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Maintaining a healthy workspace

Published:Tuesday | July 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

We spend much of our days at the office, so we need to ensure that the environment is pleasant and healthy.

Relationship specialist Sidney McGill said that we have to start with ourselves when trying to develop healthy work relationships. Having a positive attitude is vital. He notes that we are what we attract, and sometimes it is our own negative attitude that actually pulls negativity to us.

According to McGill, as adults and professionals, we should also learn to listen more and talk less; listen to what our co-workers might have to say and not impose our beliefs on them.

He explains that it is expected that from time to time you will get into conflicts. This is a reasonable expectation, since we all have different personalities. The problem usually lies in how we choose to address them.


"One should never approach a co-worker while still angry or in a temper," McGill said. "It is only natural that they will be defensive if you do so. It is also important to find the right time and place to approach the individual once you have calmed down. And, during this process, be careful not to rant; give the other person an opportunity to speak. You may even allow them to speak first to offer perspective on the situation."

By no means should we be under the misconception that every day will be easy and that we will constantly deal with reasonable individuals. Therefore, we have to be mindful of how we deal with difficult persons. McGill noted that we should, as best as possible, avoid disclosing personal information to these individuals. We should also avoid problematic people.

According to the psychologist, some difficult persons tend to be more emotional and see only their point of view; therefore, you should always start with a compliment when you are speaking with them, and never start with the word 'you'. While you are explaining your point, try to sound as non-accusatory as possible. Start with something positive that disarms the individual.

Having a healthy work relationship does not start when you enter your workspace. One has to have a healthy social life. Do not make your job your entire life. Have a hobby, go out with friends or do something else that you like.

Here are five tips that McGill suggested may help in creating a healthy work environment:

1  Work ethic: Be a good performer and you will feel secure and proud of yourself. Also, follow the guidelines of the organisation which will minimise the chance of conflicts.

2 Social supporter: Be a good social supporter to your colleagues. Be aware when they have challenges and assist when possible.

3 Workspace: Keep your workspace organised. This also sometimes speaks to how your mind works or how you are feeling. If it is chaotic, you might feel overwhelmed.

4 Dress how you would like to be addressed: People get an idea of who you are based on how you carry yourself.

5 Smile: Even on a difficult day, a smile does go a far way in making yourself and those around you feel better.

Note: McGill strongly recommends that everyone should read the poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann which speaks to how one should try to live.