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Achieving Civility in Today's Workplace

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Achieving Civility In Today’s Workplace

A modern work place is a hive of activity with employees often working under a great deal of pressure. Therefore it’s hardly surprising that tempers can often get frayed yet, whilst that might be understandable in certain instances, it should never be thought of as acceptable behaviour. A busy workplace is never going to be a domain where everything is going to go smoothly all of the time and people are not going to be laughing and joking with each other constantly. Nevertheless, with a little thought and consideration by each and every one of us, it is possible to create a civil environment which, after all, most of us would prefer rather than the back-biting and moaning we’re often subjected to when we go to work each day.

Reasons for a Lack of Civility

There can be numerous reasons connected to a lack of civility in the workplace. Long hours, unmanageable deadlines, added responsibilities placed upon us and longer and more stressful commutes to and from work are just some of the reasons we can get uptight at work. And, whilst there would not seem to be too many answers to these kinds of issues in the modern day working environment we find ourselves in these days, what we do have is the power to change our attitudes to the situation.

Examples might be to give people more flexibility in the workplace. This might include staggering starting and finishing times so that commutes are made easier. Perhaps part of your work could be done from home, one or two days a week? Or maybe you could offer some kind of incentive for working over and above your stipulated hours? For example, staying behind for an evening each week for a month might be rewarded by your company paying for a night out for you and your wife one weekend or giving you a half day off on a Friday occasionally. Even between colleagues themselves, simply saying ‘Thank You’ or “I really appreciate you doing that for me” can go a long way to easing tensions at work. Remember, it’s quite hard to be nasty to somebody if they’re being nice to you.

Why a Civil Workplace is Important

If people are not civil to each other in the workplace, over time, not only will this have a detrimental effect on performance, it will also lead to other damaging results such as increased workplace absenteeism due to illnesses such as stress, depression, anxiety and other physical ailments too. Staff retention will be harder to maintain and the whole workplace will suffer a decline in morale. All in all, the workplace will not be a happy place to go to each day which will only lead to resentment.

How We Can All Make a Difference

To achieve civility in the workplace, it relies upon the efforts of each and every one of us to make a difference from the boardroom all the way down to the shop floor. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Communicate in a courteous and respectful manner at all times and also respect rules, regulations, policies and other people.
  • Be mindful of your manners and treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.
  • Recognise when you have been helped out by giving thanks or praise to somebody and look for ways you can help others out.
  • Listen to your colleagues whatever their position in the company and that goes for the boss too. Bosses should set the example of civility and also be prepared to consider suggestions from the workforce which could make the workplace become a better environment to be in each day.

    If each of us just thought a little bit more carefully about how we might make the workplace a happier place to be, you’d be quite surprised how staff morale would soon increase dramatically as a result.

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