In the September edition of The Healthy Path, we discussed the topic of change. We highlighted that incorporating change, when the time is right, can be a positive and life enhancing step. At the same time, recognizing the need for change, or deciding on the necessary changes, can be a major obstacle, particularly when it comes to our workplace.
Over the past few decades, there have been many changes in North American social structures. These changes have impacted both the family and the workplace as increasing numbers of people struggle to balance their work and personal lives. As today’s families blend, separate, and become re-defined, so too does the modern workplace – constantly changing trying to respond to ever-shifting directions. In ‘The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work, and Workplace’ the authors wrote:
“Although many factors ultimately contribute to the changing patterns of work, organizational theorists point to two key drivers: An increasing pressure on organizations to be more competitive, agile, and customer focused i.e. to be a lean enterprise; and communication and information technology breakthroughs, especially mobile technologies and the Internet that enable work to be separated from time and space”
How can we manage this in an environment where the rules change while we are playing the game? We as individuals and colleagues also have ‘two key drivers’:
Key Drivers in Working through Change
1) Incorporate into our days the recent environmental adaptations that have appeared around us, what are commonly known as ‘workplace solutions’ – some examples are:
- Open spaces at central areas for spontaneous interaction
- More meeting spaces of a greater variety
- Centrally located cafés for meetings and lunch
- Elaborate daylight entry spaces e.g. skylights
- De-stress spaces with pool table, ping pong, exercise room and lounge furnishings
- At UBC, you can check out UBC Attractions to catch up on all the hidden gems the University has to offer
2) Turn these changes into social opportunities.
Start a lunch club – If you want to make friends, you need to be proactive. Ask someone to join you for a lunch out, or take advantage of a nice day and invite your coworkers to bring their snack outside and join you for the hour. Check out Beautiful UBC: My Top Four Spots on Campus for inspiration.
Stop and Chat – Take the opportunity to stop and chat with a co-worker for a few minutes. A survey by the Gallup Business Journal said that employees who reported having friends at work were 27% more likely to think that the mission of their company made them feel their job is important, 27% more likely to think that their opinions counted in the workplace, and 21% more likely to believe that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
Venture to the Kitchen – Do you find yourself eating lunch at your desk far too often?. The office kitchen is a great place to socialize, even if it’s just enough time to ask about a co-worker’s weekend. Take a mini break to the kitchen for a dose of small talk.
HWIP Together –What can you do to contribute to a healthy workplace? The UBC Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program (HWIP) provides funding to support departments/units to create healthier workplaces at UBC. In 2013, $100,000 will be available to help units create a healthier, more dynamic place to work. Past successful initiatives include yoga, fitness assessments, nutritional workshops, walking, running and biking programs, and so much more. The Fall, 2013, application deadline is Nov. 22, 2013. Get applying!
Make it Happen
“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them” – George Bernard Shaw
Change is seldom easy, and can often be nerve wracking. Trust your gut instinct and make October the month where social connections become a priority – particularly with your colleagues and coworkers. The above are just a few suggestions– think outside the box and remember that here at UBC, resources are always available to provide support and direction.
For inspiration, ideas or advice, visit www.hr.ubc.ca/health and check out how UBC Health Wellbeing and Benefits (HWB) can help.
HWB serves to develop and deliver health and wellbeing initiatives, and provide relevant tools, resources and information to support a productive and progressive work culture that cultivates wellbeing, resilience and commitment while being responsive to the personal and family needs of faculty and staff.