Establishing a happy place to work should be the holy grail for anyone. Happier employees are more productive, but best of all happier employees are just that, happier, and why would we not want to create a happier world! So why isn’t every business striving to foster an office-nirvana? Many begin with good intentions but lose sight of the fundamentals, becoming sidetracked by gimmicks such as free breakfasts and, in more extreme cases, office slides.

Here are some of the basics that will help you create a happy, potentially upbeat and most definitely energised office atmosphere:

Give listening your all

Make an effort to listen to your colleagues when they talk to you. It seems simple enough, but in our tech-heavy work lives we tend to spend half a conversation with one eye on a screen, monitoring for the next email or counting down until the next meeting. You’d be surprised how much more rewarding and productive your life is when you and your team give your undivided attention.

A good career is built on relationships

Taking an interest in your colleagues’ lives can do wonders for team morale. Remember when your colleague asked you how your recent trip was? It feels great when someone takes a genuine interest in what you’re doing, both professionally and personally, and you should repay the favour. Forming a strong team bond will always nurture a happier workplace and it can also do wonders for your life outside of the office. An idea born out of a catch-up over a pint with your colleagues could form the foundations of the next big step in your business. Working closely with your team and spending time getting to know them will help you to understand their goals. This means you can then give them tailored support and advice that will help them – and your business – thrive.

Ditch the electronic correspondence

How many of us can say we’re guilty of emailing someone who’s sitting within six feet of us? Almost all of us I would guess. It’s an aspect of work life that’s plagued the office since the birth of email. Meaningful interactions are worth having face-to-face. This allows a conversation to flow more naturally and encourages topics to be fully explored, instead of being condensed into a short, sharp sentence.

Quash office politics

Initial bad blood between two employees can quickly escalate and poison the wider office environment. You’ll need to navigate this minefield carefully and nip problems in the bud early to prevent a poor atmosphere from spreading.

When conflict within your workplace rears its ugly head, take some time to consider the outcomes of any action you take and know what you want to achieve by stepping in. It’s only natural that some people simply won’t get along, but it should be clear to everyone that working productively is in the whole team’s best interest. It’s crucial to be fair and not take sides in disputes. Maintain cordial discussion and ensure all sides are content before moving on.

By James Layfield, CEO of Central Working