Do you find yourself dreading the sound of your alarm clock as it beckons you to work? According to a recent Gallup poll, you are not alone in your misery . Poll results reveal out of a 100 million full-time employees 51% of Americans in the workplace aren't engaged at work. Workplace conditions such as long work hours, lack of control over work day, and micromanagement are just a few stressors that are affecting workplace happiness and linked to a number of health problems.
No doubt, this information is unsettling...but what can be done about it? The study of organizational psychology can offer answers, and ultimately solutions, to a happier and healthier workplace. Before we look at how organizational psychology can improve the workplace let’s look at what exactly organizational psychology is.
Organizational psychology is characterized by the study of human behavior in organizations and the workplace. The specialty looks at the individual, as well as organizational behavior and applies that knowledge to solve problems in the workplace. Below are 5 scientifically proven ways to limit the loss of revenue due to low production, create a growth-oriented environment, and encourage a reciprocal and positive relationship between workers and workplaces.
1. Encourage Positive and Open Communication
When management uses negative, high-pressure messages to “motivate” workers, health problems (and costs) soar, employee disengagement occurs, and turnover rates climb. Instead of inciting fear, experts recommend that management communicate using empowering and supportive messages. Communication can also be improved with open-door policies or anonymous suggestion boxes in which employees can make suggestions for improving the workplace. Plus, employers may boost overall health and happiness simply by telling their workers “thanks” for their contributions.
2. Allow For More Employee Control
A collaborative workplace increases employee engagement and satisfaction. To create a more collaborative environment, employers can look for ways to give workers more control over their work duties. This could translate to offering work-from-home options or getting worker’s insight on scheduling and assigning duties that specifically suit their skills. Opportunities for growth and development, such as on-the-job training or tuition reimbursement, may also generate positive outcomes.
3. Boost Social Connectedness
Feeling connected to the people they work with has a positive impact on employee’s performance and health outcomes. Employers can foster social connectedness by providing programs and opportunities that help employees build relationships, like working out together at the company gym, doing community service, initiating team-oriented brainstorming sessions, or celebrating significant accomplishments together.
4. Support Work-Life Balance
When work interferes with home life, stress levels rise and employee satisfaction drops. Promote greater work-life balance with more company outings like birthday celebrations, providing access to child care, and offering flex schedule plans. Work-life balance may also be improved by making it easier for employees to lead healthier lives—initiatives like connecting with a local gym for employee discounts or offering cleaner menu options in the cafeteria could have big payoffs.
5. Increase Contact with Nature
Many studies have confirmed the benefits of nature in reducing stress and increasing optimism. One research study revealed that more contact with nature throughout the workday significantly improved employee health outcomes. A nature conservatory in the building can lend a feeling of being outdoors while still on the inside. However, simply including more plants and opening blinds can also provide benefits. Other good options may involve designing a nature path outdoors for employees to enjoy on breaks or holding meetings outside in a courtyard rather than in a conference room, taking a team walk outside would also be a good option, and even offers the added benefit of team-bonding.
Want to learn more about the study of human behavior in the workplace? Alliant International University’s California School of Professional Psychology offers graduate-level organizational psychology programs that help students understand the personality of a business and its employees. For more information contact Alliant.