The countdown to Christmas has already started. In addition to being the best time of the year for family gatherings and for taking some well-deserved time off, the transition period between one year and the next is also great for setting up personal and professional goals. New Year resolutions are often consigned to oblivion after a few weeks, but more likely than not, this is so because the resolutions were not realistic enough. When it comes to the workplace, this period is the perfect time of the year to take stock of our achievements and to set out a few reasonable objectives for the year that’s just about to start. In this article you will find some useful suggestions that might inspire you to start the new year in the office with motivation and enthusiasm.
Start the year with a positive attitude
Although this may seem obvious, a positive attitude can make a world of a difference when it comes to your working life. If you only decide on one New Year resolution for 2014, make it taking yourself less seriously. Of course, there are stressful situations that you will have to deal with, such as dealing with difficult customers, meeting strict deadlines, or simply surviving the kind of days when everything seems to go wrong. But if you think of it, chances are that you will not be the only one in the office feeling overwhelmed by this type of situations. Taking negative things with a pinch of salt and with a lot of humour can help reduce the tension in the office atmosphere.
Avoid gossip and criticism
Whether we like it or not, office politics are a fact of life in most workplaces. Having to spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week surrounded by people with different personalities and points of view can be hard and lead to much complaining and criticism. Many employees see criticism and gossip as a way of blowing off some steam, but in the long term, this will end up being counter-productive. Gossiping about others in the office undermines motivation, team spirit, and ultimately, productivity. Make a point of doing your part to contribute to a healthier working environment by avoiding listening and spreading gossip and criticism.
Be more productive
It is common for all of us to get used to a routine when it comes to ‘our’ way of doing things. However, being complacent can (and often does) get on the way of productivity. There are several small things that you can do to increase your productivity in the workplace. For example, try to calculate how much time you typically spend on ‘harmless distractions’ during working hours, such as checking social networks of browsing the Internet. A recent HR study found that the average office worker spends 65 hours a month bein unproductive, with the worst culprits being sites like Facebook or Twitter (48 per cent), chatting with colleagues (33 per cent), taking care of personal business (30 per cent), and answering personal phone calls (19 per cent). A good alternative is to do some sort of exercise every day, such as going for a walk before or after lunch. Studies have shown that physical activity can help you stay focussed and become more productive in the workplace.
Break the routine
Finding that you have got stuck into a predictable work routine can be one of the most discouraging things. One way of dealing with this is making an effort to learn something new every day. Although formal training opportunities may not always be available, there are things that you can do on your own to break the routine, such as suscribing to a podcast that is relevant to your field of work. For example, one of your New Year resolutions could be to do some research and find out if there have been any new developments in technology that can help you do your job more effectively.
Improve your relationship with work colleagues
Earlier in this article we discussed the importance of avoiding gossiping and criticism in the workplace. However, if you want to enjoy a better working atmosphere this coming year, don’t just stop there. You may spend a large part of the day working side by side with your colleagues, but how often do you stop to think about their valuable contribution to the workplace? Make a point of praising your colleagues regularly and of getting to know them as individuals rather than as ‘job titles’ or people who fulfill certain roles in the office. And why not expand your social and professional horizons this year by attending networking events in your local area?