10 Practical Morale Boost at Workplace
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”. - Winston Churchill
The nature of any working environment can determine the different set of values portrayed by your colleagues in your workplace such as commitment, integrity, morale, and initiative and proactive. However, these values are constantly affected by other external factors such motivation, incentives, teamwork and welfare. If these factors are not well taken care of, the values will definitely degrade overtime.
I have mentioned in my article on how conflict in a workplace can lead to the breakdown of an organization and that if there are no measures being taken, the severity of the conflict would escalate even further.
1. Dominate your Mountain of Workloads
“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”
-Denis Waitley, American Motivational Speaker.
Having a complete control over how you work can have a massive impact on your working attitude. Sure, your manager or CEO might have bombarded you on whatever tasks that suit your level of work. But it still reflects on how we can be more manageable with our tasks and how to make it more fun.
- Email Check twice a day. Without even realizing it, we spend almost half a day on checking, reading and replying the endless stream of emails. Next thing we know, the boss wants our paperwork to be done in an hour!
So how can we deal with this? Limit “email check” twice a day, one hour per email check; morning and afternoon. That way, we have that extra energy to do other things that matter.
- Online organizer! Online application like SharePoint has made our live easier. Whatever online organizer you have, ensure you can collaborate your calendar with your colleagues so they know which time of the day you are not available like picking up your kids from school so that there will be no last minute meeting.
- Knowing your peak state.Human brain capacity can only work certain range of hours, and the moment that capacity is reaching its limit, then there is no way “being productive” can be achieved. Know when it is your limit especially at what certain hour you are being unproductive (3 PM for me) and try to squeeze that energy within those productive hours on your priority tasks.
2. Manage your Time
“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration”
-Marissa Mayer, Former president and chief executive officer of Yahoo!
When you are working where leaving after 5PM is putting your on the spotlight for being “too early” to leave for work, then this might put yourself in a predicament. You can use your collaborative calendar to block out time from 4.30 pm so that there will be no meetings after that. Some strategies you might want to consider:
- Being part of a car pool that leaves at a pre-scheduled time each day.
- Being picked up at an arranged time by colleagues
- Being to a group that walks home at an arranged time.
- Having a particular bus or train to catch (or risk waiting another hour).
3. Don't Overwork!
“Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy.The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful”
- Alexander Kjerulf
Forcing yourselves to work extra long hours in order to finish a bottomless workloads does not worth your life. Research has shown that overwork limits the cognitive capability to make decision, produce quality work and develop innovation and ideas. According to Mirror.co.uk, Yukinobu Sato from Japan passed away from working straight long hours and 70 hours unpaid overtime before he ended his life from health disorder.
Make use of your lunchtime to do something productive. Avoid eating over the keyboard and if you must stay inside, use your lunch break to do online banking, online shipping, finding gifts and so on. Getting a fresh air outside in the park, go for a walk, meeting with some old friends can gradually improve your personal wellbeing.
4. Get Outside your Comfort Zone!
“No matter how busy you are, or how busy you think you are, the work will always be there tomorrow, but your friends might not be.”
Let’s face it. We are lazy by nature and we are comfortable to live inside our own bubble and we do not want to mess around other’s people’s bubble. This can be in a form of communication with your colleagues a few meters from your cubicle. Do you prefer to communicate with them through emails because you “respect” their privacy and ended up flooding their inbox with trivial conversation?
The challenge of the 21st Century is engaging with your colleagues in conversation. That way, not only we improve mutual understanding, we can save hours of typing and auto-correcting our text. And also, do not get on the phone during the conversation with them because they need that undivided attention.
5. Holiday, Here We Go!
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”
Sometimes to take time off from work requires a great deal of thought whether or not to take the entitlement to get on a holiday or to stay at work and continue working at long hours. A number of reasons may arise from this, and there are: we love our work way too much, we understand our client’s requirements and we know how to accomplish their need and also, we fear other people would not be able to take up our position when it is important for other colleagues to improve and learn from taking other people’s position.
The Australian Institute has reported that the Australians do not take their full holiday entitlement each year out of fear that other people could not be on par with their current knowledge and skills, the requirement to be “on call” should the client requires only them and fear of emergencies or ad-hoc requirement during their absence. As a result, more employees would suffer from “burn-out” and thus hindering their productivity level.
6. Creating a Brilliant Business Case
“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.”
Working eight hours straight can be stressful to some, especially when you are expected to finish every work within that hours and everything seems to be bottomless. So if you prefer to work either four longer days for a fifth day off (usually termed as compressed hours), or you may request to reduce working hours or working from home a couple of days a week, then you tackle your request professionally. This can be done by looking out for colleagues on what they use in terms of flexible working options and what other workers in other departments in your organization have in place.
Gather up some case studies on employers and employees accessing the types of working arrangements that interest you. This can be done by starting out to research on certain websites like Australian Bureau of Statistics, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Diversity Council of Australia. These websites offer good examples of how flexible working can be in terms of increasing productivity and morale of the employee and many more.
7. Working From Home
“Burnout is about resentment. Preventing it is about knowing yourself well enough to know what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful.”
You might consider telecommuting as an approach for flexible working options and how you would convince your managers that telecommuting suits your working persona would depend on explaining how telecommuting works best in your work situation and guidelines that your managers can feel comfortobale using. You can also find some research done by the Australian Telework Advisory Committee (ATAC) showing how Australian employers can leverage telecommuting effectively.
I have shared here a few tips to help you make the arrangement work for you and your employer/ managers should your employer/ managers agreed upon your telecommuting request:
a) Be Flexible. Just because you work from home, that does not mean that restrains your from attending important meetings even outside working hours. Being there when needed also means you are being flexible.
b) Never lose communication with your managers. Frequent updates on the progress of certain projects or objectives maybe through WhatsApp or emails can be done. At least they are on the loop on our activities.
c) Be contactable. Ensure that all modes of communication (cellphones, emails, landline phone) are easily accessible. This shows that you have sense of awareness on any incoming important calls either from client or your managers.
d) Calendar update on working situation. Ensure your employers/ managers know when are the certain days you are telecommuting and when you are in the office and how your performance can be measured.
e) Structured working time at home. The inevitable distractions at home such as doing the laundry, cooking, chores are unavoidable and by having a structured working time to complete your work objectives and projects is important in order to balance your work life habit.
8. Lead by Example
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”
-John Quincy Adams, 6thPresident of the United States.
Many workplaces have good work/ life balance policies but everyone is chained by the culture of working long hours. As a result, it has become a norm to work at extended hour; otherwise your colleagues will frown you upon. Well, not unless, you lead the army of civilians and march through the masses like a boss. However, you need to have a certain leadership qualities by showing asserting yourselves to do the following:
a) Be Green. Start by officially informing everyone to live by a set of rules starting with keeping the office clean from waste materials like papers, glass or plastic. You can lead them by literally putting all the papers, glass and plastic to its respective bin. Gradually, people will follow your footsteps.
b) Have a hobby. Everyone has their own to escape from reality by doing other creative things that allow them to soothe their stress hormone at work. Moreover, by keeping a keen interest in their hobby, we can see the other side of our colleague. They may put all their energy and commitment at work in order to produce a quality set of work. However, they might be doing other productive things outside normal office hours like cooking an Italian cuisine, or maybe fishing, creating robots or indulging into Virtual Reality. By having a hobby yourselves, you can show to everyone that you are able to balance your life whilst having fun despite stressful working hours.
c) Have breakfast with your family. Why would you spend expensive money on coffee when you can have a nice breakfast with your family whilst planning what you are going to do for the rest of the day.
d) Outsource to upgrade your free time. Sure, you are hell bent to do home chores, gardening, walk your dogs and the list goes on. However, you can upgrade your free time but letting other people do your normal routine and often, by paying them. Thus, this will give you some space and room to do other productive things.
9. Be Ethically Nice
“There ‘s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated”
-Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.
Sometimes it is hard to not whine at work especially when you are having a bad day; often this comes from peer pressure or hot-blooded managers who wants everything to be perfect. Yet there are some ways where being nice can be appreciated by your work colleagues.
a) Appreciate everyone’s hard work. Nothing is more painful than being under-appreciated by your colleagues let alone your managers especially when you are being a part of a big project. Human’s emotions are very fragile when being forced to be in this situation. Thus, you have to understand the strength and weakness of your colleagues and appreciate their hard work whilst helping them to improve further.
b) Avoid Gossip. Gossips are the devils’ whisper in any working environment and it always gives birth to backstabber, favoritism, discrimination and the list goes on. Always be on alert whenever you are in the gossip zone especially among your colleagues or working group.
c) Be all ears. Listening to other people thoughts, feelings, problems and life issues give us a better understanding and dimension on how their life affects their working habit. By listening to them without even saying a word, it is sufficient for them to release out the tensions inside their chest whilst increasing their trust on you.
d) Be on time with your work. Being present during the start of the day not only gives you time to plan on what to do for the next eight hours, it also gives other people a good impression and motivation for them on the benefit of being early at work.
e) Speak your mind during team meetings. People tend to quickly judge your character, intellect, attitude and leadership if you tend to stay in your comfort zone during important team meetings like project meetings, managers meeting or any meetings that involve our opinions to be heard. Nothing we say is ever wrong, what matters is that we have the courage to speak our mind.
10. Being a Genuine Team Member
Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies”
-Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric.
The most common answer during any job interview when asked on what quality we have that can benefit the organization. To which we usually replied “I am a team player”. As awkward as it sound, managers usually monitor our progress in terms of being a team player. This can be achieved by giving support in a working team, show some support, being active and participating in a group project, or helping complete a priority task before a deadline. These are invaluable way to contribute towards the larger goals and targets in your workplace.
Communication is important among your colleagues, not only it helps to highlight the important news or feedback on the current update of the latest project we handle, it also shows that we are reliable and willing to take constructive ideas for the better of an organization.
Other ways to contribute are:
- Avoid sending broadcast message through WhatApp or social media on unimportant information to busy team members as this will affect their impression on you.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Surely, being all serious and tense would not make you stand out among others. The chances to become approachable is to share good jokes or laughter with others in order to release tensions at work.
- Offering to mentor a younger colleague.
- Offer everyone to join bootcamp or yoga.
- Organising sports, lunches or family days.
- Volunter to work inter-departmental project or committee to get to know new people outside our office norm.