What makes an amazing workplace?

Tue 14 Jun 2016

Blog Author
Joanna Moonan
Operations Director

We asked our staff four simple questions about what constituted an amazing workplace for them. Interestingly the most common thread across all answers and all questions is around the workplace culture. So people expect the hygiene factors of a pleasant environment to be met and when asked the question their thoughts turned to people and culture aspects of work along with flexible policies.

Our staff want to feel proud, happy and energised in a friendly and fun environment where they are valued for their ideas and work and feel part of a whole team. Flexible working policies feature highly with a work-life balance featuring in many different ways.

So HR have a big role to play, in supporting and monitoring culture with managers through employee engagement activities and in setting flexible working policies that enable choice and balance for people’s lives. Isn’t the challenge that we already know this as HR and L&D professionals but moving from here to there is not an easy path.

So what are the obstacles in our way? Perhaps persuading senior folk that this isn’t fluffy, it has real, bottom line impact; that the answer isn’t working harder but smarter and that how people feel really does make a difference.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step’ – what is the step you can take today?

Below are some responses to this:

What is most important to you about a workplace?

  • Being able to do my job to the best of my ability with support, motivation and resources that help me to achieve my personal and the company goals
  • Friendly and supportive working culture
  • Clear and proper work/life balance
  • A safe environment where creative ideas can be experimented, tested and trialled
  • A friendly team – ability to have open frank discussions about all work related issues
  • Feeling part of the organisation which values and appreciates employees’ effort regularly
  • Safe & clean environment. Free parking facilities - also to accommodate individual needs as required. Problems resolved asap so can complete a job i.e. IT
  • I suppose the most important thing (that I value already) is that everyone feels welcome and there is mutual respect across the team
  • A good manager – mutual trust and respect; Colleagues I like but more importantly that I can trust; To feel like what I do makes a difference
  • People. More specifically people willing to contribute to a collaborative environment in a positive way
  • Working with supportive and caring colleagues, with caring and supportive management. Clear leadership with decisions shared and effectively communicated. Feeling valued and appreciated
  • The atmosphere, work-life balance, culture and people and the quality of the working environment (hygiene factors)
  • Transparency, communication, environment, accessibility, good facilities, cleanliness, technology, good leadership, clearly defined goals, freedom to suggest and challenge opinions, not be micromanaged, respect, free parking, climate controlled office, comfortable seats and work spaces

What would you want it to be like?

  • A comfortable and professional environment that accepts change and encourages progression
  • A comfortable and professional environment that accepts change and encourages progression
  • Open environment where you can work in a collaborative way and ideas are taken on board from all levels
  • Being in a caring, helpful arena working with like-minded people
  • A safe environment where creative ideas can be experimented, tested and trialled
  • Good humoured – an acknowledgement that it’s important to do a good job but also important to have a good work/life balance – A ‘one team’ feel
  • Good, honest relationships with managers and co-workers, positive attitude and people to smile more, it can be key for people moving somewhere new
  • A friendly, happy atmosphere – not too regimented. Flexible arrangements where required, i.e. work less days if needed.
  • Fun; Friendly; Personalities encouraged; Leaders with great vision who don’t sweat the small stuff; Flexible hours; Good communication – transparent decisions made at senior level; To feel valued – perhaps some sort of recognition scheme – small and often; Open to new ideas; Culture of learning; Employees who are passionate about the brand/vision
  • A sharing environment and one where people can operate autonomously and creatively as much as is practical. An environment where people come together to provide solutions and innovations that impact positively. An environment where people can take ownership for their contribution to these solutions
  • Friendly and positive. Honest and transparent. Everyone treated fairly. Equal pay. A comfortable environment
  • A positive, friendly atmosphere, where there are no hierarchies or micromanagement
  • More of a relaxed dress code, or same dress code for all, i.e. if men have to wear a tie, all men have to wear a tie etc. Great communication, opportunity to input in decision making, to feel valued as a member of staff, opportunity for a bonus scheme, more opportunity for progression, flexibility with the technology we have to work from home where applicable, continued free parking

How would you want to feel about working there?

  • Proud that I am a part of the team and an important part of the brand
  • Proud to say I work there and passionate about the work
  • I want to get up every morning and think “I am looking forward to going to work today”
  • I would want to feel energised and excited about being part of a workplace that is high energy, high productivity and is staffed by like-minded and successful people
  • Happy to come in to work – challenged – involved in the whole business not just ‘my role’
  • Interesting work that you are feeling that you are achieving
  • Appreciated. Job satisfaction. Confident in product knowledge. Part of a team - able to rely on colleagues & managers for support. Equal opportunities
  • Excited and passionate
  • Part of an innovative, enthusiastic and passionate team
  • Happy and content. Proud. Secure in post. Appreciated
  • I would like to feel free to express opinions and challenge the status quo
  • Energised, enthusiastic, valued, passionate, being part of a family and not isolated in individual teams, appreciated, happy, sense of achievement, proud

What would be the dream 'icing on the cake' for work?

  • Having a progression plan for where I can achieve my career goals. Also to be able to encourage others to succeed and progress in their roles
  • Ethical ie. Not for profit/charity
  • Working hours that suit a home life but also suit the workplace
  • A workplace where an individual’s skills are made full use of
  • A quiet space for work that needs concentration or thinking time
  • Flexibility, work-life balance
  • That everyone contributes to the best of their ability in their roles to ensure that we continue to be a successful learner provider. Flexible hours to suit individual needs
  • Free lunch, gym, social club, free lattes/cappuccinos, 3 day week for same wage, company car, clothing allowance, shared bonuses, more holidays!!
  • To work compressed hours (4 long days a week) or flexitime; To be able to walk to work!
  • Real measurable success achieved through collaboration
  • I think a 4 day week would be great. Extended hours Mon-Thursday and skeleton staff Friday as it will be rotated. As in Sweden it has improved productivity, reduced sick days and saved business’s millions of pounds. For over 40’s it is better there has been a survey on this with again very interesting results
  • If this doesn’t work ‘hotdesk’  & a workspace approach & that workspace attitude to working from home for roles that support this (even companies house do this) rather than a work office approach 9-5 and no flexibility nor that more relaxed yet productive workspace environment
  • Good pay. Flexible working embedded within the culture
  • Having the option to choose one day a week where you can work from home
  • Fuel/travel allowance, subsidised canteen, to be able to work from home to manage home/work life balance more effectively, more flexible working arrangements (flexitime), subsidised social events
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