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Top Ten Characteristics of a Great Workplace

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Positive work atmospheres tend to be reflected in the quality of the work that's done. Many businesses find that it is entirely worthwhile to expend effort on creating and maintaining an environment that is easy and pleasant to work in, since productivity tends to go up. A great workplace has many characteristics that make it a good experience for workers and managers at every level, and for the business as a whole.


A great work environment has a clear vision and orientation. The mission is obvious to employees, managers and customers. Individuals know and accept their specific roles and responsibilities, even as they work towards a clear collective goal.


A healthy and positive workplace strives to give its employees meaningful work. People who are enthusiastic and invested in getting the job done well tend to reflect that enthusiasm in their work product. Customers recognize and reward that energy, making the company more profitable as well.


In order to maximize productivity, teamwork and collaboration are top principles of any great workplace. The team and its productivity are more important than any individual’s input. Team members collaborate and celebrate their achievements, knowing that the work of the team outweighs individual needs.


Hard work is recognized and rewarded at a great workplace. Problems are addressed as they arise, with consideration given for the needs of all parties. There are clear paths of communication open for concerns and grievances to be aired and tackled.


Any great workplace is open to positive change, and encourages creativity and new ideas. Employees feel empowered to bring ideas and new ways of operations to management. Workers given the freedom to be somewhat creative tend to take ownership of their work.


The leaders in a great workplace serve as positive role models for the whole team, consistently walking the talk. At the same time, great companies encourage leadership among the workers. All staff members are encouraged to guide and mentor co-workers.


Clear, concise and consistent communication is vital at all levels of a great workplace. From the top down, effective communication skills are held in high regard to help employees learn quickly, resolve difficulties, respect one another and introduce new ideas.


The best possible tools and equipment are available and maintained in good working condition at great workplaces. Workers are able to do their jobs efficiently without unnecessary struggles or safety hazards.


A great workplace provides a healthy and enjoyable social environment in which co-workers often become friends, enjoying each other's company and caring for each other's well-being. Relationships often form inside and outside the workplace as employees learn to enjoy each other’s company.


Even if not every part of the job is enjoyable, a great workplace affords opportunities to have fun on the job. Workers can lighten up at times in such a way that getting the job done is both satisfying and enjoyable.


Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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