News & Resources

Think about it — most of us spend nearly a quarter of our lives at work, and that’s if we’re lucky enough not to work overtime and holidays. That’s a lot of time to go anywhere, much less somewhere you aren’t happy, which is why it’s important that your work environment not feel like a workplace for your employees, but rather a worthplace. Somewhere that employees, coworkers, customers, and vendors enjoy spending time and find worthy to be at 25% of the year.

Not only will a positive environment make it easier to come to work, but that positive attitude will rub off on customers and could end up helping your bottom line.

In Dr. Marvin Karlins’ book, Romancing the Clock, he uses Hana Selye, the “Father of Stress,” as an example of how a positive work environment can affect someone. Selye used to work 17-hour days, but remained healthy and happy because he felt that when you enjoy your work, then doing it 17 hours a day won’t cause stress — “however, if you work 3 or 4 hours a day at a job you can’t stand, that can be very stressful! It’s not the time you spend in the job, then, that determines how stressful it will be, but whether you like or dislike what you are doing.”

With this thought in mind, we recently took a look at ourselves and the team we have here at Catalyst. We’re lucky — we like our jobs. Of course, there may be a mundane task here or there, but for the most part, we enjoy everything we do, and better yet, we enjoy the people we work with, which makes it so much easier to wake up on Monday morning and come to work.

Whether you work with a team of two to three people or with an organization of thousands, there are ways you can improve your workplace and make it a worthplace — somewhere where economic and personal goals are both encouraged and achieved.

Before you get into another leasing season or when you have a time that residents are mostly out of town, sit down with your team and evaluate any changes you could make to improve morale and shift the environment at your workplace. Consider some of the following tips that are easy to implement but can have a huge impact on the daily goings-on at your workplace.

  1. Value everyone’s opinion — Regardless of job title or position, seek input from everyone within your organization. Someone in a different job role may have a solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with but have been too involved in to look at diplomatically.
  2. Random rewards — It’s great to know when you are receiving a bonus of some kind for a job well done, but it’s even better when you had no idea it was coming. When you see or hear others in your team are going above and beyond the call of duty, present them with a random reward (such as bonuses or time off) to let them know that what they did was noticed and not overlooked.
  3. From scary monster to human — Most individuals in entry-level positions may be nervous when the boss’s boss’s boss calls you in to have a “quick chat”, but not all meetings need to be scary. It’s important that all employees are heard from by the top positions on a regular basis to build a positive working relationship. This also allows the boss to show their human side versus others perceiving them as scary or intimidating.
  4. Evaluate the good apples from the bad — This is not a very fun one, but in every business, you have to truly evaluate the staff and understand who is willing to see the job as a worthplace versus a workplace. No matter what you do, there are some individuals out there that just do not see the value in the job and cannot be turned around. These individuals can be a downer on the rest of the staff because they have such negative opinions that they express all the time. Not all hope is lost, though — even if these bad apples don’t see your company as a worthplace, you might be able to help them understand what they really want and assist them on what kind of a career will make them happy. That in itself can help the company weed out the negativity and help keep the word of mouth in good standing for the company.
  5. FUN! — Most importantly, have fun! These days, companies have left behind the monotonous days of being chained to the desk and, instead, offer a fantastic work environment with games and Zen centers. Now, I’m not saying to spend millions building a theme park for your office, but do some things around the office to liven up the atmosphere. Also, everyone has different tastes in fun, so rotate the fun ideas throughout the year, and let everyone see why working at your company is the best experience they could have.

These easy steps can help you to shift your workplace to a worthplace and can have added benefits that you’ll see for months and years to come. At the property level, consider how your positive mood can change the way you give a tour or discuss an issue with a resident — this seemingly small situation could have tremendous benefits through positive word of mouth and even a nice online review. At the corporate level, consider how much nicer it would be to go into a staff meeting where everyone is happy to be at work for the day. While these seem like small changes you can make, they can positively impact your day-to-day life and leave you a happier and healthier person, just like Hana Selye.