Thursday 23 August 2018

You are what you say! The secrets to being likeable in the workplace

Given the amount of time we all spend at work, it is great when we enjoy what we do - and even better when we work with likeminded people who we get along with and enjoy being around.

When we work with people we like, the day passes by quicker and not only that, we tend to be more productive and also more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty.

So how do we become one of the co-workers that everyone else wants to work with? There are a number of traits and habits that you will see in your likeable work colleagues and with a bit of practice and perseverance it won’t be long before you become one of them!

Likeable people are good communicators

They ask lots of questions of their colleagues and seem genuinely interested in getting to know people beyond the job they do. They are the ones who remember birthdays and ask after your kids / dog.

Likeable people have a positive mindset

They’re the ones who rouse everyone else up when there’s an emergency or when the pressure is on. Rather than dwell on the negatives, likeable people see beyond challenges and focus on positive outcomes and they don’t wallow when things go wrong.

Likeable people are empathetic

They appreciate that everyone in the team has a job to do and they don't focus solely on their own results. They can sense when people are off their game and are the ones to offer support when they can see people in their team are struggling.

Likeable people have good manners

They understand the importance of a well-placed ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and are the first to congratulate their colleagues on a job well done. They also understand meeting etiquette and are careful not to speak for the sake of it.

Likeable people can take and give constructive criticism

They know that in order to develop and grow – and therefore succeed – you have to be willing to improve yourself and learn from your mistakes. When they give feedback, they do so in a way as to not antagonise their colleagues

So now we know the characteristics that likeable people share, what can we do to become more likeable with our colleagues? Here are some simple suggestions to start you off:

Avoid competition

If your work colleagues see you as a competitor, the barriers will go up and people will be reluctant to get close to you. Irrespective if how ambitious you are, try not to create a competitive work environment among your team mates or claim credit for successes that were more of a team effort.

Provide - and ask for - support

Helping others lies at the core of most humans’ psyche. It makes us feel wanted and needed, which then makes us feel better about ourselves. We are more likely to form strong relationships with colleagues who have shown their vulnerability, so don’t be afraid to ask for a favour from your colleagues or to reach out to offer support where it’s needed.

Skip the small talk

People can see past the superficial. Be prepared to scratch below the surface and start some real conversations – put the effort into getting to know them. Taking the time to learn more about the people you work with will make you a more likeable team mate.

Being liked at work won’t make you better at your job, but what it will do is make your time at work more enjoyable and that can only be a good thing. You can check out this blog at Business Insider Uk, for more tips on how to be more likeable.

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Build some fun into your working day

Just because you're at work doesn't mean you can't have fun with your co-workers. We're not talking big nights out and team bonding sessions. Research has shown that workplace friendships are beneficial for productivity and office morale. Friends are more likely to share information and skills without being asked to do so and more likely to give each other a helping hand when the workload becomes too much. 

Here are some ideas for engaging with colleagues and having some fun while maintaining the professionalism necessary at work. 

  • Organise a 'dress down Friday'. Dress down Fridays are great for making people feel more relaxed and people tend to give away a bit more about themselves when they wear their own clothes.
  • Do a group activity during your lunch break or after work. Exercise is a good option as there is a clear structure while also allowing a chance for you to interact. Try to have some fun rather than be competitive - something like zumba is a good choice depending on the fitness of your colleagues. Bonding is the key here, not winning - it's all about the experience. 
  • Have lunch together once in a while. This doesn't have to be loads of work. You could each bring one item to share - bought or homemade, it doesn't matter. Or you could take it in turns to supply the food. The aim is to bring you all together over food. 
  • Would your work allow a visiting office dog? Having a pet around the place every now and again has been shown to boost wellbeing. 
  • Laugh together. Try and see the funny side at work and look for opportunities to laugh together. You could have a night out in fancy dress, sponsor your boss to wear something silly, or organise a night out to a comedy show, laughter is the best way to bring people together and will make you feel fantastic. 

Monday 13 August 2018

Common workplace stressors

It’s National Relaxation Day this week which is all about taking the time to wind down and put the chaos of daily life on hold. One of the biggest stresses of modern day life is work, which can be problematic as we spend a huge proportion of our lives here. The good news is that by identifying what causes your stress you are better placed to manage it more effectively.

Here are four common causes of stress in the workplace:

Job ambiguity – poorly defined jobs with no procedures in place and ambiguous goals can lead to stress as it leaves us unsure of what we’re supposed to do and why we’re doing it.

Favouritism and inequality – unfair treatment at work can be a major source of stress. Often promotion, raises and other perks, which should be given to recognise and reward good performance, are based on favouritism and seniority. This is demotivating and leaves us wondering why we bother.

Politics and power – some organisations are inherently stressful because in order to get ahead they expect us to play the game and many of us just don’t want to. These organisations are often run by political game players who overlook hard working employees for power hungry individuals, and exist because of the above.

Punitive and bullying managers – bullying in the workplace is a major stressor.

Managing stress in a healthy way involves changing the situation itself or the way you react to it. These changes known as the four A’s involve avoiding the stressful situation or altering it, adapting the way you think about it or just accepting it.

In extreme cases, and if finances permit, it may be possible to avoid the situation by changing jobs. If this is not feasible, it may be worthwhile talking to your boss or HR department to ask for appropriate training as well as a clearly outlined job description. Managers could help alleviate stress by conducting formal appraisals of job performance to reduce favouritism and workplace politics. Leadership with good communication, care for employees and clear goals, without punishment or bullying is also vital in making the organisation a great place to work.

Wednesday 8 August 2018

The benefits of ‘me’ time at work and how to get more of it

It’s national relaxation day on the 15 August – the perfect excuse to lock yourself away and lose yourself in your favourite activity or pastime for an hour or two. Let’s be honest though – how many of us regularly take time out for ourselves? How many of us carve out some ‘me’ time to focus on what we like to do?

A recent study by the British Psychological Society (BPS) found that quality me-time not only improves your psychological wellbeing it can also make you a more engaged employee. Their findings point to the fact that those employees who engaged in high-quality ‘me’ time were more engaged and productive at work.

At home, it can be easier to carve out some time alone to recharge the batteries and gain some insight and perspective to help us deal with whatever life throws at us. However, it's still too easy for us to make excuses and put the needs of others – family, friends and work colleagues – above our own.

At work, we're often driven by other people’s schedules which makes it hard for us to carve out time for ourselves, yet doing so can really help us manage our stress levels. Given that we spend most of our lives at work, rather than feeling guilty about taking a little ‘me’ time, we should actually embrace the need to take care of ourselves – mentally, emotionally and physically - and acknowledge the benefits that this will realise in the workplace, such as better productivity, a reduction in stress levels and improved inter-personal relationships. So next time you're tempted to eat lunch at your desk, think about how you could fit in some 'me time'.

Irrespective of whether we take our ‘me’ time at home or at work, it might help to remember the following:

Establish how much time you need

Be realistic about the time you can spare during your working day to concentrate on yourself. Too little and you won’t feel the benefit or be able to engage in any meaningful activity; too much and it will soon be regarded as an extravagance and become easy to replace with more pressing pulls on your time. Remember, time to yourself, doing what you enjoy, is not selfish, it’s taking care of yourself.

Decide what you will do with your time

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you would do if there was an extra fifteen minutes in the day? How would you spend that time? Jot down a list of all your favourite pastimes and allocate your ‘me’ time to doing some of the things off your list.

Build this time into your daily schedule

Once you've decided what you want to do and how much time you need, you need to commit to taking the time. Create a daily ritual so that your chosen pastime soon becomes a habit and something to look forward to.

Taking time out for yourself is not a luxury, it’s a necessity that will help you gain perspective and focus. However, if you don’t value this time, no one else around you will either. Self-care is absolutely necessary if we are to give our best to those around us. You can read more about the benefits of ‘me’ time on your work in this article.