Sometimes in the race to get our work we forget to treat our coworkers like people. Especially with the added stress of the busy holiday season approaching, those in office management and people and culture roles often feel the pressure to keep the office socially stable, even as calendars fill up, tempers shorten, and patience frays. At Managed by Q we wanted to help you take a deep breath as the holiday season approaches and share strategies for keeping the values of kindness and respect front and center, even during the most hectic of times.
Clarify and model your values
In a busy office it’s easy to be so laser focused on your own to do list that you neglect or discount common courtesy and engaging with the workplace community. If rude behavior is running rampant in your workplace, check in with yourself and your team. If you are a manager and team leader, are you modeling values of kindness and respect for your team? Have you set clear expectations around behavior?
Business etiquette expert Daniel Post Senning suggests bringing teams together to address behavior that is having a negative impact on your team. "Talk to everyone together and take a fresh-start approach, highlighting that it isn't about what's happened before, but about what happens from this moment moving forward," says Senning. "Having reasons and being ready to talk about why it's important to you is key. Be as explicit as you can, but also let it be an open discussion. That's part of good management," adds Senning.
If a group conversation about a particular behavior or issue will alienate some of your coworkers, having a direct, honest, one-on-one conversation can help smooth out tensions or address problematic behavior. “It's really important to respect someone's feelings and show consideration for them, and also to give them the best possible chance to respond well,” says Senning.
Taking on hard conversations can also feel like a burden when when you are also are handling daily tasks related to office operations, but bringing honesty and empathy into your work will not only help make your office a better place to work, but help your career. In fact, empathy is projected to be the skill you need to be successful in the workplace by 2020.
Sarah Larkin Birdson, a licensed therapist and professional development consultant, defines empathy as understanding and experiencing another person’s emotions while still maintaining discernment of your own. “You don’t need to agree with somebody, but you have to know where they’re coming from,” she says. Communication is key to empathy, and, in fact, real communication is next to impossible without empathy.
If your company is growing quickly, your workplace culture can be strained if you don’t have a plan in place to enable your culture to scale and evolve as your team expands. Define what values drive your culture, figure out how to work cultural values into your hiring practices in a systematic fashion, open lines of communication for employees to give feedback, and think about retiring old traditions and creating new ones that work for your current team. These tasks require buy-in and commitment from multiple departments, but if you are in an office operations role you are uniquely positioned to help manage and advocate for cultural growth.
Cultivating a kind and productive workplace is a huge, and ongoing, task. To help you build a great workplace culture you can subscribe to All Hands, a publication about life at work. You can also rely on Managed by Q to handle the logistical tasks of running your office and ensure your space stays clean and welcoming through regular cleaning, office help, or assistance during special events.
Managed by Q is the platform for office management. Q makes it easy to run an office by connecting companies to services, including cleaning, maintenance, office administration, IT, and security. A solution for recurring and ad-hoc office needs, Q saves companies valuable time and supports office operations for thousands of businesses nationwide.