Tag Archives: Office

1st Working Day of 2020, people! :)

Well, I’ve made it to lunchtime! And I am so glad that I decided to come back to work today, with it being a Friday. A one day working week is the perfect way to ease back into things, and although there are a few people in, it feels like one of the quietest days at work I’ve seen….definitely the quietest day of the year and of the decade so far! 😉

I think the build up and anticipation and taking the first steps into a routine after the holiday season are usually the hardest part of the whole process of going back to work, and once that’s out of the way, everything else seems more ‘doable’ and manageable.

I struggled through the night with this cough, sore throat and cold, but other than a brief ‘coughing fit’ on the train here this morning, I have had quite a pleasant start back to work, especially as things are so quiet. Quiet not just at work, but the streets and train were also void of the usual hustle and bustle of working commuters. Lovely! 🙂

I expect that this will be quite a different scene come Monday, with those who took the extra day off coming in all at once, which is why I and the others who have come in today will be appreciating this much gentler start to the new working year.  With it being so quiet, people have pretty much just kept to themselves, and I’ve had a couple of chats to colleagues who I hadn’t seen in a while, but a quiet day allows everyone to get the tiredness, grumpiness and adjustments out of the way with as little fuss as possible, to have an easy start as we go through our inboxes, remind ourselves of our tasks and begin preparing for the next full week ahead, without all the ‘new year’ madness that will likely ensue when there will be far more people in, most likely grumbling about being back at work.

I’m pleased to say that I remembered my password, and that my ‘Welcome back’ email from my 2019 self was extremely helpful, and will probably be even more so next week when I really get into work as I have given myself detailed instructions as to what I’ll be taking forward. I can’t recommend this highly enough; ok, so maybe you don’t have to write to yourself in a ‘Back to the Future’ kind of way, but at least leave yourself helpful notes and instructions as you will inevitably have forgotten the minute details of what you were doing pre-holiday season.

A one day week really does feel like a nice ‘stretch and a warm up’ before the real exercise begins. I don’t envy people who will be starting back on the Monday with the stretch of a whole week ahead and little quiet time to properly adjust. I’d much rather have this gentler start than the extra day at home.

However, on the bright side, for anyone who is starting back to work on Monday, at least you’re ‘in the same boat’ as almost everyone else, and you’ll all be experiencing similar feelings, and so you’ll all be going through the post holiday adjustment at the same time, which may bring about a sense of camaraderie.

This morning I remembered a day years ago when I was sick the day before a job interview (for a job I didn’t get, and probably wouldn’t have been happy in anyway), and it gave me a sense of gratitude and relief that I have a job I enjoy, that I feel settled in, and that gives me a sense of stability in my life. I’m glad to be far from those days post-graduation of job-hunting, interviews, and doing volunteer work and temping in ‘dead end’ unfulfilling jobs to tide me over, while not knowing where I would end up.

It is a good perspective to have to be grateful for the jobs we have when facing those ‘first day back nerves’, or if we feel negative about leaving the holidays behind – because, really many of us are very blessed in having regular employment with fair working conditions and I am thankful for that as I begin a new working year.

Coming back to work also reminds me that there are a lot of ‘niggly’ things that we face on a day to day basis that we need to be careful to keep in perspective and not let them spoil our attitude.

For example, our department pre-Christmas released an organisational structure with everyone’s job titles and grades on it, and of course with me being on holiday today is the first chance for me to see it. Often in my team, because I work well and efficiently, I am given a lot of work to do, and sometimes I am given responsibility to take over work from other colleagues who may have let things slip, and have completed pieces of work for other managers because I am industrious, efficient and work to a high standard. However, the new structure clearly reveals that even though I am often doing more work or being asked to pick up other colleagues work, I am being paid less that those team members. There is a organisational-wide review happening, however, the point I am trying to make is that back at work we may be faced with issues that we had forgotten about, not had to deal with, or been able to take a break from while on holiday.

These issues may not necessarily be to do with working more and to a higher standard while being paid less than colleagues, they may be to do with other things such as team dynamics, communication with managers or staff, who controls the temperature on the heating / air conditioning / thermostat, or whether there is enough space for your lunch in the fridge! It could be anything, and my point is that we need to be careful not to let either these significant or smaller issues take away our peace of mind, or nudge us into having a negative perspective.

It is important to take a step back, take in a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we are more than our work, we are more than what we do or don’t do when we rest, and we can’t live our best lives in 2020 if we allow ourselves to fall into the comparison trap.

I’m reminded of how Jesus said to Peter, ‘what is it to you?’ when he was concerned with John’s situation in comparison with his, as they talked and ate after Christ’s resurrection. And it is good to remind myself that I am working for The LORD and not for man, and that humility and gratitude is a good starting point for continuing on this walk with Him, knowing that He will grant wisdom in every circumstance that I will face.

So no matter what you believe, remember that you will be stepping into an environment where your inner responses will be challenged. Be mindful of this and gird yourself with the determination to walk through 2020 with gratitude, grace, dignity, respect, diligence, positivity, good humour and excellence.

As they say, “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

So go out there, and make a difference for the better, and remember just to take it one step at a time! 🙂 x

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“Wrapping up” for Christmas ~ a checklist for your last day of work before the holidays.

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It’s your last day of work before the holidays – but before you rush out the door, there are a few things you can do to make your working life that bit more pleasant when you return after your break.

1. Emails!

After some time off work, especially if it’s an enjoyable or longer period away from the office (as it’s my realm of work, this is mostly geared towards office workers), it is quite common to feel a little bit disoriented on your first day back. It’s good to prepare in advance for this.

For example, you might forget your password to log into your computer, and you might find that you have a deluge of emails clogging up your inbox.

Here are some handy tips to alleviate these problems:

  • Before you ‘clock out’ for the holidays, respond to any outstanding emails or correspondence that you have, and make a note of anything you need to follow up on for when you return.
  • Delete any unnecessary emails and clear out your recycle bin and junk mail folders.
  • Unsubscribe from any ‘alerts’ (such as Google alerts) or correspondence, newsletters, etc. that aren’t too important – you can always make a note of what you’ve unsubscribed from and re-subscribe when you come back to work. That way you won’t be inundated with unnecessary emails to sift through after your holiday.
  • For the remaining emails that you need to keep in your inbox, create sub-folders and categorise these according to task / work-stream, etc. and ‘flag’ any items that are priority items for you to look at when you get back.

2. Password

You’ll be likely to forget your password to get into your system, so keep a reminder with you (not at your computer) with some hints as to what it is (don’t write down your actual password). You can also keep the number of your work IT support service handy so that if all else fails you can call for help on your first day (but bear in mind you probably won’t be the only one!).

3. Clear your desk

As keen and eager as you may be to rush out the door as soon as you possibly can on your last day, don’t leave your workspace in a mess, because it won’t be the most pleasant of things to come back to after a relaxing break. Instead, tidy up any clutter, bin any rubbish and keep things clean, neat and tidy. File away any paperwork, and make sure confidential information is securely locked away or safeguarded. Maybe even write a ‘welcome back’ note for yourself to come back to! 😉

4. Tie up loose ends and update your colleagues

Try to complete any outstanding assignments well ahead of your last day so that you won’t have to be stressing to get things done at the last minute and you can relax and enjoy ‘winding down’ before the holidays. Create a ‘task list’ for yourself for when you come back to work and if you are leaving earlier than other colleagues who may have to pick up work for you when you’re on holiday, then make sure you have a chance to chat with them beforehand, email any updates and make sure that everyone is informed with what to do and that a plan is in place so that things keep running smoothly in your absence.

5. Create a plan for yourself for your first day back at work after your holiday

This will make the transition back into work more seamless and you won’t be sitting around feeling confused as you try to remember “what’s my job again?!” 🙂

6. The gift of giving

If you are leaving a few days or more before your other colleagues, try to be sensitive to this even if you are ‘super excited’ that your own holidays will start soon. You could do something nice for them, even a simple kind gesture, such as bringing in some chocolates or festive treats for your colleagues and leave a note or a card wishing them well and thanking people for any things they have done through the year that have been particularly helpful to you. Say goodbye in some way, and leave on good terms with everyone.

7. Out of office.

This may well be your favourite ‘task’ of the day – putting on your ‘out of office’! That sweet sensation of knowing you will be ‘free’ for the next so many days, or weeks, to relax and do just what you like. As well as feeling good, putting your ‘out of office’ on is important in keeping other people updated as to when you will be away and when you will come back, and it will also be helpful for others if you can provide them with alternative contact details for someone who can assist them when you are away.

So, that’s that! Or perhaps I should say, “That’s a wrap!”. Enjoy ‘winding down’ for the holidays, and have a peaceful, stress-free and wonderful rest when the time comes for you. x

Lunch bites – bite sized inspiration on your lunch break…

A simple ‘thank you’ can do wonders…

Sometimes at work we come across people who do things to help us, whether that is something as big as advocating for us in some way, or as ‘small’ as bringing us a cupcake on a Friday afternoon. The world is full of hostility, but where we are blessed to encounter kindness, friendliness, a helpful attitude, a job well done, respect in any big or small way, then it is worth pausing to show our appreciation. The appreciation may not be in the form of an award, a bunch of flowers, or even a card – it might given circumstances be a simple ‘thank you’ expressed in person, or even by email to a colleague or fellow office worker. Show your appreciation. Say thank you. Because the kindness of others should never be taken for granted. And your kindness in saying thank you might just make a bigger difference to that person than you think.

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Lunch bites – bite sized inspiration on your lunch break…

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Go green

Working in an office, a factory, on site, or even potentially from a home office depending on how you have set things up, can leave you feeling a bit detached and disconnected from the beauty of life, if you’re not careful.

I think one of the most uplifting and refreshing things in life is to be in the midst of nature. There is something about the slow, steady, seasonal and gentle pace of watching life grow that helps take us out of the frenzied hurry we often let ourselves be drawn into.

This lunchtime, I walked 3 times around my building, as it is a lovely sunny day with blue skies which can be a rare occurrence here. I sometimes go to the park, but it is a longer walk, and I have to cross traffic, etc. to get there. However, even though I didn’t get to the park, there are trees nearby, and some greenery edging the circumference of our office building area. Maybe not a lot, but enough to contribute to the satisfaction and peace that feeling more connected with nature, even just a little more, can bring.

Maybe you are in a busy central location and don’t have much greenery nearby. Maybe you work in an industrial, built up area, where everything seems to be “bricks and windows, windows and bricks” in the words of Willy Lowman (‘Death of a Salesman’ – Arthur Miller). That doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some indoor plants to your work space, maybe some succulents that are low maintenance – I keep meaning to find a cactus and give it a little home on my desk at work. These small changes can be good for us over time, and bring little bursts of happiness into our day, leaving us feeling even just that little more connected with that beautiful, natural and peaceful way of life that being near nature, and greenery brings.

Lunch bites – bite sized inspiration on your lunch break…

What are you in such a hurry for?

Do you have a tendency to rush through your lunch breaks? Do you eat and drink ‘on the go’, and ‘wolf down’ your food while rushing to the next thing?  Or do you spend most if not all of your lunch breaks at your desk, and rarely actually get up and go for a walk or take a break in which you can actually slow down, stop, think….enjoy?

Maybe you work in a fast paced environment, where everything around you is ‘rush, rush, rush’. But do you honestly think that rushing all the time is actually more productive, time saving, and better in the long term? Could small steps everyday help to improve your wellbeing and avoid burnout…..and indigestion?! Or if you’re not really at risk of that, perhaps they could just help you to live better and enjoy your life more?

I don’t think all the rushing for rushing’s sake actually does save time. It simply ‘ramps up’ our nervous system and fight / flight response, but for what?

Maybe you have somewhere very important to be, very quickly, but I presume for most of us this is an occasional occurrence rather than our daily situation. So take a break, put down your work, and enjoy your lunch. Be grateful, enjoy the taste, smell, and texture of your food. Breathe deeply, eat more slowly, and when you do go back to work you will hopefully feel better, more refreshed and relaxed, and energized for the rest of the day.

Slow and steady wins the race….it tastes better too! 🙂

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Lunch bites – bite sized inspiration on your lunch break…

Step it up!

If most of your working day is spent sitting at a computer, then it is important to be intentional about being active, even if that activity is simply short and regular walks along the corridor, or gentle stretching, for example arm or leg stretches which you can do while sitting at your desk. If you think about your health in the long term, then a sedentary lifestyle can be very detrimental on a number of levels. Even if you are already fairly active, it’s beneficial to keep moving throughout the day and not just waiting until the end of the day or the week to go to a gym, or for a run or some other type of exercise.

Find ways in which you can ‘step it up’ in your office environment, and you can be subtle about it. Walk up and down the stairs if you are able to – this is good for the body, mind and heart as well. Take a short walk at lunchtime. If you are going to a meeting within your building, and have the option of using stairs or a lift, take the stairs where possible. Do some simple leg stretches under your desk, or whatever movement you are able to do with your physical abilities. Your body will thank you for it in years to come, and you will be fitter, more focused and healthier to also be more productive in your work tasks. And one last thing…ladies, if you wear heels, remember to keep a pair of flat shoes at the ready! 🙂

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Feeling frazzled?

The world can get a little too big for us sometimes. Do you ever feel that way? Aside from the politics of the world stage, the news stories from across the globe that overwhelm us, and the difficult situations facing our own communities, even on a smaller scale the world can feel far too big for us to cope with at times. Or is it just me?

In our own little microcosms of existence, whether they be in the workplace, our families, or friendship / social groups, things can get a little bit tricky to navigate, and it leaves us feeling….well….for want of a better word….’frazzled’. 

For in a variety of ways, we face the ‘politics’ of the workplace, the home and our social groups. If we’re not careful, this can almost without our noticing how it happened, leave us feeling stressed, undervalued, unappreciated, anxious and overwhelmed.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you find yourself navigating other people’s moods, emotions, opinions and mini dramas? Do you find yourself silenced or taken for granted or ignored? Do you ever find yourself putting everyone else’s needs before your own, so much so that you feel disconnected, almost as if you’re an observer of your own life, rather than an active participant?

I think this can happen to us all from time to time. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ll know that there are contrasts of happiness and frustration, fruitful communication and unfortunate misunderstandings, recognition for a job well done, and working extra hard only for someone else to get the credit, ending up taking on an extra burden of work because you’re a diligent worker and your co-worker somehow manages to cruise along, off the back of the work you have done. Similar things can happen among family and friends, albeit within slightly different contexts. 

I wonder if some such scenario is running through your mind right now. I really should say that I’m not writing this to bring anyone down – quite the opposite in fact. For if you begin to recognise that niggling feeling earlier on, you’re in a better position to do something about it before you become overwhelmed by it or the people you spend time with, and maybe even love. Taking notice earlier on can foster good communication professionally, and contribute to a healthier working environment, while personally it may be an important step to protecting a relationship from failing. 

Maybe the thing to start with is to recognise how all the muddle is making you feel. To do this, you need to step back a little from the situation, take some time out to be by yourself, and listen. Our minds and bodies need to process experiences, and we so often don’t give ourselves the time, space, solitude and quiet to do so. And so things fester. They bubble under the surface, and grow into problems like weeds choking the flowers in a garden. 

By taking time to think and listen, to acknowledge and validate our feelings and perceptions, even if others don’t, we are able to more securely deal with whatever is in front of us and to have a healthier perspective on things. 

Aside from stepping aside, we can remind ourselves that although we can’t change other people we can take responsibility for ourselves. We can be responsible for recognising how we feel, giving ourselves love and self compassion, taking time to care for ourselves and invest our time and focus on things that are good for us, and by doing so find the strength to set appropriate boundaries for how we allow other people to treat us. We don’t need to engage in confrontation. We can speak the truth quietly, wisely and with love. Or we can find growth and maturity in the silence. Sometimes. 

The stronger we grow, the less we will come to expect of others. We’ll be gentler and more forgiving of them when they don’t treat us right. We’ll realise that the negativity or neglect of others has less power over our lives, because we take control of our own wellbeing and don’t allow such things to have such power in our lives anymore. 

If you are feeling frazzled, don’t worry. It happens to us all, and maybe you need help from someone with expertise, which is also quite normal I assure you, or maybe you need to step back and give yourself time to breathe, to think, to process and take care of your own needs. 

It’s a noisy world out there. Don’t let its vastness diminish you as a person. Take time aside and rest for a while. You’ll feel so much better for it. xx

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