Keeping up the New Year resolutions in the workplace

It’s no secret that New Year resolutions are hard to stick to and it’s about this time of year, that the wave of people who have joined new gyms, embarked on Veganuary or ditched the alcohol, begin to struggle.

Sadly, 25% of people who make a New Year’s resolution give up in the second week of January, so already many resolution makers will have thrown in the towel. The reason? Well, more often than not it’s simply because the goals are too ambitious and enforce too much of a change too quickly – after all, change doesn’t happen overnight. An effective way to make positive changes to our lives is by forming a better relationship with our workplace, allowing it to become an enjoyable part of our lives, influencing our mood, mental health and productivity.

This blog will consider other life-tweaks, changes or resolutions (whatever you want to call them), that are simple to do, easy to maintain and all of which will have a big impact on your wellbeing.

Make room for rest

Graham Bird (our Director at Where Workplace Works), states that 52 mins work followed by 17 mins rest is the optimum work ethic for you to be your most productive – and we believe this is a resolution we can all get behind.

By stopping work for a short break, you can also resolve to do something for yourself each day. Whether it’s stopping for lunch, eating away from your desk in a more inspiring or sociable environment, or simply walking around the block for fresh air and exercise. Just ensure that the activity is something different to your usual daily motions.  

That first point, of deciding to take a breather, may not sound that groundbreaking, but it can have a massive impact on wellbeing – and time and time again during our workplace surveys we see employees eating at their desks. Making a decision to change spaces in the office to eat, or to get out for a breath of fresh air, each lunch or simply get outside of the office, will ensure that you are having downtime. Not only is it actually your right as a worker to have a break, but it will also make you feel better and more productive too – everyone’s a winner.

Taking a break with colleagues

Organise your space

Another simple resolution that is easy to stick to is to tidy your environment of clutter. Throw out anything that you haven’t used for over a year, get yourself a storage system for the paperwork and those loose bits of stationary and only have items on your desk that you are happy to see. Plants are a great thing to have around you- in fact last week a Japanese study found that having (and caring for) a desk top plant significantly reduced stress and anxiety.  (for more information on the benefits of plants in the workplace, check out our white paper about biophilia in the workplace).

If standing desks aren’t your thing, then don’t force yourself to use them! Choose a space in the office that works for you, whether that be by a window, near a colleague you like to break with, or near to the coffee machine.

Team based resolutions

Resolutions don’t just have to be personal ones though. Resolutions in the workplace can be implemented in a number of ways, at a personal, team or company-wide level and are a great way to work collaboratively and unite a workforce.

Team based resolutions can be something as small as saying, “Good morning,” to someone outside of your department, that you don’t usually communicate regularly with, or offering to do the tea/coffee run for your desk neighbour each day. Little acts of kindness go a long way for the people on the receiving end of them and can have a huge impact on workplace relationships and morale of teams.

If you are in a management position, you can take this a step further, perhaps by aiming to support the work life balance of your team where possible. This can come in the form of small changes, such as leaving early on a Friday once a month or allowing flexible working for that employee who wants to make their child’s school assembly. At Where Workplace Works, time and time again we hear that employees struggle to get the right work life balance and yet it is incredibly important to mental health, stress levels and general life satisfaction to get this right. This means that anything you can do as a manager to help your employees achieve a better balance is a great resolution to make.

To sum up, if you feel your struggling in sticking to your New Year resolutions, then start small. Little changes can go a long way and it’s these small resolutions that we can soon change into long term habit.

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