stimulating work enviornment

Discover 10 tips for creating a stimulating work environment

Having the ability to create a stimulating work environment is the ultimate dream of many HR managers. Some of these dreams are partially fulfilled, and others come true somehow. This post provides some suggestions on how to try and improve your employees’ lives. 

Looking for a stimulating work environment

Although it is not a new phenomenon but something practically intrinsic to our work, thoughts on what it takes to generate a stimulating work environment and the conclusions reached have been gaining new momentum over the last few years. Some of the reasons for this resurgence can be found in what we have experienced in the wake of the pandemic. The pandemic may have accelerated this phenomenon, which was already underway beforehand. This brings us to a new certainty: the boundary between “professional” and “personal” has never been more fictitious. Therefore, the two do not interrupt people’s aspiration to enjoy optimal psychological well-being

In this context, especially in the USA, there has recently been a large-scale workplace phenomenon dubbed the Great Resignation. Put very simply, thousands of workers have decided to restructure their careers by simply resigning from their jobs because they felt that the conditions under which they were working were forcing them to lead unhealthy lifestyles. These people did not enjoy a stimulating work environment or not enough—a warning to companies.

stimulating work environment

This phenomenon gradually gives way to another trend, closely related but not the same: the Great Reshuffle. This time it refers to the significant shifts taking place – and must continue – within companies and labor relations to create a stimulating work environment, at least to ensure that the psychological well-being of employees is not undermined. 

Beyond arranging remote work

However, employees are not satisfied and are demanding ambition. A significant restructuring that is limited to redesigning the physical or virtual space in which work is carried out does not seem like a major restructuring. 

Therefore, companies should also focus on internal communication channels, internal social benefits policies, and the type of professional profiles they are looking to recruit. This includes improving how these profiles are attracted, i.e., what methodology is followed to represent the company to them as a stimulating work environment: conveying the company’s mission, values, and objectives to its current internal customers – the employees – and to future employees. 

Creating a stimulating work environment is not, therefore, a raffle. We need to rethink the relationship between the individual interests of each employee and the shared interests of the employees and the company. 

As ordinary customers, we are used to the fact that market evolution encourages us to ask for new products/services served according to different styles. In a way that the product/service and our relationship are adapted to our needs, characteristics, or tastes. 

That does not change, but it is different. It is about generating an increasingly satisfying customer experience, given what has been valid at other times in history.

Job stimulation for insiders

Indeed, workers are also customers. They are the first customers of the companies they work for. Not surprisingly, those companies that are aware of this explicitly consider them as “internal customers” and design strategies to keep them happy (positively stimulated) and provide them with a satisfying experience (the famous “employee experience“). The aim is to retain them in the company and to ensure that, based on their satisfaction, they generate the best possible productivity

The concept of stimulation is related to how things trigger us, attract our attention, gratify us, inspire us and motivate us. This is perfectly applicable to the world of work. More and more workers place this factor at the center of their ambitions. Work must be sufficiently stimulating for us if we do not want our emotional well-being – and therefore our commitment to the company and our day-to-day performance – to suffer. 

The company’s role in creating stimulating work environments

Achieving what we are talking about is, to a large extent, the responsibility of each employee, but it also implies the necessary participation from companies. Companies have an essential role in providing that “missing experience” that keeps the employee in the right emotional tone to, firstly, stay with the company and, secondly, contribute all their talent to it

What stimulates each person at work is personal, so HR managers should not cling to general or prefabricated solutions. Companies must identify the factors that cause the employee’s “stimulation” to drop, i.e., to make their experience as an employee less satisfying. It is necessary to listen to what people say about their needs, what ideas they have to improve the company’s performance, and what they complain about.

Every piece of information is helpful to understand employees’ needs and desires. In short, imagination is fine, but only if vision goes hand in hand with listening carefully to the workforce. It is, therefore, essential to have powerful communication tools to support communication with employees (and with other stakeholders and the general public). 

The traditional employee satisfaction surveys and the official performance review interview schedule are a good start. However, the former may have become obsolete if they had not been revised. The latter may give a very fragmented picture of general trends in the workforce, even if they provide valuable information on many individual cases. It is necessary to include more tools to measure the work environment, identify psychosocial risks and evaluate the mission statement, among others, to improve their targeting. 

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When the schedule gets tough

One of the great demons of anyone’s professional life is having the main routine of looking forward to Friday, a long weekend, a vacation… and back to square one. This indicates a total lack of a stimulating work environment, which is a considerable malfunction at a corporate level as it emphasizes a tremendous experience of dissatisfaction in people. 

Many may be unaware that they do not find their work “stimulating”: they consider it normal and do not perceive there is an alternative. They even find the mere fact of having a job fine. On the other hand, other people know demotivation, boredom, and a routine, repetitive outlook. There is no room for enjoyment, learning, or professional development in the medium and long term

Psychological phenomena such as stress, lack of recognition, or boreout syndrome (the feeling of profound boredom and continued lack of motivation at work) indicate the need for a change in the work inputs received by the individual: a quantitative and qualitative change in their work stimulation.

The employee’s agreement goes far beyond the three or four conditions set out in a contract. It is not a mere contractual relationship but a working relationship in which both parties must be involved and committed in a balanced way. As we have pointed out, considering the needs, tastes, characteristics, and aspirations of employees are fundamental to providing them with the stimulation they seek in a company and implies a constant reshaping of the agreement with them. 

It is vital to help the employee not to consider that their working life is that gray matter between vacations or between weekends and that they should get rid of at all costs, tiptoe around it and get it over with soon as possible.

How to create a stimulating work environment

Here are 10 suggestions for things we should and which our managers should encourage to create a stimulating work environment for everyone

1. Enhance order and organization

Operating efficiently and orderly in terms of desk, materials, agenda, and distribution of tasks influences generating a stimulating work environment. It doesn’t work miracles, but it helps. We are unaware of how much positive stimulation is hidden underneath clutter and poor organization. 

2. Take proper breaks

Stimulation in a job should be enjoyable, not strenuous. It is crucial to combine moments of intense performance with moments of relaxation or more mechanical tasks. No employee burned out by work intensity remembers how stimulating their job was.

3. Giving importance to relationships

To feel comfortable at work, giving importance to time spent with colleagues through pleasant, fun, collaborative, or escapist interactions is essential. Therefore, there is no stimulus more complex for a human being with more significant potential than another human being. 

4. Delimit the professional role

Stimulation without organization is not functional. Employees must be clear about how far (and how far not) each one’s responsibilities and duties extend. This helps not overload themselves, not fall short, and not leave out interesting aspects of the job. 

5. Search for job satisfaction

Within realistic and simple criteria, we must avoid thinking that a pleasant life only happens outside of work, when we are not working, on vacation, on weekends, when the long weekend arrives… Imagining and enjoying what happens outside is all very well, but life is also now and requires our involvement

stimulating work environment

6. Execute changes

To create a stimulating work environment, we all need to think together about what it would take to have a more motivating employee experience, which includes making daily life in the office more pleasant through seemingly minor details. Perhaps some of these things are not feasible in our current company in the short term because they are out of our control. On the other hand, others can have a place if we put our minds to them or suggest them. If communication within the company is good, these channels will open a “conversation” that will lead to a restructuring that will improve people’s emotional well-being

7. Initiate a reflection process

This can be a shared reflection that includes rethinking the duties, suggesting ideas about new responsibilities that can be acquired, and what tasks we would like or would be motivated to perform to give a new look to our day-to-day activities. 

8. Have a realistic view of the job

Some jobs are very unpleasant, and it is not easy to be happy in them. Other times, we have more or less boring jobs or jobs in which we have already reached our limit, but we still see no room for improvement in our motivation, which frustrates us. We go to war with that idea, thinking that work has to be, by force, something that we love, that we are passionate about, or that we enjoy. Why not believe that, sometimes, work is simply a means to earn a living, and it is unnecessary for it to awaken great motivation in us?

9. Giving ourselves the importance

We must become aware of the actual relevance of our work in the company. Day-to-day work, lack of recognition, or low self-esteem at work can mean that the value of our contribution goes unnoticed or that our performance is overshadowed. On those occasions, it is good to remember that, although what we do may seem very simple, if we are there, it is because we are necessary

10. Conveying the company’s commitment

Especially if we are managers or directors, it is important that, in addition to honestly recognizing the work of our colleagues, we convey confidence in their continuity (the company’s desire to keep them on the team) and in their good prospects for the future in the company. This encourages employee commitment, motivates them, stimulates them to make an effort, and conveys that your work has meaning. 

Emotional well-being for companies

At ifeel, we are experts in well-being at work, and that is why we strive to help companies create healthy and stimulating work environments for their employees.  

Our team of psychologists has created an emotional well-being program for companies to accompany them in this process. With it, your company’s HR managers will be able to receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to improve the psychological well-being of their teams. In addition, this program offers employees a complete mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program now to see how it could help you.

You can also visit our Resources section, where you’ll find podcasts, HR Guides, or interviews with HR executives. In addition, you can access a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which will help you comply with the Labor Inspection requirements.  

We hope this post on creating a stimulating work environment has given you some good ideas. Contact us to learn more about how our emotional well-being program for companies works. Get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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