What is the culture at your company like? Cutthroat and stressful, or easygoing and welcoming? Culture is not written or explicitly stated, but it is certainly something that everyone in a company can feel and recognize.
A recent study revealed a link between high-stress workplaces and serious health problems in employees. While every company’s culture is different, there are some cultures that impact employees more negatively than others. It is sometimes believed that a high-pressure atmosphere will lead to increased productivity from employees, but this is not the case. In fact, it is estimated that 550 million workdays are lost because of stress each year, and 60–80% of workplace accidents are the result of stress on the job.
The same Harvard Business Review article showed that stress-producing leadership behaviors led to more cases of heart disease in employees. A stressful work culture can also lead to disengaged employees and higher rates of turnover.
On the other hand, a positive work culture, where employees are encouraged to act on new ideas and generate creative solutions, can lead to increased productivity and happier workers. See this recent Forbes interview with two McKinsey & Company consultants who discuss their perspective on workplace culture. One of their interesting observations was that hands-off leadership is not always the best style. Being too distant can cause employees to feel like they do not have support or they may fail to see the impact of their work.
There are things that CEOs and even managers can do to change their company culture for the better. Offering things like the option to work from home or providing office gyms can lead to a more positive culture and therefore higher employee well-being. Managers can also encourage communication and social connections among employees. A more positive culture leads to higher productivity, more motivated employees, and also better employee health outcomes.
Take a minute to reflect and determine what the culture of your company is like, and whether it is motivating employees, or bringing them down. Implementing and embracing a more positive culture may save you and your employees a whole lot of stress. For more ideas on improving work culture from a leading management consulting firm, just contact us.
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