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What Makes a Workplace Great?

22 May, 2015

In the eighteen years that Fortune Magazine has been reporting on the Best Places to Work, Google CA has topped the list six times.

But what is it, exactly, that makes Google, and companies like it, so well-loved by employees?

Some of the staff benefits that ensure Google consistently receives these accolades include:

  • Twelve weeks fully paid parental leave and $500 of ‘Baby Bonding Bucks’ for all new parents;
  • Paid time-off for volunteer work;
  • Onsite medical care; and
  • University tuition reimbursement for employees.

Last year, BRW Magazine released its list of Best Places to Work in Australia, citing Sydney-based tech company Atlassian as the Number One ranked company.

Atlassian gives all new staff members a paid holiday before they start and encourages regular and open conversations between employees, executives and the company’s founders.

Other top-rated Australian workplaces include Google,, NetApp and McAfee, with employees listing the following reasons for why:

  • Flexible working arrangements, including working remotely;
  • Gym memberships and on-site fitness centres;
  • Birthdays off;
  • Attractive health cover plans; and
  • Generous hiring bonuses.

Unfortunately, not all of us get to work in a great office environment.

The most common reasons cited by employees for workplace dissatisfaction and demotivation are:

  • Personality clashes amongst staff members.
  • Dog-eat-dog competitive industries.
  • Uninspiring workspaces and offices.
  • Hard and long days with little reward. 
  • Commute dramas.
  • Unsupportive bosses.
  • Lazy co-workers … the list is endless.

So, what do we look for in a great workplace? When you think about the best places you have worked, what things come to mind? Was it:

  • An attractive salary package?
  • A nice location that suited your commute?
  • The friendly receptionist who greeted you warmly every day?
  • The well-stocked kitchen where people always cleaned up after themselves?
  • The great boss who would not only ask you for that report, but also remembered key things in your life and would enquire after them?
  • The good rapport you held with other staff members even though you had nothing work-wise to do with them on a daily-basis?

How can you create a great workplace?

Going back to basics and fostering positive relationships and trust between staff members can make a company a great place to work.

Corporate wellness programs and similar strategies designed to reduce absenteeism and increase workplace satisfaction, means staff members are more engaged, happier, and therefore more productive.

What are some of the corporate wellness programs that your company offers? It might be:

  • Gym membership;
  • Healthy snacks and food in the lunchroom;
  • Quit smoking programs; or
  • Working from home flexibility.

As an employee, help keep yourself happy at work by taking advantage of the benefits and programs that your workplace offers and stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

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