It’s easy to slip into a daily work routine that can run like clockwork timed to your fixed caffeine-infusions throughout the day. Having a set schedule can work wonders for productivity by minimizing the time it takes to think about each phase of the workday. But it can also develop into bad workplace habits as shortcuts can lead to misperceptions and miscommunications, which can turn into bad days, bad weeks, or even bad lawsuits.
Learning how to change behavior in the workplace is essential once you’ve slipped into some of these bad habits. But beyond bad habits, what happens when routines that increase your efficiency also end up decreasing your potential for success?
Efficiency vs. success
Technology has made it possible to get an impressive amount of work done without leaving your armchair. You can now communicate with anyone in the world, at any time, from the comforts of your office. However, the downside is that this has created work environments with fewer face-to-face interactions which are a big part of building relationships and teams, and the cornerstones of professional success. Reduced personal interactions also remove opportunities for empathy and can make it harder for introverted leaders to force themselves to center stage.
The other major setback of this wave of technological efficiency is the sedentary workplace. Reduced physical activity at work is associated with increased health risks and some studies even show that your risks of dying from sitting for more than eight hours per day with no physical activity is on par with the risks associated with obesity and smoking. Who knew sitting could be so dangerous?
Tips for how to change your behavior in the workplace
Does this mean that we’ll all fall victims to our bad habits and physical inactivity as technological advances continue to propel forward? Not by a long shot. Here are a few tips for how to change behavior in the workplace in a way that promotes better work relationships and better job performance.
Start with a smile
It sounds way too simple, but people respond more favorably to you when you’re smiling. In a workplace of fewer in-person interactions, making those interactions count is that much more important. Flashing that real life emoji on your face is not only disarming, it also makes people curious to learn more about you and why you’re so darn happy. Don’t forget the other great side effects of smiling; it can actually make you happy and improve your health, two factors that play a big role in being successful at work.
Build human interaction into your routine
After your morning commute, you may be tempted to rush to your desk, power on your computer, and get started on your day. But what if your routine included greeting your co-workers (with a smile)? This simple addition to your routine will get the day off to a good start, but there are a number of other positive side effects. Having a routine of greeting coworkers humanizes you and the people you work with and can create a sense of equality even in a hierarchical organization. It’s also an easy way to get noticed and to bring an org chart to life.
Give your chair a break
There’s a strong temptation to stick to our chairs during the day to get our work done, but this is one of the reasons why the sedentary workplace is causing so much harm. It’s important to build time for physical activity into the schedule. The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (brisk walking), or roughly 20-30 minutes per day. This could be during your workday breaks, or you could incorporate it into your work habits. For example, consider the following ways to change your routine:
- Walk to a nearby cafe for your coffee break(s) (invite a co-worker or even your boss);
- Make work calls as you walk to a nearby park;
- Arrange “walking meetings” instead of Webex meetings;
- Dictate a work email while doing office stretches and workouts; and
- Replace your chair with a stability ball.
Incorporating physical activity into your workday will help you feel better and perform at a higher level. Maybe a good jog at lunch is just what your brain needed to figure out a solution to that intractable problem you’ve been facing with the shipping department.
How to change behavior in the workplace: tips for employers
As an employer, it’s in your best interest to have a happy and healthy workforce and you can play a vital role in bringing that about. Because you’re in charge, you’re in a unique position to create opportunities for more human interaction, whether it be through morning huddles, use of one-on-one meetings, or weekly or monthly lunches (all the better if you pay for them).
Employers can also go a long way in promoting physical activity at work. This could be as simple as rearranging the workplace (i.e. moving printers farther from work stations or providing secure bike racks and showering areas) or setting up daily step challenges. It could also involve perks like access to gym facilities or corporate yoga trainers. It’s important to keep in mind that with workdays consumed by stressful commutes and work deadlines, some employees may not utilize these perks so you may want to consider offering gym benefits that employees can utilize closer to home and on the weekends.
Change the behavior in your workplace by hiring top talent
For many employers, the interview process isn’t always the best indicator of how a person will behave in the workplace. Someone may sail through the interview process, but then turn out to be a blocker when it comes to the positive work environment you’re trying to cultivate. What if you had access to recruiting tips from experts who know how to find the right employees for your business? You can get this, as well as current hiring trends and some great Monster deals by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions.