A Safe Employee is a Happy Employee

There are lots of things that you, as a good boss, can do to help make sure your employees are motivated, productive, and that they feel appreciated. One of the most important–even moreso than rewarding awesome achievements and great work–is doing everything possible to make sure that your employees feel as safe as possible working for you. Here are some of the ways you can improve your team’s sense of safety and security while they are at work.

Happy young businessman

Protecting Personal Belongings

A lot of companies are taking more of an open office plan and coworking approach where everything is linked to a cloud server and employees simply sit down at whatever machine is free when they arrive at work. Office supplies are kept in large communally accessible containers and employees are encouraged to sit at communal workspaces like conference tables to work on projects.

There is a great deal of debate about whether this actually helps improve a worker’s productivity and morale. One big sticking point is that communal machines and workspaces make it difficult for people to keep their private belongings safe. A popular solution to this problem has been to set up a series of school lockers in the workspace and assign each employee his or her own locker in which to store personal and private belongings. If you choose to do this, you will want to choose large lockers (with room enough for coats and bags) that allow employees to bring their own locks.

Protecting Personal Space

As we previously mentioned, the open office/share and share alike plan is certainly trendy but there is some debate as to whether or not it is actually helpful in terms of workplace productivity and morale. While there are some who thrive in these open environments, there are simply some people who need a large amount of personal space before they feel comfortable. There are also some people who will be too distracted by being able to see all of the moving around and being able to overhear all of the conversations (no matter how hushed they may be) to be able to concentrate on their to-do lists.

This is why it is important that your offices have at least a few spaces in which an individual can take a break from the rest of the workspace and work in peace. Small conference rooms, for example, are a great way to accomplish this goal (and are handy for business calls in which clients might be off put by lots of background noise). Another option is to allow your employees to telecommute at least part of the time, so that they can work in whatever environment suits them best and in which they feel the safest–it’s hard to feel safe when Jackie the hugger three desks down could descend upon you at any moment!

Sexual Harassment/Zero Tolerance Policies

It is vital to your survival in the business world that you have a strict zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual and other types of harassment. It is also vital that you have a method in place that employees can use to report this harassment so that their complaints are not made public to the entire office space. Whether it’s an employee requesting help to get Jackie to stop hugging her or someone lodging a formal sexual harassment complaint, your team needs to feel comfortable and safe about speaking up when someone is behaving inappropriately.

Say no to sexual harassment

It is also important that you take steps to learn how to deal with these reports and requests in a sensitive and professional way before you hire your workforce. The last thing you want is to mismanage a situation and have your company deemed an unsafe place in which to work!

Physical Safety

Everybody wants to feel like they work in a physically safe space. Make sure that your office space meets all of your local zoning codes and OSHA standards. You should also consider installing security cameras to help prevent thefts and break-ins (most people will not attempt nefarious acts when they know “big brother” is watching). Some employers also hire security personnel to escort employees from the building to their vehicles, particularly when they are working late, to ensure they make the journey safely. It’s also a good idea to have a company car service that employees who normally rely on public transit can use if they get stuck at the office late and miss a bus or a train.

Remember, employees who feel safe and cared for do better work than those who feel unsettled and uncomfortable! Use these tips to help ensure that your team is as safe as possible.