You would not think there are so many ways to cut down on workplace stress.
Archive for the ‘life at work’ Category
Chief Fulfiller of Needs? Vice President of Cool?
Picture having to explain this title to your next boss. Yes, that old “give ‘em a promotion instead of a raise” game is back and this time with a vengeance.
Are you one of those people who continue to work even while on vacation? You check your office voice and email. You call in. You even bring work along with you.
Do you want to stop this?
You may think it’s not doable but, with a little advance planning, you can take an honest-to-goodness real-true vacation and come back refreshed and ready to go. Here’s how.
Maybe you think you don’t have any. But you do! No matter your level or job title, you have the ability to claim (and enhance) a measure of power for yourself at any job.
Go to “The 7 sources of workplace power” and you’ll see how.
Hey, it could be worse. At least you have a job.
Still, you spend a lot of hours there. Wouldn’t it be nice if you enjoyed it more?
Well, there are actually things you can do to take your so-so job and turn it into one worth getting out of bed for: “How to make an ordinary job extraordinary.”
A lovely and–timely–guest post from Melissa Russell down in Tampa, FL:
The dark and dreary days of winter are hard on many people, both physically and emotionally. And when those winter woes carry over into the workplace, it can make for tough sledding. Here are a few ways to beat the winter blues at work.
Get Up and Get Moving
Exercise is a wonderful way to elevate your mood no matter what the season. When you work out, your body releases endorphins that trigger receptors in your brain, producing a feeling of a natural high. That, in turn, can boost energy levels and ward off feelings of negativity.
Enjoy a Mini-Break
During February and March, when winter can be a real bear, use some of your vacation or personal days to schedule a series of three-day weekends. Use these mini-breaks to plan fun activities to help you cope with the cold season, whether it’s exploring a nearby town’s antique shops or spending some time reading a good book in front of a cozy fire.
For those who have the time and money, plan a winter vacation to a warm, sunny destination. Perhaps it’s a family trip to Florida or a romantic getaway to a tropical island. Regardless, basking in the sun’s warmth and light will melt your winter blues away.
Keep Up Office Morale
If you’re fighting the winter blues, chances are some of your co-workers are battling them as well. Planning get-togethers is a great way to keep morale up and build stronger bonds at the same time.
• Host a Potluck
Organizing a weekly potluck dinner for co-workers is something that everyone can look forward to enjoying. A fun idea is to have a theme for each get-together, and many of those themes can focus on warmer climates. Have a Mexican night or a Jamaican night and serve spicy foods that will warm you from the inside out.
• Plan Team-Building Activities
Plan some fun activities you and co-workers can do after hours. Perhaps you could all learn an activity together, such as taking salsa lessons, learning to cook or joining a ping-pong tournament. Whatever you choose, make sure it has nothing to do with work.
• Start a Book Club
A great way to beat the blues and get to know co-workers a bit better is to start a book club. Book clubs tend to get people involved in engaging discussions, and there’s no better way to get to know someone than to know how they think. The books could be lighter comedies or stories that take place in tropical destinations – something that will get everyone’s mind off the next Nor’easter.
Try Light Therapy
Good ol’ sunlight is just what the doctor ordered. In fact, it is thought that the type of depression associated with winter, which is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is triggered by a lack of sunlight when the days grow shorter. Going for a short walk outside or even opening all the curtains in your home or office to let in some daylight can have a positive effect on your mood.
If the weather makes venturing outside impossible, or clouds are obscuring the sun, it may be time to consider light therapy. Sitting in front of a light therapy box, which is designed to mimic the effects of natural sunlight on the body, for just 30 minutes a day can help alleviate winter depression.
Light therapy boxes range from small portable models that cost about $50 to larger models priced at $400 and more. Although insurance coverage may not pay for a light therapy box, it could be well worth the investment if it helps keep depression at bay.
Remember, if you’re feeling the winter blues, you’re far from alone. Millions of people are fighting the same battle. And some of those people are likely your co-workers or friends. So, band together and try to fill the winter season with fun activities until spring blooms once more.
Melissa Russell works as a writer on marketing and business management. She also writes on topics such as military education and liberal arts for a number of universities through the University Alliance. Find Melissa on Twitter @M_L_Russell.
Well, okay, you can celebrate. Just not at your workplace holiday party, should you be so lucky to have one.Why? Because your boss will be there. Yes, it’s that simple.
If you need one, there’s a better explanation in this week’s Seattle Times post, “Keep the “work” in workplace holiday party.”
Makes you wonder why they even call it a party.
The last post collected some interesting reactions re: working independently at home versus working in an office. Most commenters leaned distinctly in favor of “Just leave me alone and let me do my job. Please.”
So David Brooks’s latest editorial, “Amy Chua is a Wimp,” struck a chord. (Amy Chua is the author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” the controversial new book about how strict “Chinese” mothering produces smarter and more accomplished kids–but that’s a whole other issue!)
Brooks believes that interpersonal skills are just as important as (and are perhaps more difficult to learn than) acing math problems or playing the violin. He cites studies showing that groups are better at problem-solving than individuals, and that a group I.Q. can be higher than the I.Q.’s of even the smartest members. This makes intuitive sense. Don’t you “feel smarter” when in the company of smart engaged people? It’s the same boost your tennis game gets when you play with someone better than you.
We curmudgeonly types enjoy working solo and feel we are more efficient and effective when we do so. Working Girl counts herself among this number. But look around you: Most new inventions (e.g., the device you are reading these words on) are turned into realities by groups of people, not lone geniuses.
At the very least, the lone geniuses need collaborators to make up for their deficiencies (“The Social Network,” anyone?).
However, Brooks does not discuss the trickiest part of all: How/where to find a smart group of people?
That’s the real problem.
The good people over at Career Overview recently tossed this over the transom: “Why Work Doesn’t Work: 10 Fatal Flaws of the Modern Day Office.”
Some interesting ideas here. It’s true that interruptions (which you get a lot of in most offices) make sustained meaningful mental effort almost impossible. Meetings, of course, are the ultimate anti-work. In WG’s experience, most people who spend eight-hour days in offices only get around four hours of actual work done.
And–something many companies just don’t want to believe–information workers can’t be productive for eight-hour stretches. The brain boggles after around three hours. Yeah, you may keep on “working,” but it is a mere shadow of its former self.
It makes intuitive sense. When WG switched from workplace editing to at-home editing, her productivity tripled. Today, her clients get meaty beefy hours of high-quality work. And WG spends fewer hours working.
Still, is it really true that “face to face collaboration isn’t needed anymore”? Yes, WG has a client she’s worked with for years and has met only once in real life. And, yes, this system is humming along just fine. But she isn’t working with him. She’s providing an independent product.
For teams of people who are designing/repairing/evaluating an object or service, taking advantage of the energy and creativity that happens when human brains function in close proximity can be key. Not to mention, toiling together toward a common goal is one of life’s more pleasurable experiences.
Plus, it can be good for you. Don’t you find that when you are in the company of smart, innovative people you become smarter and more innovative yourself? (You may also find the opposite to be true.)
Prediction: The most successful companies of the future will be the ones that find a way to combine the bliss and benefits of uninterrupted productivity with the amazing dynamism (and bliss!) of in-person collaboration.