7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Foster a Positive Work Environment

As any seasoned entrepreneur knows, though, when your business begins to take off in earnest, it doesn’t take long before unforeseen struggles and challenges begin to appear.

One of the greatest of these can simply be maintaining the positivity and momentum to keep things going over the long-haul. Emotional highs and financial successes are regularly offset by periods of discouragement and belt-tightening. Every time a customer gives you feedback on a “job well done,” another has a criticism or negative review. When you add in the complication of working with employees or professional collaborators on a regular basis, the emotions can become even more strained — and you certainly don’t want to be accused of fostering a hostile work environment.

Simply put, it can be challenging to stay focused and positive throughout all of the drama of the entrepreneurial life. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a positive mindset, though — either for yourself or within your company as a whole, don’t despair. There are many different ways for entrepreneurs to stir up some positive energy in the workplace.

1. Create a Positive Physical Space

If you want to foster things like positivity and productivity, it all starts with your workspace itself. If you set up shop in a dingy, dilapidated office park and expect your employees to simply show up and thrive, you’re likely to be severely disappointed. It’s critical that you take the actual environment of your employees into account if you want them to remain happy and productive.

There are numerous ways to practically go about setting up a workspace that’s beneficial to your employees. For instance, consider the color of the walls and try to incorporate things like blues and greens, which tend to boost productivity while enhancing a peaceful attitude. Make sure that the workspace is well-lit, as natural light is especially important for maintaining positive attitudes.

Keep the temperature and humidity at moderate levels, too. OSHA suggests between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit and 20-60% humidity. Make sure to add some greenery to spruce things up and try to keep your employees equipped with ergonomically considerate equipment like chairs, keyboards, and so on.

2. Create a Positive Digital Space

If, as is often the case these days, you don’t have a physical workspace to tend to, there are still things you can do to keep your digital collaborative spaces positive. Make sure to do your research and select workflow platforms that are easy for your employees to use. Assuming that employees will intuitively know what to do can add stress and inhibit their work performance.

Also, consider how you’re going to communicate with your employees and collaborators. Emails and texts are efficient, but they’re not very personal. Consider integrating a more human element, such as a video chat or phone call, into your communications on a regular basis.

3. Take Your Team Out

One way to keep things fresh and exciting is to plan corporate outings from time to time. The break from the same old office setting can be a welcome change that helps to encourage moods and boost productivity. Group trips and events can also help to promote teamwork and camaraderie, both of which also factor into your overall work environment.

If you find that you’re running a tight operation with little cash in the budget for expensive or lavish corporate events, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options, either. Consider doing something local like an escape room or rent a larger vehicle and plan a short road trip to a nearby hot spot, park, or hiking trail.

4. Encourage Work-Life Balance

If you’re an entrepreneur, you already know that having a work-life balance is a critical part of finding and maintaining success. If you don’t have regular time to “turn off” from your business and recharge, you’re likely going to find yourself burning out before long.

The same principle applies to your employees and team members, as well. In fact, when it comes to employers, in particular, it’s crucial that you become an active voice of encouragement on the issue. If you push your employees to the point of exhaustion, they’re going to resent their work and their productivity will almost certainly suffer. If, on the other hand, employees feel supported by their employer to genuinely maintain a work-life balance, they’re likely to feel more positive, invested, and productive when working.

5. Demonstrate Authority

Remember that an incompetent boss can breed an intolerant workspace. It’s a concept that satirical entertainment like the comic strip Dilbert and NBC’s sitcom The Office have been highlighting for years.

As an entrepreneur, it’s part of your responsibility to remain informed and up to date on how to run your company, how to balance your budgets, how to maintain a creative vision for the future, and so on. Research and stretch your knowledge regularly, both generally and within your field. Then, demonstrate your business acumen within the office — not in a stuffy, pretentious manner, but with one that exhibits your authority and inspires your employees to follow suit.

6. Teach the Power of Taking Breaks

A boss who encourages taking breaks may seem counter-intuitive, but the science behind the concept speaks for itself. Research has shown that working on a task for 90-minute intervals is more productive than pushing for longer stints. Short, four and a half hour work days also tend to yield more positive results.

Of course, this isn’t a license to avoid work. During work time, interruptions should be minimized, notifications should be turned off, multitasking should be avoided, and deadlines should be adhered to. However, a well-rounded, positive work experience necessarily dictates that an employer publically recognize the usefulness of breaks utilized within reason. This empowers employees to work hard, be productive, and rest in between, all of which typically fosters a more positive overall atmosphere.

7. Empower Your Team

Everyone knows how frustrating being micromanaged by a superior can be. Having a boss looking over your shoulder, correcting you, and making you feel unsuitable to do your own job can be extremely discouraging.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that entrepreneurs, in particular, love to have a hand in every aspect of their company. It’s only natural. Which is why making a conscious effort to empower your team to make decisions on their own can be an important way to truly foster a positive, fulfilling atmosphere within your company. If your employees or collaborators feel that you respect them enough to trust them to do their tasks well, it will naturally lead to greater levels of commitment, positivity, and satisfaction.

As a practical way to implement this concept, consider integrating things like predictive analytics — an exploding market that’s expected to nearly triple in size between 2017 and 2022 — into your operations. This can be an excellent way to provide data that empowers your employees to make decisions without the need for continual oversight from yourself.


There are many different ways to foster a positive work environment within your company. Taking breaks, encouraging work-life balance, bonding as a team, creating positive workspaces, demonstrating authority, and empowering your employees can all make a tremendous difference in the atmosphere and environment of your company. While not every one of these suggestions is required, implementing any of them should go a long way in helping entrepreneurs to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude within their company.

Avery Phillips
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
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