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Brain circuits

The four keys to cultivate a positive work environment

Published 13 December 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

As we move towards 2022 and the new year, it’s time for reflecting and thinking about good resolutions and aspirations for positive life and work changes. For company leaders, one item on top of their agenda should be to cultivate a positive work environment. Considering the fierce competition for top talent, which will increase in the coming years, cultivating a pleasant work culture where employees have the means to reach their full potential will be one of the key differentiating factors for choosing an employer.

Sustainable entrepreneurs have become pioneers in experimenting with the future of work and offer some excellent lessons in how to create a positive and meaningful work environment. Many have experienced the emotional voids of a workaholic lifestyle first-hand, and have left well-paid and prestigious positions in search of purpose in their professional and personal lives. Here are four keys to a better workplace where employees feel a sense of ownership and purpose:

Invest in employees’ wellbeing – and your own. This can take many forms, including more or on-demand vacation time, fewer meetings, as well as wellness at work and mindfulness programs.

Enhance resilience. Investing in continuous education, organizing regular peer-to-peer feedback sessions, providing a supportive work environment, and ensuring a healthy work–life balance will increase resilience at work.

Cultivate entrepreneurial thinking. Empower employees to take ownership of their projects, share responsibilities through self-management structures and team decision-making, and openly encourage new ideas and experimentation. 

Experiment with new organizational structures. Ask yourself, do you really need all the existing hierarchies and reporting structures? Can you reduce or eliminate some of them? Establish democratic and transparent salaries, and eliminate compensation inequalities. Enable flexible working arrangements.

These new ways of working not only contribute to more fulfilled and healthier employees, but also to the resilience of the organization as a whole, which is particularly important in face of the burgeoning challenges our society is facing. 


Julia Binder

Julia Binder

Professor of Sustainable innovation and Business Transformation at IMD

Julia Binder’s research focuses on sustainability in organizations, with a focus on sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Her work explores the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic, social, and environmental impact in initiating and transforming their businesses.


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