Why your workplace environment can have a direct impact on your productivity and 3 ways to improve the workplace environment at your salon.
“Ugh, I have to go back to work tomorrow” is an ideology we’ve all been forced to accept for years.
Work is not fun, and fun is not work - or so the story goes. To be completely honest with you, for a long time, I agreed with that.
I spent my very first job in and out of ‘appraisals’, signing forms to say that: yes I do know I have been off sick more times than allowed, and no I will not do it again… all before going home at lunchtime two weeks later for a date with some Radox muscle soak and a Domino’s delivery.
The reality is that I wasn’t lazy (although I spent a good few years contemplating this) but simply, I wasn’t excited by what I was doing.
Nowadays I’m way more likely to be up at 6am and I haven’t taken a sick day in over a year. I know I’m starting to sound like that annoying “look at me, isn’t my life just soooo together” archetype, but truthfully, I still love bubble baths, pizza and sparkling wine just as much - I just love my job more.
So here’s the twist… my last job role wasn’t any different from my current one in terms of what I do and in fact, I’ve always done the same thing.
That’s right- I’ve literally only ever had one ‘proper’ job role.
Given, I’ve taken Summer temp roles in everything from photo booth operating (??? - three words: what, why and again, WHY) to stock trading and sales, but my main ‘gig’ has always been beauty PR and marketing.
So what is it that makes what I do now, so much more enjoyable than my past?
The real difference comes with the other two ‘W’s’, I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know that it was where and who I did it with that would make this huge difference between my job feeling like it was a chore, and my job feeling like my ‘best life’. In fact, all it took was some significant changes to work environment to not only completely change my views towards employment, but my attitude and motivation towards getting sh*t done in general.
Hence this post! I have brain stormed and come up with what I think are some pretty simple ways to enhance your work environment in 2020, in the hope that all of us, whether it be personally or our employees or colleagues - can achieve a more positive work mindset this year.
We only get one life and if we spend approximately 3,507 days of our life at work I will damn well scream from the rooftops that we should enjoy doing so.
Okay, so my first lesson here is for employers and managers, and it’s one that takes me wayyy back to my first years of studying business. I don’t mean to sound patronising, just quite simply, it’s easy to forget about the bread and butter when you’re focusing on making that jam.
This is a theory which I take no credit for (it’s all designed by a guy named Douglas McGregor) but it resonates a lot with how I react to work and what motivates me. Of course, this changes dependent on the nature of the role and the employee but it’s pretty much set out as follows:
Theory X: A Theory X manager believes that staff are only motivated to work for the purpose of self-benefit ie: $$$ - meaning that once the manager, supervisor or employer turns their back, the subordinate staff member has no reason to continue work. This is OK if it works for you and if it truly applicable, but the reality is, if your employee is this untrustworthy, they’re probs in the wrong role.
Theory Y: A Theory Y manager is literally the opposite of Theory X. This doesn’t mean that they never check in on staff, but that they trust staff to actually seek more than a pay check from coming to work everyday. Theory Y managers seek to empower staff but the key message here is of course how.
Essentially Theory Y says that employees who are given more power, input and involvement in key decisions feel more responsibility and ownership in the business and therefore they want it to do well ‘just because’.
The employee will then be more likely to invest above and beyond into their work because they genuinely want the business to succeed.
This resonates with me a lot because I definitely respond better to Theory Y managers. For some reason, having people constantly checking in on me makes me do less work than when I’m trusted to get on with my tasks? I think I probably feel so much pressure as a result of being checked on that I don’t have as much energy to fully absorb into my role (or maybe, that’s just an excuse for I don’t like being told what to do! ) If you’re a manager or employer, try thinking of 3 ways you can delegate some authority to the staff in your salon this year… and hey, think on the plus side - you’ll have less work if you do!
Get to know your colleagues! Okay, I’m not saying you all have to be best friends and give speeches at each others weddings (although I will admit, this has definitely occurred at TGB HQ), but getting to know and like your colleagues is a really important aspect of any job.
Think back to Primary School, when pretty much every kid in elementary class would sharpen their pencils at the same time as their BFF because it was just SO fun. Well, work is the same. Even if you’re only sharpening pencils for 9 hours a day, it’s way more fun to do it when you’re with people whose company you enjoy or can benefit from.
There’s also an old saying that your work besties know more about you than your real besties, and whilst for many people that’s true, in my opinion it’s also completely necessary.
There is always going to come a time when you turn up for work at 9am after having a blazing row with hubby/wife/cat/mum/nan/brother/boo and can’t even begin to think about replying to Janet’s third email asking you about painting swatches.
You need to know that if said row happens, you have a work bestie you can vent too (and a packet of bourbons to share) so that by 9:15 you can wipe your snot on your sleeve and carry on with the day like the empowered, independent #boss you are.
At the TGB HQ, we do loads of things to help this. We have team outings at least once a month, we have girls nights and #ladsnights and we also have a huge and slightly chaotic group chat on Slack which is mostly used for sharing almost-never-work-related GIFS. But… it works, and knowing that I’m surrounded by amazing, driven and unique colleagues is the perfect kickass if I’m ever just ‘not in the mood’.
Let me be completely transparent with you, most of my work is done from home at my desk listening to concentration playlists on Spotify and drinking one too many brain boosting (yes, I am a sucker for ANY gimmick) matcha lattes.
This doesn’t mean that I also haven’t spent months working full time from the office, or that my views don’t reflect those of everyone here at HQ.
It also doesn’t mean that what I’m about to say can’t be applied in an office, salon, kitchen, bed… okay, okay you get the picture.
I am a huge believer that your physical environment has a HUGE impact on your workplace mojo. This means, creating a space which motivates you to work and allows your brain to have full clarity before you get started. For example, if you have papers all over your desk or reception area and find yourself frantically searching through crap every time you need an important document, your mind is not clear and cannot be used to its best ability. I know it’s super cliché but by tidying up and lighting a candle you’re not giving your brain any excuse to wonder and you can fully apply yourself to your role… and a job you do well is a job you are proud to have - it’s a positively spiralling circle. It’s also important to remember that when people visit your salon, relaxation is probably a huge part of that, so you want to create a space which is calming for both you and them! Keep the clutter out!
On that note let’s all try to be a little more work positive in 2020. I truly, truly believe that by making an effort to create a positive, healthy work environment - we can all enjoy Monday a little more, making sure our salons are places we all long to be in. After all, your job provides you the ability to live the rest of your ‘at-home’ life, sooo: this year let’s all try a little harder to ‘live it’ whenever we can!