10 Ways to Create a Fulfilling Work Environment
Our head of operations, Fran, was asked recently by a friend what her ideal job would be. It wasn’t an astronaut, chef, dog walker, or professional sportsperson. She honestly answered with ‘I’m in it’. How amazing is that! It may sound corny to some, but to me, I was filled with an enormous amount of joy and pride!
It got me thinking about why she said that. She wasn’t paid to say it, and she loves dogs…
I’d like to think – even though I’m fairly new to this CEO gig – it’s because I’ve tried to nurture a positive and fulfilling work environment and work-life balance at Gympanzees, truly believing that they’re both as important as our services and our future plans. I believe that being happy at work leads to better support for the children and young people with disabilities, and their families, that need us.
I’d like to share some of the things we encourage at Gympanzees that we believe achieves success and creates a positive environment that supports a happy work-life balance.
1. We are a non-hierarchical company.
Everyone’s opinions and ideas matter and are listened to. This is a new charity with ambitious plans, but we also have very little which is set in stone, so are keen to improve at every turn! Every member of staff has had a different past and experiences, so the more ideas that come forward, the better our outcomes will be.
2. We are a learning organisation.
We have a growth mindset which means that every member of staff can improve and learn in any area that they chose to tackle. We don’t sit still in our learning but are always looking for ways to improve – personally and for the organisation. If we learn something, we share it!
3. We take risks and are comfortable being uncomfortable.
If we do what we always do, we will stagnate. We understand that taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones can bring huge rewards and opportunities. We understand it also means we may get things wrong, but this is NOT a problem at Gympanzees – as long as we make mistakes now and learn from them for the future. Every mistake is an opportunity to get better. We are happy to share our mistakes, so others also learn a better way to do things!
4. We communicate with mutual respect, openness and appreciate our employees and their opinions.
We are a team and work better when we collaborate and this is how our Lending Library, Online Resource Hub, and Therapy Webinars were created! None of us works in their area alone – we can all comment on each other’s areas of specialty to help us all develop and bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the team. When we feel someone is going down the wrong path, we talk to them with suggestions of how to do better. This is in ANY area of our work and between any member of staff or management. No one is presumed to be right just because of their rank.
5. We celebrate success.
Especially at the moment, it can be lonely and isolating working from home. Celebrate the big wins, as well as the smaller ones. Often successes go unnoticed or uncelebrated. We want to celebrate success as much as identifying opportunities for improvement.
6.We love what we do!
We have the best jobs in the world! And what’s the point in working so hard if don’t enjoy it, feel fulfilled by it, and can’t have fun doing it? We bring passion, energy, and excitement to work and we take the time to get to know each other and support each other.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
7. We are all about finding solutions.
We believe there is always a solution to any problem! However, this often needs a team approach. We share problems and find solutions together.
8. Our work is fulfilling.
Gympanzees is a refuge for many of our families. We know they often have very tough lives and we are there to help them find fun and joy through our facilities and services. This is also true of every interaction with supporters and amongst staff.
9. Test, test and test.
We are trying so many new things all the time and the exercise is wasted if we can’t evaluate how it’s going and how it went. We’re forever tweaking and pivoting! There is no harm in abandoning something if it isn’t working – better to fail fast and put more effort into projects and ideas that are working better!
10. We prioritise work-life balance.
Homelife can have a big impact on work-life and vice versa. Stress is one of the biggest killers of productivity. We are huge champions of flexible working, work from home, and a reduced-stress working environment. Saying yes to everything and working all hours is tempting when you’re passionate about what you do, but this doesn’t help anyone and can lead to burnout. We believe you will work better if you give yourself proper breaks and prioritise both work and home life. Taking holidays are also very important and switching off when you’re away from work is crucial.
This is how we help our employees to feel fulfilled.
What do you think? Do you agree?
Let us know in the comments.