for me too. I know that my relationship with my manager is so good because of it. Sounds like you know what to do. Have great rest of the work week. :-)

  • http://www.gettingtozen.com/ Lisa

    @ Cheska. Very true. Attitude and perspective are everything!!! I find that the more positive I am, the more good I am able to draw into my life. :-)

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  • VS

    Hi Lisa,
    I enjoyed reading your article, but here’s my current situation.

    I am in a work environment that isn’t exactly negative nor toxic, but just isn’t for me.

    I know you mentioned the part about cultivating friendships with co-workers, i find that to be so true.

    But what if you, like me, happens to be a sore thumb at work, in an environment where EVERYONE is either married and/or a parent, and you are the only one with no kids?

    What if, you are under obligation to join them for lunch every single day of the week, only to hear these smug married parents actually literally COMPARING their kids….I actualyl encountered one colleague A teasing another colleague B that at least he isn’t selfish cos he has two kids, unlike B, who only stopped at one?

    What if, you, like me, are in a social subculture at work, when you are the only one who’s single without kids, and EVEN single parents fit in better than you do, simply because they have children to talk about?

    What if, you, like me, are the only single in the company who’s still living with parents and having a shitty time, that you don’t feel comfortable disclosing at work?

    What if, you, like me, is having a highly complex long distance relatioonship with a man who is not your conventional husband material, and SERIOUSLY DO NOT WISH TO DISCLOSE THIS to any of your colleagues as a group (except one or two whom you can confide in?

    What if, you, like me, has to keep changing subject, everytime questions about my personal life is asked?

    I wonder how this will affect my promotion prospects, because other than the “uncomofrtable” social work environment, I believe i have the potential to be very good at this job. Also, by keeping my personal life separate from professional, i am not breachign Employee handboook rules.

    BBut it’s just that, there’s this unofficial social subculture to conform to, which I am not very comfortable (yet).

    So, do you think I can survive for at least a year, without disclosing much about my complex personal situatiion, but yet, maintain a cordial and good working relationship?

    Or should I look for another job, while it’s soon enough. i’ve only been in the company for 3 weeks.

    cheers

  • http://www.gettingtozen.cm Lisa H.

    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear about your current situation. Putting it in perspective…it is just one of those life challenges meant to make you stronger.

    Are you saying the social aspect of the work environment isn’t for you or is the work not for you?

    I ask this because if you enjoy the work, are getting paid well and no one is harrassing you, it may be worth it to stay–after all, you are there for a paycheck and to hopefully do work that fulfills you.

    You may want to give it more time to see if the group’s conversations change. However, if they are just not the kind of people you want to hang out with or the conversations don’t change, befriend someone in another group. For me, all of my work friends are in groups other than mine. They were just people that I met while walking down the halls.

    Your personal life is none of their business. If you are asked personal questions, have vague answers that you have already prepared to respond with. I am sure the same questions are being asked over and over. Hopefully from your vague answers they will get the hint that you do not want to discuss your personal life. If they keep pressing, you can let them know that you would prefer to keep your personal life separate from your work life (say this in your own words). If that is not respected, find other people to eat with.

    You are not obligated to eat with your co-workers for even one day. If they are professional, they should understand that. Kindly let them know that you have made other plans for lunch and go about your day. Really, you choosing to eat by yourself shouldn’t been seen as anything more than you want to do something different. However, if it affects any part of your work, including promotions, then maybe that is not the place to be.

    As far as staying there, I would take it day by day. If you have one or two co-workers that have become friends that you can confide in, that is great!!. Go off and have lunch with them.

    I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t maintain a good cordial working relationship without disclosing your personal situation. Just don’t do it. It is none of their business if you don’t want it to be.

    These are just my opinions.
    Hope this helps.
    Let me know how it goes.
    Good luck.

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  • http://www.Pusitiboo.com Alvin

    This is a really nice post. I made a post about creating the best place to work, and I think your has got the better content.:-0

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration. Will try to create a work environment just as you do!

  • mn

    Hi – This article is great – thank you.

    For the past two years I have loved my job; the responsibilities are spot on for my skill level, I am challenged daily, great managers, great team, I moved to live close to the office so I could work longer hours and retain a life balance and made a large circle of friends in other departments by networking.

    Last month I was moved to another office location, along with 8 coworkers, the remaining 100+ people I have worked with for the past 2years remain in the existing space. The new space is baron, dark, 15% occupied and depressing. Not only do I now have to commute on the subway every day but I arrive to a lacklustre and lonely office space.

    I have tried speaking with my managers to no avail. If anything I have damaged my career by highlighting my unhappiness however I am frustrated that I no longer love coming to work and instead cry most mornings at the prospect of my lonely and demotivating day ahead.

    Any suggestions?

  • Elsa

    Hi,
    I have been working with the same company, same job for the past 6 years. The company and the environment is excellent that i never want to move from this company. However i want to change my current role. I hold a supervisory position in the team. I tried various interviews in the company to obtain a promotion but failed each one. I was once the backbone of the team. i was there for every event and was the person handling all important tasks (not boasting!). That time i felt very important and loved my job. Now, there’s nothing other than my regular work that i do. My regular work is of routine nature and the most boring of all. There’s very little i have to input. i work as a transcriber. Now i am feeling totally demotivated. Though i am working in a team i always feel people are backtalking. My manager doesnt speak to me much nor does she give me any tasks to do. Even if she asks me to do anything i dont like doig it and just lazes around delaying it. She knows that i think but has never ever asked me for a reason. I want to change my role to a role where i can fit in but i have family constraints with relation to working hours. most of the other jobs i prefer requires travelling abroad or a late shift which is not feasible for me as i have a small kid and a jobless husband to take care of. I feel completely lost and hates every morning as i have to come to office. What do i do? how do i create a positive environment? Pls suggest a solution. i have no answer for my problem and doesnt know who to ask for a solution.

  • Danie

    Hi, Lisa

    I’m asking you a permission to using this article for info to my friends.

    This is a good input for us

    thanks

  • kim

    what is the metric you use to know you have provided a positive environment

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