Monday, April 22, 2019

Dealing with Disagreements in An Open Office

Dealing with Disagreements in An Open Office

Open floor plans and shared office spaces are the newest trends in building a sense of community and culture in the workplace, but with no tangible personal space and coworkers that don’t respect (or understand the concept of) boundaries, tension and arguments are almost certain to happen.
Instead of letting frustration fester or spending your lunch hour on a venting session with your spouse, address the issues and hash out your differences.
Understanding where communication breaks down and how to mend disagreements sooner than later protects productivity and is the key to creating healthy relationships at work.
Marshall shares a few mindful tips to help support you in creating an efficient and pleasant environment in your open office. 
In any working space, disagreements are sure to happen. When addressed constructively, open and respectful discussions about opposing positions or opinions can lead to stronger collaborations and increased workflow. Whenever possible, affected employees should engage in calm and collective conversation to resolve their differences.
Start by identifying why you’re upset. “What happened or didn’t happen?” “Is this about a mood or internal offense or something specific and actionable?”
Once you are clear, determine whether you communicated your expectations plainly and decide if you want to address the issue. If so, approach your co-worker calmly, walk through the situation, discuss what happened and what could have been done differently. The objective is to pinpoint the breakdown so that you (both) are able to create a solution and talk about how to handle it going forward. 
Note: Remain professional. Try to see things from their perspective and show them yours as well. Whether or not they are able to see from your point of view is out of your control. Remain solution focused.
I want to let you in on a little secret. Things often go wrong. When they do, avoid the temptation of separating yourself and placing blame. “It’s easier to blame because you don’t have to do anything – it isn’t your fault,” says Lisa Marshall. “Finding the culprit and washing your hands a situation is low-level behavior in professional settings. Be responsible for your actions, as well as, your reactions. Remember, if a train gets derailed, no one is getting to their destination.” The main objective when a problem arises is to solve the problem. Acknowledge your own actions that may have caused or fueled an issue and ask how you can make it right or assist in making it right – starting now. 
When you’re a child, the world revolves around you. We never really grow out of it. If somebody doesn’t respond to your cheerful “good morning” as you pass each other in the hall, you might think they don’t like you and are avoiding all interaction with you- when it probably has nothing to do with you. You never know what another person is going through internally that is causing them to show up in a less than stellar manner.
Practice saying this to yourself: “this has everything to do with them and nothing to do with me”. Taking yourself out of the equation allows you to release the personal offense and see the miscommunication or breakdown for what it is.
Give them the opportunity to share their perspective by asking these two questions: “Is everything ok?” “Did something happen to upset you?” This may get the dialogue started and if not, respect their stance and gracefully keep it moving because there is work to be done.
“If you never want to get into a disagreement, don’t ever say a word. ” Communication is a beautiful thing, but it has the potential of creating conflict, so we often avoid talking about disagreements for the sake of peace. In any relationship, avoiding communication is one of the fastest ways to destruction. If left unchecked, resentment will soon follow and darken our view, but communication is the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep the lines of communication open. Be upfront instead of sitting on your feelings.
Listen up- eight hours a day may seem minimal but consider this: Within your lifetime, you’ll spend rough 90,000 hours at work and at an increasing rate, the lines between work and home life are becoming blurred.  For many people, the biggest roadblock between them and their dream job is their mindset. When you’re feeling good, you’re able to focus and accomplish work at a higher rate, which in turn fuels continued success but the work begins with you. Be the example of the type of person you would like to work with and share those expectations out loud. You’d be surprised how freeing that honesty can be and you never know who you could be inspiring along the way.

Organizational Skills

Being Organized is a skill that most people can agree is key in the workplace. It is a skill that encompasses everything from the arraignment of your daily schedule to the items on your desk. The way that you choose to organize yourself can affect your focus, proficiency, and execution of work, as well as attitude and frame of mind.

Organizational skills can look different for different people, but detailed below are some helpful tools, suggestions, mindful practices that will assist in finding what would best help you.
Setting Goals and Objectives
SMART Goals are an excellent way to think strategically about goal settings. SMART stands for:
              S:       Specific
State exactly what you want to do. Use verbs, rather than statements. For example, writing “monthly meeting agenda” is different than writing “plan the monthly meeting agenda” or “email the monthly meeting agenda”.
              M:     Measurable
Give yourself some form of metrics to evaluate your task. (e.g. finish 50% of an article, complete 2/3 emails)
              A:      Achievable
                        Be realistic in setting your goals. Do not plan for more than you are able to complete.
              R:      Relevant
Ask yourself questions like: Is this goal in your work scope or your related job functions? Does this directly relate to what you need to accomplish?
              T:      Time-Bound  
                        Give yourself a completion date or time that you can stick to.

Defining your goals in this way is an excellent step to achieving task organization. And keep in mind that it is easy to become overwhelmed with the volume of work that needs to be completed. When that happens, keep this in mind: The Pareto Principle suggests that only 20% of your tasks produce 80% of your results. The majority of your attention should be focused on a small amount of your work.
Creating a Daily Plan and Focus
Create a plan than schedules your most important work first. Give these priority tasks the time and attention needed before scheduling others. Keep your focus the tasks at hand. Blocking time is an excellent way to keep focused. Pick a set amount of time to stay focused on one task or batch of work. Work for 25 minutes on one assignment or set of assignments and then take a simple break – no more than 5 minutes. That break can be changing gears to check emails or checking in with a co-worker. The idea of chunking your time helps keep your work at the center. Bringing like tasks together in the same space of time is also helpful. You will be in the same frame of mind when working on these tasks. In the same respect, responding to emails and phone calls can also be done in batches.
Multi-tasking is a killer when it comes to completing tasks. Your attention is being pulled in many directions and when you switch tasks, it can take your brain a full 64 seconds to refocus on the task at hand. If you are switching between 2 tasks every 10 minutes, you’ve lost at least 10% of your time trying to re-center your thoughts.

Track Your Success
Every time you accomplish something, think about what went right. What helped move you forward and make this successful. Did your success help achieve the most essential deliverables of the day? If you can answer “yes” that makes it easier to let go of any non-essential tasks that were not completed for the day.

Create your goals, make your plan, stay focused, and track your success. Creating habits is different for all people. But the only way to make something feel like second nature is to begin.

Gender Expression is a Protected Class!

Gender Expression is a Protected Class!

Effective February 24, 2019, New York state’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) made it unlawful for employers to discriminate against workers based on their actual or perceived gender identity or expression or transgender status. In the past, the NYSHRL (New York State Human Right Law) prohibited discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation but courts have not interpreted this category to extend to discrimination based on gender identity or expression. With the passage of GENDA, the NYSHRL prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression, extending significant protections to transgender and gender variant individuals across the state.

What is Gender Identity or Expression?

GENDA defines gender identity or expression as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or another gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.” With this new addition to the NYSHRL, transgender employees across the state will receive additional protections against discrimination like those available under the New York City Human Rights Law, which already prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

What Protections do the NYSHRL offer?
The NYSHRL prohibits discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status, or disability. Gender identity and expression is now included as a category. Discrimination occurs when an adverse action, such as discipline, termination, failure to hire, or refusal of services, is taken against an individual because they belong to one of these categories. The protections of the NYSHRL prohibit discrimination by employers, labor organizations, places of public accommodation, educational institutions, and housing establishments. The NYSHRL allows individuals who successfully establish discrimination to recover damages such as lost wages, emotional damages, and attorney’s fees.

Dealing with Disagreements in An Open Office

Dealing with Disagreements in An Open Office Open floor plans and shared office spaces are the newest trends in building a sense of co...