Advertising

How to Stay Positive in the Workplace

Advertising
How to Stay Positive in the Workplace
Cube Dweller
    Happy Cube Dweller

    Last week I wrote an article entitled “How to do a Simple Productivity Audit”. One reader who called herself “Cube Dweller” pointed out that she has little control over what she does and how she does it. As a result the tips I had advised were of no use to her or to the millions like her. So I started to think, what if you have no control over your day or the way you organize it?

    Micro Managers changing your focus every time they walk your way. Supervisors changing the rules of the game just when you got used to the previous ones. All of this can be frustrating to say the very least, so if you have no control over your job and how it is organized, is there anything that you do have control over?

    Advertising

    Attitude

    The answer is something that is truly yours to own; your attitude. How you chose to react to your circumstances is within your own control, and no manager or supervisor can say otherwise. Nelson Mandela chose to react with dignity when he was released from Robben Island after 27 years of incarceration. He could have reacted with anger, but he chose compassion and forgiveness.

    When you are dumped upon, or your movements controlled or restricted, you can chose to react with frustration and anger or to react with joy, gratitude and positivity. Far-fetched you may think but isn’t being happy what we all want?

    Advertising

    Happiness

    Wayne Dyer says it well when he says “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” We all share the same goal in life, and that’s not to win the lottery. It’s to be happy. If we look closely at all the goals we have, if it be run a marathon, write a book, or get a promotion, we believe that the experience that we will gain from achieving these things will take us closer to a happy place. So rather than struggle every day to achieve happiness, can we not just be happy now?

    Gratitude

    Again my cube dweller may tell me he or she has nothing to be grateful for when it comes to the workplace, other than the fact that they have a job, but stepping outside the workplace and looking at your life holistically. What are the things you are grateful for? Your family, friends, health, wealth, nationality, intelligence? Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. It is difficult to feel sorry for yourself when you are feeling gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful tool which can help you through difficult times.

    Advertising

    Acts of Kindness

    When you do nice things for others not only does it contribute to a sense of well-being and satisfaction, it also means that the good will come back around to you. As it says in the bible, “What you sow so shall you reap.”

    Strengths

    Are you using your personal strengths? According to Martin Seligman the father of Positive Psychology, if you know your strengths and are using them for the greater good, you are much more likely to have a happy meaningful life. If you are working in a job that uses your strengths you are lucky, some people have to work difficult or boring jobs to feed their families, but hopefully these people use their strengths in different ways outside of the workplace. Ideally if you can use your strengths in the workplace it would make for a larger portion of your life where you feel you are making a difference. It may be something you want to consider, up-skilling or working towards having a job in the future that uses your talents and skills and makes you feel like your days are spent contributing to the bigger picture. If you can do this you will more likely be a happier soul.

    Advertising

    So can there be positivity in the workplace? If you try to focus on what’s good in your life as opposed to what is bad, that will be a good place to start. Remember you are in control of your life and your thoughts; it is up to you how you choose to react.

    If you have any other tips for bringing positivity into your life and your workplace I would love to hear them.

    Advertising

    More by this author

    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

    10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It 7 Wise Ways to Find Focus and Get Things Done 15 Quick and Healthy Snacks to Help You Stick to Your Diet How Mindfulness for Productivity Can Improve Your Focus This Is Why Taking Action Creates Success

    Trending in Productivity

    1 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 2 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021 3 13 Steps to Build a Positive Habit Stacking Routine 4 How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner 5 How to Find the Best Keystone Habits to Change Your Life

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on September 21, 2021

    How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

    Advertising
    How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

    The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

    In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

    1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

    Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

    But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

    Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

    Advertising

    Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

    Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

    While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

    Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

    2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

    At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

    Advertising

    Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

    Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

    Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

    McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

    From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

    Advertising

    3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

    An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

    McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

    Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

    Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

    Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

    So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

    Advertising

    The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

    If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

    Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

    Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next