6 workplace issues and how to overcome them
written by Elena Kostova
It’s 2019, and let’s admit it - the way we work has changed drastically in just 100 years. We’ve come a long way from working 12-hour shifts on a conveyor line. Today we have the luxury of working 8 or even 6 hours on comfy chairs in state-of-art offices. So, do we have things figured out at work? I believe not. Even today, work-life balance and interpersonal relations are among the top challenges employees face at work. To shed some light on the topic, I decided to dig a little deeper and see what other professionals have to say about it. I’ve selected the top 6 workplace issues and how to overcome them.
1. Work-life balance
Yes, I know you’ve heard this one at least a thousand times - we need a better work-life balance, but Sarah Todd decided to take a little bit of different perspective on the issue. She addresses one group of workers who needs it the most - the younger workforce. There is a common idea that your 20s is the time to hustle hard and “secure” a good life for when you start a family. And let’s be honest - when you are young, you take a lot of pride in the work you do, so it is even easier to build your life around it (especially if you don’t have a spouse and kids waiting on you at home). Unfortunately, this type of behavior can easily work against you - leading to complete exhaustion or even burnout. Therefore, next time you decide to pull off an all-nighter, think if this is really necessary or you can just do that one thing the day after.
2. Adoption of new technology
In times when innovation is moving in such a quick pace, it has become harder to keep up to date with all new technologies. But there is nothing to worry about - if you’ve learned how to use Snapchat, no tech can stand in your way 😎. It is important that you just take time to learn more about it and see how to use it in your advantage. I like the rule Debbie Goodman-Bhyat proposes. Invest 10% of your time and resources to learn about new things and improve your skills, and use the other 90% to put this knowledge to use. In case you are looking for alternatives to the good old workshop when introducing a new tool to your company, Robert Half offers some good ideas.
Favorite advice from Robert Half: With the increasing number of employees working remotely or from different locations, an online platform for training can be an effective way to improve the skills of your team.
Busy schedules, tight deadlines, needy customers - we all know what stress at work feels like. Being stressed is actually no joke, and besides burnout, it can cause some health issues, too. Studies show that working in a high paced environment increase the chance of heart decease. But let’s not make things look scarier than they actually are. Bottom line is that stress at work should be managed, and Zen Workplace suggests not 3 or 4 but whole 15 ways to do that. Single-tasking, regaining control over your email and choosing your battles are among the recommendations Dr. Karlyn Borysenko from ZenWorkplace gives.
4. Age bias
Today's workforce is quite "colorful". Some grew with phones in their hands, others might not even know what Snapchat is. Having 5 generations working together in a company can be a scary rollercoaster. Without some training and proper communication, accusations like "Trophy kids" or "Reptiles" may surface (please don’t use those). But things can be a lot smoother with some guidance. Jane Bianchi shares her advice on how to successfully bridge the age gap. Her tips, favoring both the digital natives and nomads can help you and your team grow more understanding towards each other.
5. ‘Torture’ by meetings
Having a group meeting always sounds fun and exciting in theory. You finally get to sit together and browse ideas for the product launch. Then the meeting starts, and everyone is eager to share their opinion. But soon ideas stretch too far, talks go off topic, and you find yourself wishing for this discussion to end. So, how did such moments turn into modern weapons of torture? One of the main problems with meetings is the lack of a clear goal. You jump from topic to topic, and in the end, you forget what you have agreed upon. One way to flip this around is to set up an agenda and rules upfront. Paul, a corporate trainer, is sharing what the most common problems with group meetings are and how to tackle them.
6. Office design
Meetings may be about planning your work, but the office is where you execute it. Yet, here is the thing about the latter - the perfect office does not exist. A workplace reflects the idea of the space manager what a good working environment means. But everyone works best in different conditions. Some love big spaces full of light and greenery, while others concentrate better in quieter, darker areas. Currently, open-space and co-working offices are on the rise, but they, too, come with their disadvantages - lack of personal space or too much noise. So, can there be a better way of working? According to Glen Hichs, ABW (activity-based working) may be the solution. Unlike a traditional workplace, the ABW office is divided into task-specific areas which are designed to accommodate the needs of employees in different situations.
Favorite advice by Glen: Add cozy chairs and sofas in a part of the office where people frequently pass through but rarely stay. This can become a space for informal meetings or for employees to take a short break.
I've stumbled upon this piece on how to improve the place of work. While it does not mention any issues in the workplace, it offers a whole bunch of fresh ideas on how to make your office little more bright and purposeful. According to Claire, you should start by finding a true purpose at work and a mentor to guide you through the process. She also suggests that if you want to have a healthy work life, you should start by experiencing life outside of work.
Even the best teams sometimes experience problems in the workplace. In such moments it is important that you speak up and try to find a solution that would work for everyone in the team. And I sincerely hope that those articles would be a good starting point for it.
What are the main problems you’re facing at work? Can you see yourself in some of the ones above or you’re up for a whole other line of challenges? Hit me up on Twitter.