Emotional Intelligence - A key factor for a thriving workplace

Posted by Gary Duguid on 30/04/2019

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Emotional Intelligence is an important factor for a thriving workplace…

...but how could the layout and way you are using your workplace be affecting this?

Workspace Environments | Interaction

What exactly is emotional intelligence?

Filtering into mainstream psychology in the 1990s, emotional intelligence (EI) can be summarised as someone’s ability to understand and manage their own emotions, whilst also being able to influence the emotions of others (Institute of Health and Human Potential, 2018).

Based on empathy and emotions, emotional intelligence forms the basis of how people and relationships function. In the workplace, this includes relationships between colleagues, directors and staff, and an organisation and its clients – just to name a few examples.

Why is it important?

As well as lying at the heart of effective relationships, EI effects everyday business decisions and actions – from collaborative work to promoting and hiring employees. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that EI is gaining momentum in the corporate world – it’s an important trait for everyone in the workplace, from managers to new recruits.

Playing such a huge role in the day-to-day life of a workplace and its people, EI can significantly affect wellbeing; if staff members feel understood and their opinions valued, they are far more likely to thrive. Take the example of creative differences – someone with a higher level of emotional intelligence will find it easier to empathise, accept different points of view and attempt to find common ground. Alternatively, someone who lacks empathy may become defensive, and may find it hard to see the positives in an alternative opinion. This could lead to tension or conflict, which has negative repercussions for both wellbeing and productivity.

One psychologist who promotes the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace is Dr Martyn Newman. He suggests that: “Businesses depend on the people who work for them to be highly engaged, able to adapt quickly to internal and external changes and to show fresh ways of thinking. The set of skills we need to meet these needs are rooted in our emotional and social behaviours – and studies also show that as you grow a culture of emotional intelligence in your organisation, levels of absenteeism drop, and engagement levels increase.”

Emotional Intelligence | Interaction

Understanding different individual working styles and approaches can result in more productive and effective collaborative work. 

The role of innovative workplace design

From our experience, the focus of a successful workplace should be its people – how they think, act and behave. An office layout that facilitates collaboration and openness, and one that caters for varying working styles, is a great basis for companies wanting to promote emotional intelligence.

Equally, creating a tailor-made workplace highlights a deep-rooted empathy with employees; if they are working in a space that is built around their needs, they are far more likely to feel valued and able to perform their tasks to the best of the abilities.

We’re firm believers that flexible workplaces play a huge role in wellbeing. Find out more about the importance of flexibility by reading some of our other blogs: Office Café Culture, The Rise of Resimercial and Spontaneity in the Workplace.