Keeping Up Frequency and the Vibe in the Office
We have all been there; we look around our work environment and something is off. Our colleagues are just getting on with their own things and there no ‘joie de vivre’. It really gets us down and we feel powerless in the face of the “bad office atmosphere”. It is the environment where antagonism festers for no apparent reason. People are not helpful and tend to have separate goals with their input into the business. We have a dysfunctional group dynamic.
The reason we feel powerless is that we seek solutions outside ourselves and view the problem as a tangible external issue. Our first task is to realise that we are only responsible for our own energy and actions. The second is to start analysing what is our part of the problem. You are part of the group dynamic, if there is a problem you are part of it, as well as you will be part of the solution.
Some reasons for a crappy office atmosphere are:
- Disconnect in the hierarchical flow of trust and communication; managers and reports don’t trust each other because they do not communicate effectively.
- Poor or outdated systems and/or procedures and policies. This contributes to the first reason as management will be blamed for this.
- Lack of or too much influence in decision making by the staff. Too much and mangement appears weak, indecisive and inept, too little and they are viewed as dictatorial and out-of-touch.
- Lack of attention to staff well being.
- Individuals bringing in negative energies that lower the collective vibe.
- Gossiping and complaining.
- Wrong people in positions and/or right people in the wrong positions.
- Attempts to fix the issues without proper direction or implementation.
- Poor management of downturn in the economic climate and downsizing.
There are of course plenty of other causes for the bad office atmosphere that you can add to the list, but these are the main ones I have found in my work. I should note that, if you have a great atmosphere with the whole team working together with passion towards the same goal, you will never have to address number 9, plain and simple.
Ok, back to your part of the solution. Basically, you can make sure you are the best person you can be, simple huh? It is, but it does require that you roll up your sleeves and work on yourself so that you bring in the best vibes to the office that come from a genuine place. “Fake it ’till you make it”? Yes, you can fake it to start with, but that will become transparent after a while and will backfire. You have to do the heavy lifting to open yourself up to that level of existence . Check your own energy, is it really at maximum, are you truly happy and passionate about what you do?
The next action you take is to make the white elephant in the room apparent to your manager, or if you are the manager to your peers. If you aren’t the manager, ask to be given a mandate to set up a plan to change the office mood by an energetic over haul. If you are the manager, you work out a plan to do the same. Anybody who works with addicts or in the mental care profession, know that half the battle it for the involved party/parties to recognise there is a problem. Once you start shining a light on the problem, healing has begun.
You need to renew and refresh; from the decor to the interior design to policies to team building activities. Create a meaningful environment where people feel valued, creative and important. You need to scrub away the “bad” in “bad office atmosphere”. Below are some simple tips:
- Bring in a speaker once a month for lunch to give motivational and inspirational talks.
- Change out the magazines in the office for motivational, inspiring, uplifting and positive ones.
- Turn off news broadcasts and switch to white noise soothing sounds.
- Make sure the artwork inspires the staff (no, for crying out loud, not motivational quotes artwork!).
- Start a meditation practice.
- Create a chill out space.
- Plan quarterly meaningful team building activities or courses that help evolve each team member.
- Overhaul your policies and procedures. Make sure their aren’t any that create blockages in energy flow preventing people from feeling safe to communicate.
On a management level you need to identify where the the negative energy might be coming from. Is is from one or several people (staff or managers)? Is it sitting in the walls (nope, not kidding)? Does it come from the workflow, or the lack thereof? Much can be accomplished by giving staff the tools to work on their own energies and investing in their mental well being. This 2017 study 250 companies in the UK shows that mental health challenges in the workplace is epidemic: https://wearewildgoose.com/uk/team-activities/mental-health-in-the-workplace-survey/. Of course, if you are working with outdated systems and procedures you need to simply update them, but get it right the first time around or you will have taken two steps backwards.
Be prepared to manage a reorganisation. Once you open Pandora’s box you never know what you are going to find. Perhaps you find that one part of the business simply is not working anymore and proceed to sell it. You basically have to open yourself up to all opportunities that will come your way as you start working on this process. Move past the fear and embrace change, and trust yourself. Shedding of negative energy is necessary to make space for creative dynamic energies. You will then give those negative energies a chance to transform themselves into their creative best.
I am going to leave you for now with these thoughts: Imagine if all the people in your office read this same article and started working on themselves individually, what amazing changes you would see immediately. On a grander scale, imagine if every person in the world did the same?
Also published on Medium.