It’s no secret that positive work cultures are more productive. That’s because these types of environments lead to more creative, happy, and collaborative employees. Research has even found that happy employees work harder and smarter. If positive work cultures are more productive, how can you establish a more positive work environment? Well, here are ten ways to get started today.

1. Develop a set of core values and priorities.

The development of a set of core values and priorities will vary from one business to another. A foundation of any positive workplace culture starts with clearly defined values and priorities. Establishing these items give your work meaning and guides you in how you treat your team and customers. Knowing these goals will help you find the right personalities for your startup and aligns everyone towards a common goal.

What’s interesting, however, is that these core values can be whatever you want. “One of the exciting things I found from the research is that it doesn’t matter what your values are. What matters is that you have them and that you align the organization around them,” said Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

“And the power comes from the alignment, not from the actual values,” he added. “We’re not out there telling people [that they should adopt the Zappos values] and culture because that would probably not work in most cases. Our message is more ‘you should figure out what your values are and then align the entire organization around them.”

2. Greet your team.

“A little hello goes a long way in the workplace,” Ashely Alt writes on the SnackNation blog. “Your team members want to feel and be happy, so give them a little nudge in the morning with a big old smile that says, ‘I’m happy you are here, and I want you to love your job.’”

Additionally, make it a point to get out of your office and walk around the office. Do a quick pop in to check on your team and ask them if there’s anything you can help them with. If they’re taking a short break, go ahead, and chit chat with them so that you can both get to know each other better personally.

While it may sound simple, kicking the day off on positive note with a smile and a “Good morning!” sets the tone for the day. It can even turn that crummy morning into an awesome day. “Being upbeat and genuine in your approach boosts your team’s self-esteem, causing them to be more motivated and reminds them that working with you is pretty great,” adds Ashley.

3. Enhance your emotional intelligence.

There has been a lot of emphasis on emotional intelligence over the years. And, for a good reason. Those with high EI are more productive, successful, and effective leaders. In a nutshell, this is because of what EI can do for an individual.

  • Strengthens our self-awareness so that we know what our strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Helps us self-regulate our emotions.
  • Encourages us to be more self-motivated.
  • Increases our empathy.
  • Using the methods of emotional intelligence will help you develop stronger interpersonal skills like active listening and conflict resolution.

As you can see, when you sharpen your EI, you’ll be better suited to communicate with your team, as well as handle how you to respond to them. After you’ve worked on improving your emotional intelligence, provide opportunities for your team to strengthen their own.

4. Show your gratitude.

Think about how you feel when someone thanks you or acknowledges your hard work. Even if you have an ego that’s in check, it still makes you feel great about yourself. So, imagine how your team feels when you show your gratitude.

The best thing about this is that there are a variety of ways to achieve this. For example, you could give an employee a shoutout at the beginning of a team meeting. You could send them a handwritten note. Or, you could engage in random acts of kindness like buying them lunch or surprising them with a gift, raise, or new perk like flexible hours.

5. Grant employees autonomy.

A tried and true way of cultivating a more positive and productive work environment is to stop micromanaging. Instead, offer your team autonomy. Micromanaging makes your team ineffective and nervous. Independence in work conditions means giving them the freedom to work however and whenever they like — within reason of course. It also encourages them to share their opinions and feedback.

On your end, however, this involves learning how to delegate more effectively. You also have to hold your team accountable, frequent feedback, and making sure that your team has the tools to succeed.

6. Improve the physical workplace.

It’s almost impossible for you to be in a good mood and productive when you’re not comfortable. As such, you may want to look into making your office more comfortable. Some great places to start is by keeping the office at a steady temperature, letting in as much natural light as possible, and filling the office with plants.

Additionally, provide your team with ergonomic furniture and encourage them to take frequent breaks throughout the day. Also, keep the workplace clean so that germs aren’t spreading like wildfire. And, don’t be afraid to let your staff personalize their own workspaces.

7. Be respectful of everyone else’s time.

Time is the most valuable resource we have. Because of this, if you aren’t respectful of everyone else’s time, then it shows your team that this is a less then ideal culture. After all, if you can’t be respectful of other people’s time, then how can you be trusted in other areas?

There’s no one way to do this. But, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Don’t leave for vacation or business trip without debriefing your team. They should know what to do while you’re away.
  • Always start and end the meeting on time.
  • Do not annoy your employees during their “off-hours,” like nights and weekends.
  • If your employees are at full capacity, then do not add to their workload.
  • Clearly define any guidelines and expectations so that they do not always have to redo their work.
  • Create and share a team calendar so that everyone knows what’s going on.

8. Encourage fun.

Your team is working their tails off for you. Help them blow off some steam while showing your appreciation by having a little fun. Recognition and fun could be as simple as celebrating milestones or even events like birthdays. You could also take everyone out of the office and go on a retreat or volunteer in the community.

As an added perk, this could be an excellent way to strengthen relationships and encourage collaboration among your team. It can also boost morale.

9. Prioritize your team’s well-being.

There’s a strong correlation between your well-being and productivity. I mean, how can you have the energy and focus on getting work done when you’re stressed, sleep-deprived, and feel like garbage because of your diet?

While it’s not always your responsibility to improve other’s health, you can at least encourage a healthier lifestyle at work. You could fill the healthy with healthier snack options instead of the standard vending machine options. You could offer gym memberships, hold more standing meetings, or provide weekly meditation sessions.

10. Don’t use fear.

Mistakes will happen. So, instead of freaking out on your team whenever they slip up, use that as a learning opportunity. The last thing that you want is to have your team be afraid of you. That’s not a healthy work environment for anyone to work at. And, fear is not an effective way to motivate your team.