4 Ways to Create a Supportive Work Culture

Let’s talk about one thing that I am sure we could all use a bit more of each day—Support!

Far too many of us try to navigate life by ourselves, thinking that by going it alone, we’re on the fast-track to earning that true mark of independence, of success, and so much more…

Even more of us fall into the trap that putting on a brave face and shouldering all of the stress that each day presents (by ourselves) will lend us a bit of Superhero strength that will catapult us to a place where any bit of pressure or feelings of overwhelm will never burden us again.

But here’s something I would like to know: When it comes to the days when you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by your workload; or when you feel like you’re stuck on a project without any idea of where to start . . . How much does “going it alone” actually serve you in the long-run? (Not very well, right?)

In my experience, we all need a shoulder to lean on – and this is especially true in the workplace.

Think about it! How much more enjoyable are your days at work when you have a trusted co-worker or someone in a supervisory role available to talk to, to hash out new ideas, and to map out an action plan to help you conquer your work goals, compared to the days when that level of support is absent?

Creating a support system is what we’re tackling this week on Episode 138 of Productivity Paradox, and I am thrilled to carry that conversation over here today to discuss in a little more depth how we can bring the idea of a personal support system into the workplace by learning exactly how we can cultivate a supportive work culture as well.

Because just as it often is in every-day life at home, the same is valid at the office: sometimes it takes a village to help us feel supported and encouraged to get our goals off of the ground.

So, without further ado, let’s take a peek at how YOU can create the supportive work culture that you and your team need to make each and every day at the office as stress-free, open, and “village-like” as possible!


4 Easy Ways to Create a Supportive Work Culture


1. Gratitude is the Word—

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your work environment is one that breeds those supportive, good vibes is by making gratitude a regular part of the workweek.

I am in the mindset that everyone under my employ has come to the studio to work for a reason; that we each bring something different to the table, and that the team itself (as cliché as it sounds!) is what makes the IWP dream work every day.

In other words, I embrace every opportunity I have to help my team understand exactly how grateful I am to have them working alongside me!

A few ways that we encourage gratitude – not just for the work that we do, but more importantly for each other – is by spending some time every Monday to come together as a team to discuss what’s on the week’s agenda (priorities, tasks, and so on – both on an individual level and as a team), to lend one another encouragement if we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed (particularly during launch time!), and to offer guidance when it comes to our collective and/or individual goals, projects, and the like.

Another thing that we do as a way to show gratitude for the work that we all do in and out of the studio is to send out High Five Friday emails each week!

These emails include thoughtful notes that we receive from our customers, but they also include little Thank You notes and High Fives to each other as a way to show our appreciation for the work that we do. Not only that, but they’re also a great way to show support and offer encouragement for anything special happening to fellow team members outside of the studio as well!

Not only does this provide an avenue for us all to feel connected and in-tune with one another while we’re working, but it also helps cultivate a bit of that “family feel” that I find makes the workday that much more enjoyable.


2. Make Safety a Permanent Fixture—

In addition to gratitude, another essential feature to have in place when it comes to cultivating a supportive work culture begins in the way of safety—not just physical safety, but other aspects of safety as well.

Not only should your workplace feel like a safe space to come to each day (i.e., the office is clean, organized, etc.), it should also feel like a place where you and your team members feel like they have someone to come to when it comes time to airing any work-related grievances—whether those are stemming from fellow co-workers, their workload, and so on and so forth!

Some simple ways to emphasize that your office is a safe, welcoming space might include: checking in with your team on an individual basis to see how things are going (with their workload, for example, or other responsibilities), freeing up some time each week on your calendar to promote an “open door” concept where your team can approach you if they need to—for whatever reason, etc.

The safer the workspace, the more at ease you and supported all of your team members will feel, no matter what comes around the bend.


3. Change the way Setbacks are Viewed—

While setbacks in the workplace are (and should be) expected from time to time, the way that we approach them – whether as members of a team or as someone in a supervisory role – can make any setback, big or small, feel like something that extends far beyond the negative realm that we often view them from.

When it comes to setbacks in your office, one way to banish any negativity that may otherwise arise from them is not to view them as mistakes or hurdles to be overcome but to instead view them as opportunities for growth.

Has one team member made a mistake that cost the entire team something, in one way or another? Has the whole team encountered a hiccup that they weren’t expecting? Has a deadline for a project come and gone due to some poor planning?

Instead of wallowing in the setback and pushing blame around (which, let’s be honest, is a super tired way of dealing with hurdles!), meet with your entire team to discuss ways in which you can all come together to work around the setback and to find new avenues for growth that will carry you into the future.

Should the way that projects are mapped out be revisited to ensure that no deadline goes amiss? Would the entire team benefit from a workshop to strengthen communication? Do you as the supervisor need to step back and reassess how you’re helping your team to prioritize their tasks and other work-related responsibilities?

Putting a positive spin on any setbacks you and your team encounters will pay off in spades when it comes to cultivating the supportive culture you’re looking for.

(And for more insight on how to help your team recover from mistakes at the office, refer back to a previous post here, and tune in to Episode 132 to learn how you can use these hiccups as fuel to keep going!)


4. Encourage Positivity (CELEBRATE!)—

Just as it is essential to foster a sense of gratitude at the office, I find that it’s equally important to use any opportunity that comes up to encourage those positive vibes any way that you can.

One sure way to do this is to CELEBRATE the accomplishments of your team members, both collectively and individually.

Has your team gone above and beyond to meet a deadline in advance? Are you impressed with the comradery among the members of your team? Has your company generally exceeded expectations for some other reason? Celebrate those accomplishments.

Not only that, but in the spirit of cultivating a supportive and family-like team atmosphere, don’t be afraid to celebrate any accomplishments that your team members experience on an individual basis—in or outside of the office.

Is one of your team members expecting a new addition to their family—whether it be of the two-legged or four-legged variety? (Pets are family members too!) Has someone recently closed on a new house, opening a brand-new chapter in their personal life? Is someone about to get married? Has someone newly been promoted? Celebrate.

The more connected you and your team members feel to one another, the easier it is to cultivate the supportive work culture you have in mind!


What are some of the things that help you feel supported at the office? Share your experiences in the comments below…

And check out Episode 138 of the podcast this week to learn even more about how you can create and strengthen the support system of YOUR dreams – both at home and at work – so that you can map out (and crush!) your goals and aspirations with confidence!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton