Autonomy at work — that's what employees truly crave. A sense of control and freedom of choice regarding how they accomplished their tasks can have a hugely positive effect on workers' well-being, including increased self-esteem, improved job performance and a renewed sense of enjoyment and pride regarding their jobs.

From an organizational standpoint, how can best you meet your staff's needs to be independent and maximize your company's productivity as a result?

1. Be flexible

Giving your employees the opportunity to work from home or schedule hours that work for their family lives is a huge factor in how valued they feel, according to a study by the University of Birmingham Business School in the U.K.

This may be especially important to parents who work for you and are challenged when it comes to carving out necessary time for their children's school needs and activities. Anything you can offer in terms of even a day or two a week working offsite can help such an employee feel less overall stress and more appreciation for and loyalty to your company, which in turn leads to better work performance.

2. Encourage a climate of positive interactions

Foster an environment in which each of your employees can come to you with their personal contributions, ideas and feedback. Also, create a culture of kindness in your workplace.

Research by Jia Wong, associate professor of human resource development at Texas A&M University found that discouraging uncivil behavior between co-workers, such as bullying or infighting over work issues, empowered individual employees to stand up for themselves and work independently and positively to resolve conflicts.

Having a clear policy in place to definitively outline which behaviors are considered unacceptable in your workplace, and which behaviors deserve praise and recognition, is essential for employee compliance.

3. Don't interrupt unnecessarily

A study from Michigan State University found that even the most highly trained and experienced employees are apt to make a mistake if distracted from a task. This is because a great worker has often found the best and fastest way to accomplish every facet of his work, and is highly focused on the procedure that works best for him/her.

Trust your worker to get the job done in the way that is most comfortable and effective.

4. Provide information

If organizational changes are afoot, explain what's happening so employees don't feel stressed, anxious or left in the dark, and can utilize coping strategies such as managing their emotions and seeking support, according to a study by the Auckland University of Technology.

If you explain the goals and procedures taking places, your employees will maintain a sense of control over their job security and work, and will feel personally and individually respected. Never forget that transparency breeds trust.