There’s a crisis gripping workers across the country: motivation is lacking, frustration is building, and attitudes are worsening. It all sounds a bit... negative, doesn’t it?
In a recent study from Sharp, 34% of UK workers thought of their workplace as ‘uninspiring’. Among the 6000 people surveyed, the reasons they gave were outdated technology, uninspiring tasks (like admin), and outmoded work practices.
We’ve all got stressed and frustrated at a piece of software or repetitive task at some point in our careers, but culminatively, feeling negative at work isn’t something to sniff at. In fact, it’s the reason why two thirds of those surveyed are unhappy about their work environment.
It’s not all doom and gloom: this new study gives us a valuable window into the attitudes and priorities of an ever-shifting workforce. What this so-called ‘negativity epidemic’ shows is that listening and responding to the everyday gripes of the office can lead to happier, more engaged staff.
In this blog, we’re going to explore the ways in which businesses can help staff feel more positively – and work more productively – in their workplace.
Why it’s so important to feel positive at work
It might seem obvious that feeling positively about your work is valuable. But from a business owner’s perspective, knowing what’s important to your colleagues – and what keeps them motivated – is important for staff retention, wellbeing, and even a business’ reputation (no one wants to work in a negative environment, after all).
When working in positive places, we are more motivated, satisfied, and creative; we are more likely to take ownership of our work and invest in personal goals and projects, as well as the companies we work for.
But how do you achieve such giddy levels of productivity? Research has shown that happiness cannot be enforced: in fact, expecting employees to perform happiness or else leads to increased stress and decreased motivation.
Businesses must see – and trust – their employees as individuals. Creating a relaxed, respectful, and supportive environment for people fosters open and motivated attitudes towards the workplace, but only when those people feel that workplace has their back. In other words, promoting positivity at work is a two-way street: happy people, happy business.
When technology hinders good work
For as long as it has existed, we’ve been fighting with technology. Most of us now rely on computers, apps, software, and machines to make our work – and lives – easier, but Sharp’s study reveals the reality as less rose-tinted. 51% of those surveyed called technology ‘restrictive’ and ‘limiting’, and 43% were frustrated by out-of-date devices.
As the workplace becomes more and more intertwined with all things tech, it will become even more important for businesses to invest in innovative IT designed to make work easier and more fruitful.
Better technology isn’t just about faster Wi-Fi and interactive screens; it’s also about making sure people have the optimal tools to produce the best work they can without the frustrations that come with slow operating systems, printers on the blink, or crashing software. Investing in IT infrastructure doesn’t just mean workers can dedicate their energy to a task or project without wasting it on stress – it also shows their work and efforts are valued and worth putting money into. As we mentioned earlier, such support from employers fosters the kind of positive environment where creativity and collaboration thrive, which in turn makes for better business.
Investing in ideas
No one likes to feel like just another voice in the crowd. Studies show that we feel more positively – and work better – in environments where voices and ideas are valued and understood.
Collaboration and idea sharing help us become more motivated and engaged towards work, whilst discouraging feelings of restriction and – let’s be honest – boredom made possible by feeling hemmed in by a certain job or role.
Avoiding these possibilities isn’t about landing an accountant with a large design project; it’s about creating the work environment where employees feel free to express themselves and share ideas openly.
What do you think about the negativity epidemic – is it alive and well in your workplace? Join the conversation on our Twitter > @uopoffice