Workplace gives can make your work day more productive and happier. Who doesn’t want to increase their wellbeing. I believe that it was one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Dolly Parton, who once said: “Working 9 to 5. What a way to make a living”. What a brilliant woman, and she is right! For better or for worse, the reality is that many of us spend so much of our time at work. In another life, I worked at a company for many years, and one of my officemates began dating someone, fell in love, got married, and started a family while we worked together. I clearly remember a moment when I took her 5 year old to a movie and it illustrated how much time had passed, how many milestones we had celebrated together, and how old and brittle my bones were getting. It’s not a hyperbole to say that for many of us, our co-workers become kind of a second family. Workplace gives can make this family happier, healthier, more productive and super supportive.
Like a traditional family unit, ideally, we want to support one another. This is the time of year when that supportive energy can be channeled into those three potentially daunting words: New. Years. Resolutions! Many of our work family members may use this time of year to set goals or enhance their way of life in some way. Perhaps you have a resolution or two of your own. So to celebrate 2021 (and oh, how we have been waiting!) and the wonderful people we work with, here is a list of gives to encourage our co-workers who have a new year’s resolution.
I once had an amazing and highly emotionally intelligent boss who invited everyone to anonymously write down their resolutions on a piece of paper and voluntarily place it in a drop box. At the end of the allotted time, the resolutions were collected and communicated to everyone. This created a culture of awareness, where everyone was given a chance to be seen and heard in a way that was meaningful. This way, we could all contribute to shaping our work culture with everyone’s goals and intentions in mind.
For example, a common resolution for the new year is for improved health and wellness. If the entire workplace has this knowledge, how could it be used to give encouragement and support to the team? Would there be healthier food during meetings? Could there be some kind of weekly fitness class – perhaps a virtual one – for everyone to participate in? This great thing about this give is that it’s for everyone. While it supports everyone’s resolutions, it also gives each other the feeling of being seen and valued in the workplace.
The path to self-betterment can be tough, and working toward goals isn’t always an upward trajectory. There will be challenging days when the last thing a co-worker wants to do is to talk about their resolutions. So instead of talking about their progress outright, there are ways to softly support them without asking, “How’s that resolution coming along?”
If a co-worker’s resolution is to add more movement to their days, consider inviting them on a walk during a lunch break. If their goal is to get a healthier amount of sleep, perhaps email them an online sleep meditation. If they are committed to spending more time with their family, schedule meetings at the start of the day so they have a chance to go home earlier (or perhaps, even on time!). This soft approach may be more well-received depending on a person’s state of mind, and as a result, you are giving your co-workers a safe and no-pressure environment in which they can work toward their resolutions.
This give should be used with care because everyone has a different threshold for comfort when it comes to being complimented, depending on the situational context. Here’s an example. One year, my resolution was to go to the gym three times per week, on my lunch breaks, so that I could lose some weight. I was doing great… until I wasn’t. Like most people, the excitement of my new year’s resolution waned around the end of February. Just as I was feeling like I wanted to throw my gym bag into the back of the closet, a co-worker approached me and said: “Hey, I’ve noticed you going to the gym so consistently. Keep up the great effort!”.
Without even knowing it, this was the exact compliment I needed to hear. It wasn’t about my appearance, nor was it about my end goal. The compliment was centered on the effort I was putting in. It made me feel safe, and gave me the boost I needed to stay committed to my goals a little bit longer.
As we focus on encouraging our co-workers, it can be very easy for us to adopt the role of cheerleader. We can give as much as we can: create a work culture of being seen, support them softly and outwardly, give all the supportive and mindful compliments we can muster, rah-rah-sis-boom-bah! However, sometimes our co-workers don’t need any help, or advice, or even any words of encouragement. Sometimes all they need is for someone to listen.
They could be struggling with their goals. This could be the third time they have attempted to succeed in a particular resolution, and it may not be going well, so all they want to do is vent some frustrations. Or maybe, they’re really happy with their progress, so they don’t necessarily want any advice. Our culture is so focused on whatever is next – the next thing, the next goal, or the next accomplishment. Maybe all your co-worker wants to do is to sit and quietly celebrate their success.
Listening to one another can be the most valuable of gives. By doing so, we are telling the people we care about that they don’t need to do anything more. They don’t even need to be anything more and you will still hold them with care and compassion. Your give is the gift of time and attention without expecting anything else from them, but to simply exist and take space as they are, without any fear and judgment. Talk about a happy new year.
Have you tried any of the workplace gives listed above? Is there anything else that you’ve tried and have garnered some success with? Let us know your favorite workplace gives in the comments below. Or sign up for your 365give membership for more inspiration. Hey, maybe you get can get your entire workplace onboard!