We all love the guy that has the positive outlook on everything. He tends to look on the most favourable side of events and always expects the best outcomes. There is always one optimistic person in every workplace. They are normally on a quest for discovery, eager to try out new approaches rather than being overly risk adverse.
The University of California recently carried out research which found that optimism is genetic. However it is worth noting that genes do not control the course of events. The emotions that we have in our activities, relationships and the environment we work in, all play a significant role in our tendency towards optimism. Fear breeds pessimism.
Optimism cultivates a culture of creativity and innovation in a workplace, two features which are highly sought after in today’s organisations. It influences a wide range of behaviours such as seeing the big picture, exploring ideas, being open to others, taking more risks and facing difficult tasks. It also makes people open to change. Understood in this way, optimism has important implications for an organisations agility and resiliency. Because of this, optimistic employees tend to be more productive employees in today’s economy.
“Optimism may be the most important job skill in the 21st century,” says de Benoist. “Organisations are faced with so much volatility and stress that the people who can rise above fears and anxiety are the ones who can help build a culture that is better able to thrive in our world”.
If you are considering an office refurbishment and want to improve optimism in your employees, then the design must support transparency. Ensure that people can see and be seen, this will help to build a sense of trust. Give employees choice and control over where and how they work by empowering the workplace to support continuous experimentation, progress and possibility. “Workers need to feel a sense of individual influence and control over their environment, versus feeling quashed by standardisation and rigidity,” says de Benoist.