Ah, January: the most hopeful month of the year, full of new gym memberships and vegetable purchasing. Have you resolved to eat better and exercise more? Or drink more water? Spend more time with your kids? Excellent resolutions all, and we hope you stick with them (especially the water – you really should be drinking more water). But what kind of work resolutions have you made? We don’t mean professional resolutions, like working towards a promotion or committing to extra training, we are talking about resolutions to make your workplace a better place. If you haven’t considered any yet, we urge you to resolve the following:
1. THINK ABOUT THE NEXT PERSON
Joyce Meyer once memorably said that she didn’t become a good person until she started putting her grocery cart back. A recent Forbes article expounds upon the frustration people feel when encountering an empty coffee pot at work; knowing the previous coffee seeker filled their cup and didn’t start a new one. It is a particular pet peeve of this author when garbage disposers start playing a pass-the-buck game of garbage Jenga – how high can refuse pile up above the can’s rim before it topples? You see where we are going here – don’t selfishly leave such tasks for the next person to deal with. You know how you feel when on the receiving end of these small slights and frustrations. They add up – and they can affect overall staff attitudes and morale.
You may argue that you don’t have time to change the copy machine toner. While it’s true that these small tasks are inconveniences, the truth is we know deep down they are the right things to do. In the end, the mental and emotional energy you will spend justifying leaving a task for someone else isn’t worth it compared to just doing it and walking away with a clear conscience, which is worth a few extra minutes of your day. You may even start a trend, which will brighten everyone’s mood and make the workplace a little better than it was before.
2. THINK ABOUT A PERSON
This section can be summed up as “do something nice for someone today.” Pick a person. Any person. (Ideally, given these are workplace resolutions it should be someone you work with, but hey, spread the love as far as you want.) Give a compliment; notice an extra effort; thank the person you catch making fresh coffee (see what we did there?). Help someone carry a package, finish a project, or change the toner (we did it again!). You can choose randomly and keep your eye open for opportunities, or, for you type As, make a list of coworkers and check one off daily until you’ve got them all (then start over!).
3. THINK ABOUT THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU
In a word: attend. In the movie Pulp Fiction Mia famously asks Vincent “…do you listen or wait to talk?” Vincent then admits that he waits to talk, but he’s trying harder to listen. While this character is not a role model otherwise, he’s got the right idea here. People are generally pretty interesting when you get to know them. Being genuinely interested in someone will make their day, and asking questions to understand them better will help you forge stronger working relationships. As a bonus, people who ask a lot of questions are generally perceived as friendlier and more approachable than those that don’t, and are thought to be good conversationalists.
How will your workplace be different in January 2020 if you and all your co-workers make these resolutions today? We predict than in the course of a year, these small changes will have a significant impact. (Pro tip: these resolutions will work wonders in your personal life as well.)