In today’s world, we all could use a bit more positivity in our lives. From turning on the news to letting a close friend or family member vent over the phone, negativity lurks around every corner. If you’re not careful, negativity can quickly take over. If you’ve suffered through any sort of bout with negativity, from emotional situations to even extended depression, you likely know firsthand just how much of an impact a negative mindset can have on your daily life. Productivity drops as you struggle to carry out many of the same tasks and jobs you did prior. On the flip side of the spectrum, surrounding yourself with positivity can have the completely opposite effect. It has the capability of boosting productivity while helping you and everyone else around you feel better about the work you do. Here are some of the many ways positivity can lead to greater productivity not just at the office, but at home and really throughout your daily life.
The Downsides of a Cutthroat Work Environment
Work has often taken on a survival of the fittest motif, where only the very best progress and the rest are either left behind or completely removed from their position. While the cream does rise to the surface, this cutthroat work environment does not help in either generating a positive office mindset or boost productivity. The constant pressure put on employees by both their supervisors and themselves often leads to an assortment of different physical and mental problems.
According to the Harvard Business Review (2015), offices deemed as “high-pressure” see a 50 percent increase in health care expenditures. Ranging from early heart conditions to the development of mental disorders, an average of $500 billion a year is spent on psychological issues due to work-related stress (with a total of 550 million lost workdays every year because of it). On top of this, up to 80 percent of all workplace accidents are due to stress with another 80 percent of doctor visitors throughout the year due to high levels of stress. While high levels of pressure may initially push employees to increase their level of productivity, in the long run it ends up costing workers valuable days and offices higher healthcare premiums. As of September 2017, there are 127 million full-time employees in the United States who average four lost work days a year due to stress-related conditions.
In high-stress work environments, the continual push to over-perform leads to disengagement in the end. This is because an employee does not feel as valued, supported or respected with the constant need to exceed performance expectations out of fear of potential consequences. This disengagement can also cost companies and its employees. According to the Queens School of Business (Winter, 2014), a disengaged worker becomes 37 percent more likely to miss work, 49 percent are more likely to suffer accidents, while workers who are stressed become 60 percent more likely to perform errors while at work. This also leads to a drop-in productivity (by 18 percent), a dip in profitability (by 16 percent) and a reduced job growth (by 37 percent). All of this points to the vital importance of a positive work environment, regardless of industry or company size.
The Six Essential Characteristics of a Positive Workplace
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recently released a study, suggesting there are six important characteristics of a positive work environment. Each step assists in boosting the overall desire for an employee to remain at work and eventually leads to an established culture of positivity within the office.
The first characteristic is caring and treating colleagues within the work environment as friends. While it is not always possible to connect with everyone as a friend, it is important for employees to see one another as equals.
The second step is to provide support to other employees. Showing compassion for other workers when they struggle and offering words of kindness do this.
The third step is to avoid playing the blame game when something goes wrong. While many issues due stem from one individual (or one department), placing blame on someone does not help correct the problem. Instead, it is better to forgive mistakes and assist those who made the mistake in fixing the issue for the future.
Step four is inspiration. Employees need motivation and something to shoot for. Sometimes coming in work day after day becomes tiresome, with nothing to aim for. Inspiration from management and employees around them help raise spirits, boost productivity and improve the positive attitude of the workplace.
The fifth step is emphasizing the importance of the overall meaning of work. This way, employees can take the most out of what they do within the office and see just how it helps the overall big picture. When workers have meant they enjoy their work more.
The last step is to treat other employees, regardless of position or rank with integrity, respect, and trust.
Why Stress Prevents Positivity and How Positivity Leads to Greater Productivity
As stress builds within the mind, shifting over to a positive mindset becomes more and more challenging. Why? This is because as the mind strains due to the applied stress, it leads you to become emotionally, cognitively and perceptually impaired. You may have noticed in the past that if you’re feeling stress it becomes difficult for other emotions to fully develop. You might snap at others when normally you would never become upset. It becomes extremely difficult to form any kind of external thought as you basically are trapped within the mental box of stress.
This isn’t to say all stress is universally bad. Some stress can lead to productivity. Stress at times can help boost functionality, but when stress continues to build without an end in sight, the body steps up and basically shuts the mind down to outside thought.
Stress isn’t just a work-related issue. Stress can and likely does come at you from all directions. Relationship stress, stressing about money, where you live, your parent’s health and just about any other topic can lead to mental strain. If work is stressful as well, then you’ll begin dreading coming into work, which will worsen the situation. Instead, by implementing the six key characteristics, it helps work become more desirable and help boost you and your employee’s emotional mindset when at the workplace.
A study conducted by the University of California, Riverside states that happy people are far more satisfied with their jobs. When an employee is happy coming into work, several key improvements take place. For starters, they are less likely to call in sick. While there might be stressful situations outside of the job, they feel satisfied with work and know that what they do within the office is appreciated. As fewer sick days are taken, this boosts the annual productivity by a worker.
A happy worker is also a more productive worker throughout the course of the day. They know how it helps the rest of the office function and, because they see meaning within their work, they want to extract as much meaning from it as possible. In turn, this will help boost their positive outlook, thus increasing productivity. Plus, because all other employees are treated as equals and friends, they do not want to let their professional friendships down by not putting in the level of work they expect from themselves.
Remain Positive, Yet Challenge, Your Employees
It is still important to have established guidelines and desired performance outcomes. However, it is necessary to understand the difference between motivation and unnecessary stress. Most employees want to feel challenged at work. It creates a goal to focus on. The combination of established goals and a positive environment at work can do wonders and will help take the business to new heights.
The combination of challenging employees while remaining positive is a vital step to ensure productivity remains high. If employees are positive but are never challenged, it can lead to complacent mindsets. One of the worst things to happen within an office is if the employees become complacent. This is where workers don’t see the need to strive for bigger and better things. Make sure there are always challenges, and goals set in front of employees and praise them when they accomplish these goals. Make sure the praise is performed publicly though, so others can take this in. It is human nature to want to be recognized, so when another employee sees the public affection, it, in turn, pushes them to want to improve their own output and avoid becoming complacent as well.
Remaining positive during a difficult time is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. When everything points to a negative situation going from bad to worse, letting yourself become absorbed into this downward spiral of a mindset is all too easy. However, by doing what you can to remain positive, you’ll help improve the mood not just of yourself but also of everyone else around you. You’ll improve productivity and boost the overall quality of life. Try to see the good through all the fog, because the more you focus on the good aspects of life, the larger these qualities become. Eventually, you’ll find yourself surrounded by positivity. Whether you’re an employee or the head of a corporation, do your best to boost positivity. You may be surprised as to how beneficial the results are at the office and throughout life.
Tell Us –
How would you rate your productivity? Do you agree that positivity will lead to higher productivity?