When we talk about #Diversity in a workplace, we often refer to the cultural, racial, age, gender differences and we talk about embracing these to make an international and, well, diverse workplace. Whilst all of the above mentioned factors are extremely important factors that strengthen any cooperation, there are a few other things that are often overlooked when talking about diversity: background, culture, values.
One can argue that coming from different countries and cultures implies the background diversity, which is true. However, what I am talking about is background in terms of upbringing, education and experiences. No matter your age, race or gender, we have all been through different experiences and have received different education, which should only enrich our own perspectives of the world from socialising with each other.
Recently though, it has come to my attention that people tend to compete in terms of their backgrounds instead of embracing the differences and learning from each other. Diversity is not just build up of the visual, evident and obvious factors and it is disappointing to see that this is not being recognised. So how would I approach this rising issue?
* I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is simply used for this blog post
If you are reading this and wondering why #wellbeing is part of this section, then you should keep reading on to understand the full impact that our work and working environment has on our personal and mental wellbeing. Mental health is often very underestimated by employers, parents, and friends, as it is not easily detected and recognised. Often the early symptoms of not being well are associated with temporary stress or temporary fatigue but then a few month later the symptoms do not go away and your mind is still not feeling better.
What if it is not just stress? What if it is more than that?
As someone who has once been on a medical leave, as a cause of bullying at work, I can tell you are not alone in this and you need to put yourself first in such situations. If you are feeling ill-treated or your work being undermined and not appreciated, or a colleague is bullying you by their behaviour take an action and speak. I would advise to do the following:
If you feel that none of the above have helped you to overcome this challenge, re-evaluate the situation.
With experience, you would probably find at least one solution by starting to be aware and recognising these as rising issues.
Sometimes, there would be no issue and you would be perfectly happy at work and yet still feel like you need a change to be happy. Imagine that you have your dream job, and your life is a picture perfect and yet you'd feel like something is missing from it. This would make your morale lower and result in lack of motivation. Whilst there is no external influence on your behaviour, internally your mental wellbeing is being affected and it is ok to accept that you are not doing well and that it is not caused by anyone but it just comes from within. Listen to your gut feeling and if it tells you to jump - then jump!
Balancing work and life is a challenge that we learn to overcome with time and experience. Some of us use sports as a measure of stress release, others turn to their loved ones for support. No matter what you choose as your source of re-charge, make sure you have something to lean on.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is just used for the purpose of this blog post
After being away from the office for full two weeks, it may be challenging to get back to work and settle back in to the everyday rhythm. So how can you make the transition from holidays to being back at work easier?
Here are a few of my suggestions, which may help you out:
*I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is used here for blogging purposes
1. Organise your day by priorities: Being organised helps you to structure the day ahead and makes your workload seem more approachable and feasible to meet the deadlines. One of the techniques that may help you is to make a "To Do" list before you leave home. This way, when you are back at the office the next morning, you would know exactly where to start. Moreover, knowing your priorities and the tasks that require your immediate attention, will help you maintain your focus and concentration on what is important.
2. Take well timed breaks: Taking breaks is very important to ensure that your concentration is not lost. Make sure that every now and then you you take a short break, walk around the office, go to the kitchen and get a fruit or step outside for a minute. It is definitely good to take sometime outside and let your eyes rest from the computer screen. Avoid having lunch at your desk and having a sandwich quickly - there are a few things here to remember: a) eating fast is bad for your digestion system and can damage your health b) eating at your desk you are not concentrating neither on your food nor on your work.
3. Avoid more than one caffeine intake per day: This one is probably the most challenging to keep up with because nothing motivates you like a good cup of coffee. However, caffeine may increase the level of your anxiety without you even realising it. It can also make you edgy or react impulsively. So try and keep your caffeine intake to a minimum.
4. Have regular meetings with your manager: You'd think this one is straight forward and quite natural. Not all employers will see it that way. It is important that you have regular meetings with your manager to discuss any issues/challenges or the workload. This will help you see the bigger picture of your job rather than focusing on a tiny part of it. It will also ensure a good relationship with your manager and that you are both on the same page when it comes to work.
5. Avoid having your emails/calendar on your phone: If you are in a top senior position this may not always be possible to do if you need to be in contact 24/7. However, for the rest of us out there, we should try and avoid having emails on our personal phones. It is truly psychological, once we have it on our phone, we are tempted to check it all the time and then if we see an important email, we are tempted to reply or even worse anticipate the next day, thus causing your mind and body think of work --> not healthy.
6. Work/Life Balance: After you are done with your work day, make sure that you have something to keep your mind off work: healthy relationship, fitness, socialising with friends - whatever it may be, remember to always take care of yourself. At the end of the day, it is just a job and yes the employment market is tough and we hold on to what we have, but it is just a job. There is more to life than the world of emails and internal politics.
Attitude at work is one of the most important factors that differentiates you from your colleagues, impacts your productivity and helps you in any conflict solving. It is all about how do you perceive a situation and what you can learn from it or bring to it to improve it.
The way you are behaving towards your colleagues makes a big difference. Regardless of your past experience or your career path, you should always remember to be polite and appreciative of your colleagues. Don’t forget that we are learning something everyday and one day you might learn something from a colleague as well. In my last experience at work, attitude was something that was lacking and something that not many people understood and undervalued. That had affected my personal development as an employee and at some point decreased the productivity level.
Showing up to work with an attitude to show that you are better than anyone else will do no good to anyone and will probably hurt you in some way at some point as well.
On on the other side, if you show up to work with a positive attitude, you will be more motivated and will be more productive during the day. You have to also remember that everything in life is rather relative so unless you are in the business where someone could die (hospitals, life guard, etc.) think about your issue twice before you blow it out of proportion. There’s nothing worse than making a big deal out of a tiny problem that could probably be solved in a different and calmer way, of course depending on the management style.
Another thing to bare in mind is having expectations. If you are expecting something of your employee be clear on it and set clear guidelines. The thing is most of the time employees are willing to take on new roles and responsibilities but if it’s unclear what’s expected of them - how would they go around this??
Attitude truly makes a difference. Appreciation of others makes a difference. Respect to the other matters. Regardless of their age, experience level, position, socio-cultural background etc.
8 hours a day, 7 days a week - this is how much time we spend at work. Needless to say that for some of us work becomes home. Statistically, a lot of couples are formed in the working environment, as this is the most common place for people with the same interests to meet. You end spending most of your day at work and the other half of your day commuting to work. Thus, it is extremely important to make sure that you have chosen a profession that you like and that you are enjoying what you are doing. Let's not hide the truth, most of us, will have a Love-Hate relationship with our jobs. The few lucky ones, will actually never think of work as WORK because they are spending their time doing something that they love. So how do you find that profession, job, etc. that you like? How do you make the right choice? Is it by going to the right university or by letting life take you where you need to be?
Honestly, a good majority of people ends up doing something they do not actually have a degree in. Let's not talk about doctors, lawyers, etc. people who chose these as a profession, they probably ended up where they wanted to be and thankfully so. Let's focus on the other jobs. I for one, always knew that my ideal workplace would be in publishing. Yet due to some obstacles on the way, I did not receive a degree in literature nor did I study journalism. And yet by some miracle, I am working in a publishing house today. Should we then just listen to our hearts and follow our dreams?
Of course, we are always under a lot of pressure from our loved ones "Choose a job that pays well". How many happy millionaires do you know? Of course, we all need jobs that pay our bills, let's be honest here, and yes this is the reality. But if we only work on these basis, we are wasting so much time of our life when we could be using our potential to be doing so much more with our lives. Wealth comes and goes and your heart and passion remains. Think about it.
8 hours a day, 7 days a week - make every moment count.