In a recent TED talk, activist Jeremy Gilley discusses his inspiring mission of “Persuading the world to try living in peace for just one day.” Adhering to a single day of peace allows for the immunization of rural populations, aid to be distributed, freedom to travel and the transmission of information. Most importantly, it relieves a person of the stress and anxiety that comes with continuous violence and hate.
This mission should inspire people to dedicate themselves to peace on a global, local and emotional level. Perhaps, people can take the initiative and create a Peace Day in the workplace. Peace Day gives people a reprieve from a negative work environment. This is an opportunity for people to become mindful of their relationship with co-workers.
Charity starts in the workplace
Workers and especially managers have to create a framework that examines and meets workers mental and emotional health needs. It is an issue just as important as the support company’s show to outside causes.
No company or workplace wants to admit that workers are unhappy and dissatisfied, and therefore there are no rallying cries to create any meaningful change. Productivity and obedience take precedence over stress, anxiety and the well being of staff.
Like Jeremy, someone has to be willing to step-up and believe that things can and will improve. They need to create a movement that rises above a negative environment and dispels the ineffective complaining, disinterest, and anger that is vented when workers are unhappy. Ultimately, people need more options to deal with a bad workplace than just stress leave, quitting, or suffering through it. And, that starts with one day, where there is no criticizing, de-motivation, or excessive push for unattainable expectations.
Setting up a peace day
It is invigorating when someone stands up and contributes a positive solution, instead of just complaining.
Inspire the staff and maybe even clients by taking on the global peace cause. Fundraising days can even be used to incorporate the theme in the workplace. Peace One Day is a noble mission and is a cause everyone can support. The foundation even offers event kits to help people support the cause.
Peace Day at the office should start off with a simple written pledge by everyone. People agree that they will become mindful of their attitude and emotions during the day. They will also agree to avoid confrontations, criticizing, gossip or any action that contribute towards a negative work environment. People can also pledge to spend time talking to each other on a more personal level and avoiding any shop talk or complaining.
Managers need to be extra mindful of their actions. They are the gatekeepers of corporate information and many times set the negative or positive tone of a workplace. They need to become conscious of the type of information they circulate.
Allow for a day where the stream of negative information is stopped and workers do not dread meetings, memos, emails or lunch breaks.
Workplace politics, pride and overall negative emotions make it impossible for people to get to know each other. Thus, people become detached at work, and put up barriers to protect themselves from criticism or emotional attachment.
People need to feel confident that they can be themselves without the fear of retribution.
Moment of clarity
People need to move out of their comfort zones and question their habits and automatic actions. Because of the pledge, people will stop in mid-stride, mid-dial and mid-sentence to challenge the tone, motivation, and delivery of their message. They ask themselves whether something is a constructive or destructive action. Will it contribute to a positive or negative environment?
Ultimately, you want workers to develop of routine of challenging old habits and negative actions, not just for one day, but for the rest of their career.
In the heat of battle it is hard to make rational decisions. The rush of adrenaline and heightened emotions compels someone to fire before the enemy has even been identified. Workers have to develop a moment of silence, where they move out of the situation and examine the facts.
They need to ask “What do I expect the outcome to be, and is it worth it to proceed?” And, “Does this person deserve this?” People are cruel or unfair when they dismiss someone’s positive attributes and label them as a “soulless corporate minion” instead of an emotional and fragile human being.
The institution of the golden rule usually resolves any internal confusion. “Do as you would be done by,” is a good tome to live by. Also, connecting with someone on a personal level makes it harder to unjustly criticize them and forces a person to be critical of their own faults before passing judgment on a co-worker.
People need a day that challenges their preconceived ideas about the world. Co-workers are not always plotting against them, the boss can be supportive and they do not have to be detached from their job. Instituting multiple Peace Days throughout the year can be the start of this challenge and change.