5 ways to create a positive work environment

March 28, 2016 by Kyria Branaugh

Empty work desk during an event to promote a positive work environment

About the author

Kyria Branaugh

Director, learning and support

As director of learning and support at Advicent, Kyria helps to strengthen every partner’s knowledge of Advicent products and implements strategies for adoption and product utilization.

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Working in the financial industry, there is a lot of pressure to meet the needs and expectations of all your clients. Sometimes, the gravity of the influence we have on the lives of clients is shocking to me. Often, there are very difficult conversations to be had – you have to cut back; you cannot feasibly retire when you want; your child may have to take out student loans for their education. These conversations can be emotional, difficult, and really take a toll on your work environment and employee morale.

Negativity is highly contagious, but so is positivity

At first glance, this may not seem to be that big of a problem; however, according to Business Review Australia, “Aside from the effect on the business, a bad working atmosphere can have a significant effect on individual employees. Several studies have found that poor working conditions can cause long-term health problems including stress, depression and anxiety.”

While professionalism within your office is key, incorporating light-hearted fun is of the utmost importance. There is a consistent link between workplace fun and increased employee satisfaction. This means if your employees are having fun at work, they work harder and are less likely to leave their jobs. In addition to this, studies have also shown that people who have fun at their jobs, provide greater levels of customer service.

Clearly, a fun work environment is important, but it is also a tricky balance. You cannot have your staff jovially joking while you are discussing a client’s reduced income because their spouse passed away. However, you cannot expect your team to never crack a smile. Below you will find several suggestions on how to increase the fun at your workplace while keeping your office dynamic professional.

5 ways to create a positive work environment

1. Create clubs and teams.

Within the office, employees are bound to share common interests. Leverage these as a way to create more fun and form relationships. Here at Advicent, we have a variety of clubs. We have a group of people who like to commonly meet up to play games. We have tea enthusiasts that take turns brewing up specialty tea for the other members. We even have a bowling league that gathers weekly after work.

As you can see, many of these things do not even happen during the work hours, but because employees are able to form relationships, it makes the time they spend with their coworkers more enjoyable. Once those common interests are found, you have easier conversations and better interpersonal relationships. You can encourage these experiences by sponsoring the team and providing some monetary assistance (if possible) or even simply finding clubs in your community and encouraging employees to join together.

2. Encourage team meals.

This is another very simple yet effective method for increasing fun. Every person must eat, so encourage your employees to do it together. Whether this means going out, or simply eating packed lunches, it is another easy time to let conversation flow and foster relationships.

Factor these team lunches into your budget to ensure they happen and are not a burden to your employees if they involve eating out. It gives employees a chance to step away from their desk and relieve stress through casual conversation and camaraderie, resulting in more productivity and better quality work.

3. Plan company events.

Your employees work hard each day, so reward them occasionally with a fun event during work.  This could be anything from a potluck lunch to a tree planting ceremony for Earth Day. At Advicent, we have a monthly fun event that the entire office looks forward to. Recently, we were able to show off our culinary skills in a chili cook-off and get our sweet tooth fix celebrating Pi Day.

The goal again here is to get employees away from their desks and interacting more with one another. Each of these activities are simple things that only take thirty minutes to an hour out of day, but there is no better way to meet coworkers or connect with your executive or management teams than during a fun event.

4. Get competitive.

Let’s be honest – work is not always fun. Sometimes work is just work. To help liven up some monotonous tasks, turn them into a game. Have a competition on who can get the most referrals or deliver the most plans. This competitive spirit adds a level of fun to these necessary, everyday tasks. Prizes could be as simple as bragging rights, to something more substantial like gift cards or bonuses. A little competition between employees for prizes can provide a huge return for your business in regards to your bottom line.

5. Celebrate employee and company success.

My final recommendation is to never miss an opportunity to celebrate with your employees.  Something as simple as a handwritten note to acknowledge a birthday or work anniversary can really make employees feel appreciated.

Did your office hit a big milestone? Throw a party or order lunch in. Is there a major holiday coming up? Consider doing a gift exchange or play other holiday-themed games. Every time you celebrate, you not only bring fun into the workplace, but you show your team how much you appreciate them.

Promote positivity to ensure success

Each of the items above are ways to make your office more fun without reducing any professionalism.  These employee engagement tactics will ensure your staff feels appreciated, forms relationships, and enjoys the time they are spending at work. Meanwhile, your clients will still feel respected and taken seriously along with receiving exceptional customer service. Just because your job is serious, does not mean you and your staff should not enjoy their work.

At Advicent, we believe in the power of a positive work environment. One of our core beliefs says, “We promote the positive.” Check out the rest of what we believe here. Our core company beliefs drive the success and innovation of our products to enable you, as advisors, to help your clients understand and impact their financial future.

In addition to a positive work environment, Advicent offers a suite of products to help your advisors increase efficiency in their planning process. Click here to learn about the industry leading financial technology solutions offered by Advicent, or call (855) 885-7526 to speak with an Advicent representative.