Who among us would not like to love our job? It is no secret that for many people, the workplace is a source of great stress and dissatisfaction. From large companies to small teams, we often find ourselves uncomfortable in the routine we are subjected to on a daily basis.
Maybe we don’t find the space to concentrate and we seem to be throwing away precious hours of work. Or we can’t communicate effectively with colleagues and we feel isolated. Or again, maybe we seem to spend our lives in a meeting, without concluding anything.
However, this does not mean that we must resign ourselves to passively undergo the situations that arise in the workplace. Each of us, in its own small way, has the power to apply small changes, which will benefit not only us, but also our colleagues and maybe help us find the joy of work.
Rediscover energy – and stop wasting it (recharge)
The world of work is invaded by a burnout epidemic, and in some sectors there are even companies that, well aware of the damage that their employees suffer, adopt a strategy that many define as burn and turn , or “burn and change”, so their employees are squeezed to the last, and then replaced with others when they collapse under the weight of stress.
But why is this phenomenon so widespread today? According to many, this spread of burnout is due to the omnipresence of our mobile phones. Instead of making us work smarter, reducing the load and giving us more free time, they have transformed us into a sort of zombie, always connected but never really focused.
Open Space and Monk Monday Morning
In recent years, many companies have adopted an “open space” structure, where everyone shares a single, large workspace. The adoption of open space has several reasons, both organizational and economic, yet several studies show that, as far as productivity is concerned, it is a disaster. Being constantly surrounded by others takes away our ability to concentrate, forcing us to jump from one conversation to another, without ever dedicating ourselves completely to what we are doing. Sure, there are times when sharing ideas can be beneficial, but in most cases, moments of intensive work occur when we are isolated, free to reach a state of “flow”.
One technique that we can adopt to regain these moments of concentration is the “Monk Monday Morning”, or the Monday morning of the monk. It is a question of scheduling moments (in the example, Monday morning), in which to be “not available”, that is, not to reply to e-mails, phone calls and requests, and not to attend meetings. Having such moments will help us work better, and feel more satisfied.
How many hours a week do we spend sitting at the meeting room table? How many of these hours are truly productive? We are inundated with work, and sitting at a table certainly does not help us solve the problems that afflict us. In this case, the solution could be very simple: get up and go for a walk. From a mental point of view, changing the environment and diverting attention from what we are doing leads us to think differently, to evaluate things from a different point of view, often noting things that otherwise would have escaped us. From a physical point of view, moreover, walking stimulates the circulation, bringing more oxygen not only to the brain, but to the whole body, giving us a sort of “recharge”.
What do we think if we see a colleague wearing headphones during working hours? Many of us (especially the less young) turn up their noses, seeing it as a lack of respect or seriousness. After all, if a person listens to music, how can he concentrate? Yet often headphones are used to concentrate, isolating us from the outside world, to be able to focus on what we are doing. Creating some moments of the day (ideally before and after the lunch break) in which allowing people to wear headphones can bring great benefits.
We are so used to filling our calendars with projects and meetings, that the very idea of having free moments makes us feel like slackers. We live in a world that is full of notifications and stimuli, and consequently we always feel restless, as if we could never complete all our tasks. The first step towards peace of mind is to give each thing the right priority. To do this, we must first recognize that being always engaged does not mean being always productive. By nature, some activities do not need to be carried out immediately. If we manage to organize our day by giving the right priority to things, the work environment will become more peaceful for both us and our colleagues.
Before the advent of communication technologies, work was something that happened in the office. When we got home, the work stayed there, it didn’t follow us. In recent years, however, the work has increasingly begun to permeate the moments that were once dedicated to something else. As a result, the number of actual working hours has grown dramatically, to the point that many of us struggle to find times when we are not working. However, several studies show that working longer hours doesn’t mean getting more, quite the opposite. Exceeded a total of hours (around 50 weekly), our energies are exhausted, and productivity drops drastically. We must actively commit ourselves to limiting and defining the moments of work, and make sure to take at least one day a week in which not to work.
Another big problem today is presenceality: the idea that only if we are in the office are we really working. While for some jobs that require physical presence, this requirement is fundamental, there are many other jobs that do not necessarily require our presence at the desk. On the contrary, this imposition risks taking energy and concentration away, creating the opposite effect to that desired. It is time to free yourself from these outdated conceptions, to stop imposing strict rules on workers, instead trying to create a situation in which they are able to make the most of their potential.
Notifications and messages
Creativity and stress don’t really get along. When we are stressed, our creativity is greatly affected. Not only that, our ability to make decisions is also severely hampered during stressful moments. One of the major causes of stress that we experience today is due to the constant hum of notifications and messages that we receive. Disabling notifications for a few hours a day can undoubtedly help us reduce stress levels, allowing our minds to gather all the energies that would otherwise run out on each other, and focus on what is really important.