Strategies to Improve Your Work Environment

Gallup, an organization that surveys and uses the science of analytics surrounding business trends, has revealed an increase in employee engagement at work for the last two years, from 34 percent to 38 percent. But the news isn’t all rosy. There is 13 percent who actively disengage and 49 percent not engaged at all; this is very concerning.1

What can we do to make our workplace more productive and appealing?

Ron Friedman, doctorate of psychology specializing in human motivation, wrote a book which examines innovations and studies in the fields of motivation, creativity, neuroscience and management that support making us more successful in our work.

His compelling stories and practiced evidence-based techniques offer employees and management alike guidance to work smarter and turn their respective places of employment into “The Best Place to Work” – the title of said book.

Friedman brings decades of research from the field of psychology into this book that is full of stories, advice and practical applications to promote thinking, innovation and increased performance levels.

At the end of each chapter, he shares things companies are doing and other techniques you can apply to your workplace that may make it a little better. For example, the first chapter is about how “Success is Over-rated” and “Why Great Workplaces Reward Failure.”

Friedman feels that every task we engage in falls into one of two mindsets: approach or avoidance. These mindsets can affect not only your experience but can be crucial to creativity. The author believes that a large part of having the right mindset includes how an organization treats failures.

At the end of the first chapter, he suggests you:

  • Reward the attempt, not the outcome
  • Mine failures into opportunities
  • Play the long game — know that creating a place for intellectual failure can yield reward in the end
  • Understand what is a failure today
  • Anticipate the J-curve — understand progress is not a straight line but more like a “J” with a big dip at the beginning due to challenges and setbacks.
  • If the organization’s leaders feel that failure is not an option, then maybe it is time to go. We should always be growing. We usually learn best from our failures. If we aren’t learning new skills, then we become obsolete. If a company wants you to do a repetitive task with no variety or believes that you should never fail, maybe that is not the right place for you.

Here are just a few other topics Friedman shared that will help make a happier, better workplace:

  • Work environment does affect creativity
  • The best decisions are reached unconsciously
  • Eat well and take naps
  • Practice gratitude
  • Team building is a must
  • Foster healthy pride in your organization

These suggestions are for any manager or emerging leader in an organization — regardless of size or budget — seeking to work smarter and make their organization the best place to work. And if we all apply these techniques, maybe we can improve those concerning Gallup figures after all.


Harter, J. (2020, May 29). Employee Engagement Continues Historic Rise Amid Coronavirus.


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