Simplifying life at work takes organizational cooperation and changes to workplace culture.
Managers have the power to institute these changes and model behavior that inspire everyone at work to simplify both individually and as a team.
“A single employee who desires a simpler culture is not sufficient,” writes Chetan Reddy of Digitalist Magazine. “Rather, the shift to simplify must start from the very top and filter down the workforce chain. […] Launching a simpler culture calls for the lateral and vertical support of everyone.”
“In essence, unity is the best form of simplicity,” Reddy writes.
The benefits of simplicity? Less bureaucracy, better communication, improved health, increased productivity and a more vibrant culture of engagement! In the coming days, celebrate Simplify Your Life Week by helping employees simplify and de-stress.
5 Ways to Help Employees Simplify[Tweet “”Life is actually really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” —Confucius”] Stress complicates our lives. That’s why the #1 way to simplify your life isn’t to sell your possessions and move to a remote cabin in the woods: it’s to declutter your brain!
As a WebMD article on simplified living explains:
“The prevailing philosophy of today’s voluntary simplicity movement is not to live without possessions or to live in frugality, but to slow down and live a more balanced, deliberate and thoughtful life.”
1. Encourage Single-Tasking & Mindful Productivity
Trying to do too much at once muddles our brains and keeps us from being in the moment. In a misguided effort to get everything done right now, we overcomplicate our to-do list and stress out.
Leaders can model a better way! Encourage single-tasking productivity measures, such as the popular “Pomodoro Technique.” Practice group or partner mindfulness activities and apply them in everyday work scenarios. Without the pressure and distractions of multitasking, your team will discover that once-complicated tasks become simpler. (Read more in our blog, “Want A Culture of Gratitude? Stop Multitasking.”)
2. Don’t Support a ‘Culture of Complexity’
Are busywork, scrambled presentations, endless meetings and unnecessary emails clogging up your company’s workflow? Forbes contributor Ron Ashkenas calls this a “culture of complexity” and says it stems from an unwillingness to challenge the status quo.
“The first step towards simplification is to break out of this silent collusion. Challenge yourself and challenge others,” he writes. Aim for a constructive, respectful dialogue that encourages people to speak up when they see an opportunity for a simpler solution.
3. Encourage Reciprocity, Not Self-Sufficiency
This tip and the next one come from Yves Morieux, a BCG consultant whose TED Talk on simplifying in a complex business landscape guides leaders through a big-picture approach to simplicity.
Morieux recommends that companies seek out the buffers that force people to be self-sufficeint and remove them. Eliminating these blocks to cooperation allows for more reciprocity — a key element of any streamlined operation.
4. Reward Cooperation
“Blame is not for failure, it is for failing to cooperate or ask for help,” Morieux says, quoting Lego CEO Jorgan Vig KnudStorp. So, he reasons, cooperation should be rewarded. Blaming employees for failures is a bad policy that instills fear and doesn’t allow room for learning and improvement.
When leaders focus on cooperation and communication, they encourage transparency, risk-taking and goal-oriented thinking.
5. Celebrate what’s going right
Productivity and organizing consultant Helene Segura emphasizes the importance of daily reflection and celebration in her “Simplify Your Life Week” segment with the morning news show Great Day San Antonio.
Instead of reflecting on all the things that didn’t go right on any given day, think about what did.
“We need to celebrate all of our wins for the day, no matter how small they are,” she says.
This positive attitude keeps our mind focused on goals instead of distracted by our failures. When we celebrate small victories along the way, we reinforce success and move on with clear eyes to the next day!
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
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