Creating a professional workplace in which employees feel safe is both the right thing to do and advantageous to your business: Such a work environment makes it easier to retain good employees and put out a quality product that attracts customers.

To find out how to do it, keep reading for several tips.

Tip 1: Respect Boundaries

Though you may spend 40+ hours a week with your coworkers, they are still your coworkers—not your family. That means you should avoid loaded language that implies otherwise, like “We’re one big family here!” Such language may uncomfortably cross a boundary with many coworkers.

Also listen to and respect coworkers who are uncomfortable with certain activities. For example, if a coworker indicates they are not comfortable going to happy hours—for any reason at all—do not pressure them to go.

Tip 2: Respect Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a key component of a healthy professional workplace. Take efforts to respect paid time off and sick-leave requests. Also remember that salaried employees often do not receive overtime pay, so frequently expecting them to work beyond their normal time commitments can quickly generate hostile feelings.

Tip 3: Respect Feedback

In a professional workplace, employees should be comfortable voicing concerns, whether it’s about a coworker’s behavior, the direction a project is going, or any other number of topics. If someone has a concern, listen to it and address it.

Tip 4: Encourage Respectful Communication

Effective communication is the engine that powers any professional workplace. According to Business News Daily, “team members and upper management should focus on their communication methods and the effect they have on the office environment.”

To improve communication, try measures such as:

• Setting clear procedures for meetings to avoid unnecessary ones and make the most of meetings that do occur. 

• Responding quickly to questions. 

• Clearly communicating feedback—both in the forms of praise and constructive criticism. 

• Soliciting ideas on what the company could be doing better.  

For more tips on the working world, have a look at Flex Capital’s other blog posts.