Creating a workplace that is safe, productive and pleasant requires a maximization of good practices and a minimization of bad practices. A business that trains its staff to work together on this basis can constantly improve the quality of both the workplace and the product. Good morale and a common willingness to improve are necessary for this process to succeed.
Best Practice: Communication
A functional workplace needs channels of communication that are constantly in use between coworkers, between management and staff and between the business and its customers. A lack of communication leads to unnecessary replication of work, needless mistakes and inefficient functioning. Workers who are skilled at communication know what needs to be shared and what doesn't. They convey all necessary information while refraining from filling people's ears with irrelevant details. When every employee in a business has the information she needs to do her job well, the entire business benefits.
Best Practice: Safety
Good safety habits are stressed in most workplaces, and for good reason. A lack of safety guidelines can lead to sloppy work, illness, injury and even death. Workplaces that have potentially hazardous machinery require strict rules requiring the use of safety equipment like ear protection, safety glasses and respirators. Vehicles present even greater hazards, and need to be used with safety foremost in mind. Even in workplaces where safety hazards are not evident, such as offices, poor safety practices can lead to problems such as repetitive motion injuries or eye strain. Injuries and problems are largely avoidable with proper attention to and enforcement of safety regulations.
Worst Practice: Backbiting
Saying nasty things about coworkers behind their backs undermines staff morale, creates rivalries between coworkers and generally damages the character of a workplace. Even professional and mature employees often have problems with other people, but they are aware enough to keep their destructive comments to themselves, or at least to share them with their spouses at home and not with coworkers. Constructive criticism is sometimes needed, but should be presented in a constructive way to the person involved, not to someone else as a form of gossip.
Worst Practice: Cutting Corners
In a business world that is always seeking to increase profits, corner cutting is a constant temptation. By shaving a bit off of quality here and there, some producers see the potential of getting ahead. In fact, cutting corners can lead to decreased product quality, long-term loss of customer loyalty and potentially reduced safety in the workplace. Once a company starts decreasing its standards or quality, it is tempted to continue on this slippery slope, and over time finds itself with an inferior product and a demoralized work force. Maintaining high quality and retaining customers often is a much more effective route to success.
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images