Our company values underpin everything that we do, and we celebrate success. So why, I have been asking myself, has our company-wide employee suggestion program been such a miserable failure?
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Thanks to my colleague Caroline Whalen for the following guest post. Check out her tips for getting out of your work rut.
We have all been there. It is 7 a.m. on a Monday morning and you reach your arm out of bed just far enough to turn off the dreaded alarm clock before quickly swooping it back in and under the covers like nothing ever happened- back to sleep you go. Before you know it 7:30 a.m. rolls around and it is officially time to start your daily routine.
Ah, the daily routine. For some people, a daily routine means security, comfort and relaxation. These people thrive past 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning!
For the other half of the world, the daily routine can be rather uninspiring. But making a few small changes to your day-to-day can make a big difference. The following is a list of five minor changes you can make to your daily routine to help you shake up your work day and become inspired once again:
- Take 30 Minutes in the Morning for ‘Me Time’
Allowing yourself 30 minutes in the morning to do whatever you like will not only make waking up more exciting, but it will also eliminate the stress of having to get ready for the day when you are still half asleep. Take this time to watch the news, take a walk, cook your favorite breakfast food or even read some of that book you have been meaning to get to.
- Change Your Commute.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends 25.4 minutes traveling to work. Rather than spending this time in auto-pilot, use it as an opportunity to break the daily routine! Make your trip to work a little more exciting by taking a new route, stopping at a different coffee shop, or even listening to a podcast, book or new radio show.
- Reorganize Your Desk
Research shows that making small changes to your working environment can have a large impact on both your productivity and creativity. Something as simple as moving your desktop or putting fresh flowers in your workspace can go a long way. If you are opposed to changing your current desk set-up, then give working in a different area of your office a try!
- Reduce Your Working Lunches
Although taking a working lunch can seem like a great idea when you have a lot on your plate, it can actually be very counterproductive. Studies show that taking a break can reduce your stress while increasing your creativity, productivity and enthusiasm. Next time you are tempted to dine at your desk, grab a co-worker and take a well-deserved break to relax and recharge!
- Initiate a New Project
When is the last time you initiated a new project at work? If your work has become dull or uninspiring then take this as an opportunity to start an initiative, big or small, on the side of your primary work. A self-led project on the side of your day-to-day work is a great way to challenge the creative side of your mind and allow yourself small breaks from your routine.
As seen above, a change to your daily routine doesn’t have to be a huge one to make a big difference. By making a few of these small changes to your work week, you too can thrive past 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning!
There has been a lot of noise in the news lately about companies like IBM pulling back on flexible work options. This is an ironic move for IBM given that their own research and publications suggest that “teleworkers are more highly engaged, more likely to consider their workplaces as innovative, happier about their job prospects and less stressed than their more traditional, office-bound colleagues.” Leaders in the companies who are pulling back on remote work options are arguing that presence is required for productive collaboration and innovation.
Perhaps some of these leaders should talk to Kristen Wylie, Director of Product Marketing at Kronos. Kristen spent 8 months on the road with her 9 and 13 year old daughters over the past year while they performed in the national touring company of the musical Annie. That would be daunting enough for any parent, but Kristen did this while continuing to do her full time job at Kronos. In fact, Kristen was promoted to director while she was on the road.
I spoke to Kristen recently about her experience exercising this “extreme flexibility”. With the support of her boss and her team, Kristen spent eight months juggling a demanding job and supporting her daughters’ life on the road. We talked about how she pulled it off and what lessons other organizations and employees might learn from Kristen’s story.
Listen in by clicking on the player at the bottom of this post to hear Kristen’s responses to these and other questions about how she did it:
- What went through your head when you learned your daughters had been cast in Annie regarding your position at Kronos?
- How did you work it out with your manager to do your job from the road? Was he supportive or did you need to sell this idea?
- You were touring with a theater company – which operates on very different hours than a normal work environment. Where there changes you made in how you got certain things done given the crazy schedule?
- How did you take care of your children and yourself while under this pressure? It seems like there wasn’t much downtime for any of you.
- You manage other people. How did they feel about working under these circumstances and what did you do to make this arrangement work for them?
- During the time you were touring with your daughters, you got promoted. Beyond the obvious insight that you do a great job for Kronos, do you think your ability to juggle as you did helped make this happen?
- A lot of working parents hearing your story will think “that could never happen at my organization”. What would you tell a working parent who’d like to have greater flexibility at work how to broach that topic and sell it as a benefit to their organization?
How does your organization support flexible work options? Can you see a story like Kristen’s happening in your workplace?