Change is evident. Where do you stand?

Change is taking place in workplaces all the time. The pressure to change is tangible in almost every sector of the economy. At the same time, the decisionmakers and people in charge of workplace development face ongoing resistance towards it.

They need to ensure personnel are motivated and committed to the new development, despite the development budget being disproportionately small. Better results are expected to be achieved with fewer resources and the fear of burn-out is everywhere.

It is good news that many companies take investments in well-being and ergonomics seriously, but all too often more extensive changes in strategies or premises are made in a rush and without exploring overall well-being at the workplace. Instead of people, the focus is on premises, furniture and physical solutions, which are often secondary elements. Individual needs and internal processes are not taken into account, nor are the human factors that are the actual prerequisites for people to cope at work.

Companies are, however, paying more attention to these human elements, which leads them to the individual-level challenges as it is impossible to please everyone. There are always a few holdouts who feel that they have been treated unfairly. Things are still not done right.

Attitude is everything

Unfortunately, the importance of individuals’ attitudes is very seldom discussed. At the end of the day, it is the employees’ attitudes that affect their well-being the most if the basics are in order. By changing their attitudes to be more positive, employees can see huge differences even if the workplace is not perfect. If there are any intolerable issues such as bullying, harassment or inhumane conditions, these must be made known of course.

I believe that the real success stories are those companies where employees work towards shared goals and have the courage to discuss even the more difficult topics. All employees, regardless of their job, are proud of the company they represent and do their fair share so that no one else needs to bear the burden.

Meaningful relationships at work are like partnerships in which both parties give and receive and respect each other. I’m sure that everyone has gone through moments when they felt relieved after having had the courage to speak up. It feels good to break the ice. This applies everywhere, workplaces included; openness brings more openness and it is surprising how often people can resolve problems by themselves.

Take a look in the mirror

Next time you are really annoyed and feel like you are being treated unfairly, I suggest you have an honest conversation with yourself. Is there more than one side to the matter? Was your behavior entirely blameless, giving you the right to sulk? Is there anything that you could do to improve your behavior? I bet you’ll be surprised. It is very seldom the case that there is only one cook spoiling the broth.

Ask yourself these questions

I challenge you to think: Have I done anything to promote a good work environment lately? Have I been honest and open about my hopes, fears and ideas? Am I open to new things even if they make me nervous? Do I join in negative talk easily – so easily that it annoys even myself later? Self-protection is a primitive and vital feature but I recommend that you leave the door ajar at work. Even just a little. You may see that light enters the room from many directions.

Positive changes in our environment are often the result of changes in our own attitudes and views. The process is especially beneficial to ourselves. And don’t worry: upstanding and constructive people will be noticed. It is also very unlikely that anyone will take advantage of your openness. Should this happen, be brave and find new solutions and other alternatives.

Change is mainly a positive thing

Change is often positive – or at least the desire to change is. Change processes are usually huge investments for companies, and as an ex-entrepreneur, I admire the steps and risks that companies take. Having been part of change projects in dozens of companies, I have come to the conclusion that entrepreneurs and companies as employers are vital. I really value entrepreneurs, and I try to stay positive even if it’s not always easy.

We should all remember that attitudes are quite often contagious, both at work and in other areas of life. No one else but ourselves can make us happy or deny us happiness. You and me, no one else.

Tiia Rauhamäki

Tiia Rauhamäki works for Technopolis as a Concept Manager and Workplace Transformation Specialist. Tiia’s special interests include human beings, workspace functionality and wellbeing at work.