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The best tips for a better working environment in your car wash

You should take a close look at the working conditions in your car wash if you feel that there is a bad working atmosphere. It is not only things like break times, work-life balance or entertainment in the break room that have a positive effect on the working atmosphere. Much more often, bad atmosphere at work is related to a particular undertone. And here, as the boss, you are the person who can easiest do something about it.

Improve the working atmosphere – checklist

If you want to create a more pleasant atmosphere at work, you should first find out what is causing the bad mood. This is because the employees often align themselves with the boss. Accordingly, you should critically review your own behaviour. Are you impatient, bad-tempered, offhand or do you start to shout quickly? If so, your employees will not be in a good mood. We've put together a few things to help you make the working conditions for your employees more enjoyable.

1. Make it clear that mistakes in everyday working life are human

Of course it is annoying when someone makes a mistake. It is even more annoying, however, if the employee in question does not dare admit this mistake. Often everything is made much worse by remaining silent. So make it clear to every new employee from the outset that mistakes happen and that you won't tear anyone's head off if they admit to having been stupid. Attention! It is important that you also stand by your words when the time comes! Telling someone to come to you with all their mistakes and then yelling at them in front of the entire team is counterproductive. Always keep in mind that it's you YOURSELF who gets angry!

2. Your own tone can make for a good working atmosphere

Do you need a little longer in the morning to get going, and would you prefer it if everyone just kept their mouths shut? Then you should still try to greet everyone friendly and, as far as possible, retire to the office first. If you start your employees off in the morning in a bad mood, you will be setting the tone for the whole day. Of course, it is even better if you can be friendly and open right from the start – if you set a good example, this will also benefit the working atmosphere.

3. Putting a friendly foot down can improve the working climate

If there is a troublemaker in your team or if problems are first discussed with all those who have nothing to do with it, you can make a statement to all your employees. Summon them together and give as a guideline that conflicts or complaints about certain ways of working should first be discussed one-on-one – between the two employees concerned. Use a factual, constructive tone, as this is the only way criticism can be accepted and understood. If the two persons in question cannot find a solution, they should come to you. You decide what to do. 

Finally, you can point out that there is too much gossiping and that this is unpleasant for most employees. Everyone will know who is meant by this announcement, and when the troublemaker begins to gossip again, they will have a reason to ignore them or put them in their place. You should always bear in mind that you should set a good example in this situation and adopt a calm, friendly tone. Don't insult anybody, or show somebody up. This is not necessary in small teams, because everyone knows who is meant. If nothing changes afterwards, you can also ask the troublemaker to behave in a civilized manner in a one-on-one interview.

4. Good working atmosphere through thoughtful gestures

Whether you bring cake from time to time or drink a coffee together after work, there are many little things that can help you to create a positive working atmosphere. However, the smaller the team, the less you can do together during working hours – there are not enough substitutes, for example, to allow lots of employees to take a break at the same time. However, there are other approaches that also work well in small teams. For example, by keeping an eye on your employees working outside. In winter they are happy when you bring them a hot tea or coffee, in summer a water or a lemonade.

5. Improving the working atmosphere through praise

"If I don't complain, that's praise enough" – this sentence should go down in work history as one of the worst sayings ever by bosses. It's fundamentally wrong. If someone has proven themselves, for example by talking to a dissatisfied customer at the cash desk and satisfactorily resolving the situation, or preventing damage in the car wash by a quick reaction, praise is certainly due. Also on days when there is a lot going on or when you have a lot of customers because of a special offer, you should thank the team for remaining professional throughout. Everyone likes to hear that they've done something well. So if you think it, just say it. It is a small gesture with a big effect – people who feel valued are simply happier to come to work.   

6. Monthly meetings improve communication

You see your employees every day and exchange a few words here and there. You see some of them more often than others, with some you are on a more familiar footing. So that you don't lose touch with the others, you should schedule a meeting once a month, where everyone can make suggestions or explain what needs to be improved. Take each suggestion seriously and consider whether its implementation is possible and practical. 

Also pay attention to how your employees are doing. People do not work like machines – they care about their loved ones, get ill, are sad or have heartache. If you find that someone is not well, show consideration for that person. Offer to have a chat, but don't insist – some private problems are not easy to explain in front of the boss. Just make it clear that the person can count on your support.

7. Joint actions bond people together

Once you have established a positive and respectful working atmosphere, you can invite your employees to take part in joint activities. Maybe you'll find a concert you'd all like to visit together, or you organise a barbecue? These activities do not even have to take place regularly – for many people it becomes too much if, for example, they have to spend the evening once a week with their colleagues because of peer pressure. From time to time, however, such events are pleasant, create shared fond memories and lead to all employees getting to know each other better and also talking about private things.

Summary: Working conditions are often easy to improve

In most cases, it is not difficult for the boss to improve the working environment in the car wash. You set the tone, and if you are friendly and appreciative right from the outset, most employees will be happy to follow you in your footsteps. Individual employees who create a bad mood can usually be discouraged if no one joins in with them or if they are politely asked to refrain from their behaviour. Give praise when there is something to praise, and treat mistakes with leniency. Make sure that your employees are feeling well and let them know through small gestures and conversations that you value and support them. Joint activities ensure closer team bonding.