Get more done by ‘positively’ charging your day.
How much time do you spend working? Most of us spend 40+ hours – at least a third of our week – at work, but how much of that time are we actually being productive? The answer may depend on whether our glasses are half empty or half full. According to research cited by Forbes.com, happier, more positive workers spend “80% of their week on work-related tasks,” while their unhappy counterparts only spend 40%. In short, positive workers are 50% more productive than negative workers.
Other studies have found similar correlations between positivity and productivity. From heightened energy to enhanced problem solving and increased brain stimulation, positivity in the workplace has a plethora of benefits. A positive outlook can also help reduce stress and allow teams to work more cooperatively.
On the flipside, negativity and stress can have real costs. It’s estimated that workplace stress costs the U.S. economy more than $500 billion each year. A negative workplace culture can lead to higher turnover rates, accidents and mistakes, as well as absenteeism – all of which carry a price tag for small businesses.
So why not try to avoid these costs and boost productivity by fostering positivity within your office? You’ve got nothing to lose (except a bad attitude, maybe). We’ll even get you started. Here are some tips on how you can add positive vibes to your workday.
Let’s start with the office itself. Small tweaks to your environment can affect your mood and the moods of those who share your workspace.
First, check out your personal space. Are your chair, desk and keyboard ergonomically aligned? Do you have the option to work standing or are you limited to sitting? Do you have access to natural light? If not, can you install lights that mimic the sun’s rays instead of the gloomy florescent lighting that comes standard in most offices? Not only can these factors affect your mood, but they can also impact your overall health.
Next, think about the positive changes you can make to the entire office environment. Does your office offer varied workspaces that employees can choose from? For example, is there an open area where teams can work collaboratively? Is there a closed-off quiet area for solo projects? Allowing employees to choose where they spend their time working can promote positivity by instilling a sense of autonomy.
Mindfulness and Mediation
Mindfulness is a practice that takes stock of the now. Practicing mindfulness is as simple as taking a moment to assess where you are, what you are doing and why. Often, mindfulness (despite the name) is more about being aware of your own body and how it’s situated.
If you need help getting started, check out some guides, or install a meditation app on your phone.
Keeping a Work/Life Balance
You need time to recharge, and we’re not talking about your iPhone or even sleep. Although work can seem overwhelming and impossible to step away from at times (especially in sales, where you’re always “on”), it’s vital to carve out time that has nothing to do with work.
Maintaining a work/life balance allows you to manage stress more effectively, reducing your risk of burnout. While it might seem counter-productive to take a personal day from time-to-time, you can actually boost your productivity by taking time off.
Creating a Genuinely Positive Culture
Let’s be real. You can’t be positive 100% of the time, and you can’t force others to do so either. Creating a positive work culture requires a holistic approach that goes beyond material benefits. The Harvard Business review identifies six “positive and virtuous practices” that have been shown to bolster positivity in the workplace. Each practice is actually a method of interacting with coworkers and employees – not an added perk or employee benefit. We’ve listed them below. Incorporate them into your workday to get the positive vibes flowing.
- Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends
- Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling
- Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes
- Inspiring one another at work
- Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
- Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity
There are two easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. The first is to keep a gratitude journal. Spend five minutes a day writing down things or naming people that you’re grateful for. This simple practice can help keep the negative in perspective.
Another easy exercise is to practice saying “thank you” to coworkers and employees. Let them know that they are valued and appreciated. Whether it’s through a private note or a company-wide shout-out, taking the time to recognize others will pump up their confidence and positivity. This can also lead to higher employee retention rates and productivity.
Keep the Complaint Dept. in Check
Mistakes happen. While it is important to learn from them, it’s also important avoid blame and practice forgiveness when possible. Unfortunately, too often mistakes turn into complaints that can lead to a negative atmosphere.
Begin by assessing how much time you spend complaining throughout the day. Even if you don’t think it’s that often, it may be enough to kill any positive vibes before they have a chance to thrive. To curb this behavior, pick a topic you usually complain about and make a resolution to avoid bringing it up in conversations or using negative words when discussing it.
Foster Personal Relationships
A third of your time - or more - is typically spent with the people in your office. Treating these people with respect and empathy can help boost overall morale and positivity. Getting to know your coworkers and treating them with the same care and interest as you would a friend will help to make everyone’s life at the office more enjoyable.
Turns out it really is true: a happy worker is a productive worker. You can boost your productivity and the productivity of your office by making small changes that take very little time or money. All you need is a change in perspective.
What steps will you take to make your workplace more positive and more productive?
Mary Carder, Integrated Marketing Specialist
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