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Gossip and Trash-Talking Colleagues: 7 Golden Rules to Follow If You Want a Drama-Free Office

Gossip and Trash-Talking Colleagues: 7 Golden Rules to Follow If You Want a Drama-Free Office

You’d think that all the gossiping and trash-talking stops once you hit a certain age, but like with the rest of the expectations that we have early in life, this one never really seems to match reality. People tend to gossip and cause drama for many different reasons – low self-esteem, affinities for popularity or nothing but pure boredom – but the fact is they do it. Just because drama is in the human nature, that doesn’t mean that you should allow it in your office; there are certain precautions that should be taken.

1. Remember High School is Over

"The Friendship Contraction" -- Sheldon's selfish demands force Leonard to reconsider their friendship.  Meanwhile, Wolowitz tries to pick his astronaut nickname, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, Feb. 2 (8:00-8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.  Pictured (clockwise from left):  Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons. Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. �©2012 Warner Bros. Television. All Rights Reserved.

    People find it difficult to deal with this fact, especially if they were popular in high school. This is a system they know and love, and why shouldn’t they try to continue establishing it if they don’t encounter any resistance? This hierarchy isn’t at all difficult to spot – classical mean girls, the cool kids, neglected or bullied nerds, predominant athletes – everyone’s familiar with these clichés. Now, you need to play your role right by not indulging or accepting these groups. To achieve this you need to always make them work in different teams; this way they will be forced to get to know each other and work together.

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    2. Establish Anger Management Methods

    Causes of frustration and anxiety are things everyone should leave outside the office. In an ideal world, you’d have enough time to devote yourself to every one of your employees and help them deal with their issues. Bullying and mistreating people in your office can often be a simple outlet for built-up stress, which is why you need to have proper ways to deal with it. First of all, everyone needs to be familiar with basic etiquette – if one decides not to follow the common rules, you need to have previously established methods of dealing with them, and everyone must suffer the same consequences for these kinds of actions.

    3. Work on Your Team Building Activities

    04 The Office

      If you want a team, you need to build one. Members of a strong team need to eat together, work together and play together. Depending on the area of your expertise, all of you probably have more than one thing in common – you just need to find it. Once you establish which activities you can enjoy together, the only thing left is to pick a date. You should also know that hard-working employees need to feel appreciated, so a nurturing gift basket with a relaxing effect is something you should treat them with every now and then.

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      4. Don’t Run from Confrontations

      Built-up tension simply can’t be good for business. It’s completely normal for people to have conflicts when they interact, but it’s not healthy for those conflicts to be left unresolved. As a team leader or a simple observer you should encourage both conflicted parties to sit down and talk things out, which is the adult, mature and a responsible way to deal with this kind of situation.

      5. Invest into a Stress Free Room

      03 Med Man

        Every office needs to provide a safe, calm environment for all employees. Considering the fact that not all workplaces can be silent and crowd free – depending on the job description, naturally – the obvious solution is to introduce a stress-free space to your business. Ideally, this space should be a source of fresh air, lots of plants and calming colors, a sort of Zen garden if you will, but you should work with what you have. For starters, a corner with fresh flowers and a water machine will do!

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        6. If You Look for Drama, You Will Find It

        All jobs become a bit dull at some point, which is why people tend to look for practically anything to break that monotony. No matter if they do it subconsciously or not, you should draw their attention to this phenomenon, so that everyone can do their best to avoid it. However, a team leader needs to know when to intervene and when to stay out – treating them like children will only justify them behaving like children. Besides, a bit of healthy competition and a certain amount of appropriate humor should be welcomed.

        7. Encourage Focusing on the Positive

        01 Mitch & Cam

          Instead of wasting time on trash-talking and gossiping, you need to all transfer your focus onto growth and development. All that time and energy invested into finding out who said what to whom could be put to better use. You should do your best to preoccupy them with various courses, seminars, and other means of improvement. By working on their individual development, you’ll definitely speedup the progress you’re making as a team.

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          This might be a lot to take in at once but if you introduce each of these methods slowly, one by one, I’m sure you’ll be able to notice changes sooner than you think. If one of them seems inefficient, you should move on to the next one – these are the people you work with everyday, and they usually don’t appreciate being forced into anything. Take things slow, and you’ll be able to get rid of that unnecessary drama in your office.

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

          So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

          While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

          Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

          What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

          How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

          But what does being productive actually entail?

          Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

          Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

          It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

          Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

          9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

          1. Avoid Multitasking

          Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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          Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

          If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

          2. Turn off Notifications

          According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

          Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

          The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

          Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

          3. Manage Interruptions

          There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

          Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

          If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

          By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

          4. Eat the Frog

          Mark Twain once famously said that:

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          “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

          What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

          We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

          Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

          5. Cut Down on Meetings

          Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

          You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

          The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

          But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

          If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

          6. Utilize Tools

          Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

          If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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          And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

          Some examples of tools that could be used:

          Communication
          • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
          • Samepage for video conference software.
          • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
          Task Management
          • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
          • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
          • Wekan for an open source option.
          Database Management
          Time Tracking
          • Clockify for a free tracker.
          • TMetric for workspace integrations.
          • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

          You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

          7. Declutter and Organize

          Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

          Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

          Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

          Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

          8. Take Breaks

          Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

          As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

          Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

          Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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          9. Drink Water

          Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

          Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

          Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

          A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

          If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

          You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

          The Bottom Line

          The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

          After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

          In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

          A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

          Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

          More About Boosting Productivity

          Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

          Reference

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