By Erika Page, GalTime.com
It's 8 a.m. on a Monday morning, and you have just arrived at work. You already have a mile long list of assignments from your boss and to top it all off, you've recently found out that your year-end bonus is getting cut due to budget constraints. Meanwhile, you can hear your co-worker in the cubicle next to you ranting about all of the work that she has to do. It's certainly going to be a long week. Although the recession has caused employers to cut salaries and benefits, experts Elizabeth R. Lombardo, Ph.D. and author of the best-seller A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, and Debra Yergen, author of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide (along with some of GalTime's very own readers), offer advice on how to make your work space a happier, more productive place.
According to Lombardo, three very simple things you can do to reduce workplace negativity:
- Focus on the positive aspects of your career
- Reward the people around you
Take a break.
"Just as negativity is contagious, so is positivity. So, make a choice to be more positive as an individual. Rather than looking at what is wrong, concentrate on what is going well in your life: at work and outside of work. A gratitude journal is a great way to do this: everyday write down at least 3 positive things that happened to you." You can also foster positivity in the workplace by acknowledging your co-workers' accomplishments. "Highlighting what others are doing well will help them (and you) counter negativity. Simple yet specific comments such as 'Janice, what a great job you did on this morning's sales presentation' can go a long way."
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Lombardo also suggests that you give yourself some time throughout the day to take a break and unwind. "To boost happiness as well as creativity and productivity, make sure you take a few breaks during the day. Grab lunch with a friend, go for a walk around the block, listen to a favorite tune on your iPod, read a joke-of-the-day email, chat with a friend who makes you laugh- anything that is positive and mood-lifting will help reduce your negativity."
Yergen adds that changing the atmosphere is especially important if you're a supervisor or manager. "Once a month, have small celebrations, like bagel Friday or an ice cream social at the end of a day. Productivity usually drops off the end of the day on Friday, so use that time to pick people up." It is also especially important to be truthful with your employees about your company's situation, particularly if you've needed to make budget cuts. "Discuss the truth. Acknowledging the elephant in the room takes away the sting people have when they feel someone is trying to pull something over on them."
Our GalTime.com readers also weighed in on how to make a good co-worker or a good boss.
Reader Kelleigh suggests keeping work life separate from home life. "If I personally am having outside problems, I don't want it out in the open at the workplace."
Related: Could Bad Credit Cost You a Job?
Reader Kelli offers perspective on how to deal with a difficult boss. "I have learned to pick my battles, sense the really bad days and use humor and a smile when I must confront a negative situation."
Focusing on the positive aspects of work can really go a long way. Who knows? Maybe your boss will even let you out early!
Any nightmare negativity stories from your current or past job? Any tips on turning around the atmosphere in your office or workplace? We want to hear from you.
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