• Indy Sim

3 Ways To Create A Great Daily Working Office Environment (& 2 Ways How Not To)

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives."

-Anne Dillard

The majority of us spend 5 days a week in the office (except that lovely bunch who floods Instagram with their breathtaking scenic "days at the office"). That majority spend 1/3 of their lives at work. 90,000 hours, to be precise. Everyone seeks to be happy. Thus, to lead a happy life, we must aim to make our everyday life as positive as possible. Here are the three ways to create a great daily working office environment:

1. Turn 'career' into 'mission'.

Back in the day, stepping the career ladder used to be fashionable. It motivated people to be ambitious, focused and self-driven. Those were the qualities that any employer would have wished for. It turned the working environment into a toxic place to be, resulting in poor work-life balance, high-stress levels and a new NHS approved condition of 'burnout'. A 1970's experiment revealed that people tend to work together if they're united by the same mission. The experiment involved 9 different nationalities' people, one raft and 3 months in the open ocean. They had one goal - to survive and make it back home. The unity of the common mission of the company and one of its employees create a much healthier working environment. Instead of competing with each other, people perform their best to achieve a common goal. The company grows bigger and plenty of career possibilities arise naturally.

2. Less blue light - more sunlight.

The survey of 2000 people revealed that office workers spend 1,700 hours a year in front of a screen. Which is 70 days. Not to mention the extra screen time we spend on social media. That's quite alarming, to say the least. Besides the fact that the blue light disturbs sleep pattern and damages our sight, it also deprives us of the world experiences. Ultimately, it affects the quality of life. Now, work is work, you have to do what you have to do. There are people in North Korea digging coal and not complaining - you might say. So, if your work requires to spend significant time gazing at your screen, that's fair enough. But it is useful to be mindful about it. It’s important to take regular breaks: to close your eyes or look at the sky outside the window. It helps. Have your morning all-hands gatherings outdoors and lunch in the nearest park. Easy to say if you live in Malaysia or any other sunny part of the world. But even in rainy London, the sound of raindrops, falling on the leaves, can be the quick 5-minute meditation session need.

Visual meditation at work
Visual meditation at work

3. Soul skills over hard skills.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever done COSHH and health and safety. Now, raise the other one if you’ve done it more than once. Add some GDPR and a pinch discretion training and here we go - all the staff is trained and ready to go. If you, as an employer, think that, please consider to re-consider the ways you lead your team. We are the awakening generation. The generation that doesn't limit itself by age. Today, a successful workplace is a second home for people of various ages, genders and ethnicities who are united by one mission and a number of goals. Self-development is one of them. It advances the skills, boosts motivation and helps to discover individual life purposes. Self-development initiatives come in various forms. A simple feedback system, meditation workshops or programs, introduced from outside companies, such as Mindvalley Academy can change work performance and results.

We're all humans, after all, and we do have our weak spots for instant pleasure. Some companies use that to their advantage. Instead of providing the key elements for the prosperous working environment, they manipulate workers by putting on a show. Below are two examples of how corporations trick workers into appreciating something that is far from anything of value.

1. Unlimited soft drinks and cookies - a dream or a type 2 diabetes on a plate?

Who doesn't like an open bar? Now, replace alcohol to unlimited cans of 20 types of soft drinks, add some cookies, Nutella and bread, and here you go - any child's dream. Let's save that child from a toothless childhood and imagine an all-day snacking 'happy' employee. One can of coke has 24g of sugar. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a maximum amount of added sugars we should eat a day is 37g for men and 25g for women. So, ladies, one can of coke a day, it is. But that's not always the case. Snacking is one of the guilty pleasures most of us are really guilty of. Especially when we want to reward ourselves for the hard work we do. Office jobs involve very little to none of the physical work. So, risen sugar levels are complemented by extra pounds, piling up around those love handles that we all so love! Providing an unlimited snack bar might come from good intentions. But a variety of fruit, nuts, avocados and some black chocolate is a far better option for the real benefit for the body and mind.

Dream office snack bar?
Dream office snack bar?

2. Slack - an ultimate sense of community or invasion of privacy?

Communication within the company is a vital part of a healthy working environment. Long gone the days where the CEO is secluded in his corner office and everyone has to go through his secretary, to be able to talk about any sort of business. That notion of superiority and estates is finally fading. Organization begin appreciating feedback, open communication and honesty. As always, technology speeds-up the process by introducing Slack, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Rocket Chat and many more. These cloud-based instant messaging platforms allow effective real-time communication between small and big organisations. It creates, indeed, very open relationship and saves a lot of time-waisting. More, every message is archived, which means that there's no space for secrecy. But, like any other great idea, have companies taken it one step too far? Keeping up with the constant flow of updates can be challenging. Even so, when you also have some real work to do. If you miss the notification from your manager, be sure it will be noted. If you happen to add the app on your personal phone, brace yourself and your personal life. On top of that, Slack allows premium plan admins to access employees private DM's.

Ultimately, it doesn't mean that Slack is bad, soft drinks should be banned and all that the employees should do - is to sit outdoors and meditate. Balance is the answer to everything, so it is to a good daily working office environment. Mission-driven people are much more focused, happier and relaxed. Nutritious snacks result in good health and a sharp mind, while weekly yoga practises lower tension. Open communication is the key. Innovative instant messaging apps do make it much easier. But it is important to know the boundaries and be able to disconnect. Peaceful mind - happy life.

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