The Beatles remind us All You Need Is Love. That’s not quite true in life, including our work lives. A little love, however, goes a long way to make us happier, more engaged and optimistic. Who doesn’t want more of those things in the workplace? So, don’t limit the celebration of Valentine’s Day to your personal life. Bring it to work! Here are five ideas, one for each day of next week, to get you started.
1. Count how many “human moments” you can have at work. “Human moments” is Ed Hallowell’s term for being completely present in every interaction. Hallowell argues that residual benefits of human moments last long after the exchange due to the positive mental energy they produce. How many times this week can you put down your phone or handheld device, look away from the screen, set aside reading material then devote your complete attention to others?
2. See how many positive interactions you can have per day. Don’t be like Dilbert’s pointy-headed boss with a smiley button; just try for as many sincere expressions of good will as you can. It’s good for you, good for associates and good for business. According to research from Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania, positive connection in the workplace may produce increased attention, learning and creative thinking. That’s pretty good pay back for an exchange of smiles.
3. Select words with care. Words are among our most powerful tools to engage others and open possibilities. Susan Smalley describes words as living organisms because of their ability to influence and change people. Think of how the substitution of What if…? for I/we can’t encourages ideas. Or, how the substitution of and for but opens up options. How often can your choice of words this week lead to better outcomes?
4. Find occasions for people to use their strengths in their work. This includes, you, too. According to the Gallup Organization, the hours each day that we do work related to our strengths is inversely related to levels of worry, stress, anxiety and sadness we feel. The fact that we often produce better results when using strengths is the cherry on top!
5. Move as much as you can. Show some love for you, too. Set a goal for 10 minutes of extra moving around in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon. (A professor in graduate school shared that one of the most important behaviors to stave off weight gain is walking for 15 minutes after lunch.) Sit less and move more.
What if every year, we devoted Valentine’s Week as a time when everyone tried to make the workplace a little nicer? That’s a goal to get behind, one day at a time this week.
What will you do to make life at work a little better for someone else this week? For you?