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The Ideal Workplace: What Makes It That Way?

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The Ideal Workplace: What Makes It That Way?

As the owner of a startup, you should take some time to think about the ideal workplace. What does it look like to you? Is it a place where everyone gets on well? A place where employees are given the freedom to work flexible hours? Somewhere with comfortable furniture?

Why does any of this matter? Because the closer to ideal that your workplace is, the more likely you are to attract the best employees, who can really make a significant impact to your startup, and the more loyal and productive your employees are likely to be. Those are all important things, and that’s why you should think about what makes the ideal workplace and how you can use those ideals to improve your company.

To get you started, here are some pretty important things that help to make an ideal workplace:

Having a Clear Purpose

Having a clear vision for your business of obviously pretty important for you as it’s owner – without one you’re likely to lack direction and you’ll never truly know how well you’re hitting your milestones. However, you might be surprised to learn that having a clear purpose is important to employees too.

Staff like to know why they’re here, what they’re expected to do and how their contribution will help to improve the company as a whole. So, when you’re just starting out, sit down with a sheet of paper, or open up Word on your Macbook and start writing down your aims; use your aims to create a mission statement that is clear, concise and realistic. This will help to make your company a better place to work.

Giving Your Staff Specific Roles

It’s not enough to just have a clear purpose for your company, if you want your startup to be a great place to work, you need to ensure that each and every member of your staff has goals and missions of their own. These should be clearly defined, realistic and tailored to their specific skill set. You should also monitor their progress periodically. Why? Because employees like to feel useful. If they feel like they’re just coasting or doing pointless tasks, then they’ll get bored and disheartened, and they might just jump ship.

Transparency

You might be the big boss man or woman, but that doesn’t mean that you should withhold information about your company from your employees. Numerous pieces of research have shown that companies that keep staff in the loop by informing them of developments and doing so truthfully are happier environments which are able to retain more staff for longer and this is what you need when you’re trying to grow a startup into something bigger. So, take the time to get into conversations with your employees, pass on news, be it good or bad, and generally just try to be as open and honest as you can. You will be rewarded for doing so.

Make it Comfortable

This might seem, on the face of it, like a rather minor point. However, it’s anything but. Think about it, you and your employees are going to spend, probably 8 hours 5 days a week in the office – that’s a lot of time. If you’re uncomfortable, then you won’t work quite so hard, you’ll struggle to stay focused, and you’ll probably get sick more often. That’s why you should invest in office furniture that’s comfy,  ergonomically designer and wherever possible, nice to look at too. It’s also why you should make a bit more effort with decor – no one wants to work in a clinical white or grey cube with no plants or artwork to enjoy.

Invest in Growth and Development

You know what your employees really want? They want the opportunity to grow. If you can give it to them in the form of ongoing training and promotions that challenge their intellect and boost their skills, then they will be a whole lot happier than if you just plonk them at a desk and leave them to do the same set of tasks day after day, week after week.

Investing in development also shows employees that you genuinely care about them and want them to do well, which will make them feel more loyalty to your company. You’ll probably notice an upswing in productivity too.

Offer Flexibility

It’s the 21st Century, and in a lot of industries, especially those that are office-based, there is no need for everyone to be at work at the same time; in fact, quite often, there isn’t any need for them to show up at the office at all thanks to remote working. So, why not do the cool thing and let your employees work to a flexible schedule. As long as they get their work done on time, what does it matter?

If you’re thinking that they’ll slack off should you let them work flexibly, and especially if you let them work from home, you should know that the research shows just the opposite – home workers and those with flexible schedules are actually more productive. So everyone benefits!

Offer Good Salaries, Perks and Promotions

It might be difficult to sway this one when you’re a startup, but you should try to offer your employees as competitive a salary as you can possibly manage. If that isn’t exactly the greatest salary compared to others then don’t worry – that will change once you’ve experienced some growth- in the meantime, try to think of any perks, such as working from home or generous discounts, maybe even stock options, that could make up for it.

You should also make it clear that your employees will be considered for promotion because that’s a pretty important part of creating a good workplace – most employees don’t want to stand-still.

Get to Know Your Employees

Your employees aren’t just numbers; they aren’t mindless drones who turn up at 9 and leave again at 5 – they are real people with real lives, If you want your workplace to be as close to ideal as you can get it, you’d do well to remember that. Take the time to learn their names (this usually isn’t hard n a startup), ask them about their family, their hopes, their ambitions – basically get to know them.

This might seem like a simple thing, and only common decency, but so many employers don’t bother to do it, and it can really zap morale and make staff feel like they aren’t cared about. If you can buck this trend and not only get to know them but celebrate their successes and commiserate their failures right along with them, they will enjoy working for you, and they will be loyal to your brand.

Be Fair

As a startup owner, it’s important that you don’t play favourites. You might naturally build up more of a rapport with some of your employees more than others, but you should never let this colour your decisions. If you discipline one person for a certain mistake, then you should do the same when anyone else makes that same mistake, the same goes for rewards. A fair workplace is a workplace where people want to be.

Don’t Forget the Fun

Whether it’s dress down Friday, bring your dog to work day, or just giving your employees the time and space to relax a little and have some fun together, it’s important to introduce a little fun into the workplace. You might be there to work, but if it’s a joyless, endless slog, everyone will hate it and productivity will take a nosedive.

No business is perfect, but if you implement as many of these ideas as practical, yours will come pretty close to ideal.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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