I had a friend who recently experienced some difficulty in her personal life. She was often struggling with ‘what should I do?’ but always got out of bed each day and put on a smile and her uniform and headed into work.
I wanted her to stop, and take the time she needed to work through the difficulties she was facing. But, I also appreciated that going to work was giving her some normality in her life.
I would check in with her every couple of days to see how she was doing. Through those conversations I was starting to imagine her workplace.
You see, she often told me that no-one at work was asking her how she was, like I was. No-one at work was asking her if she needed a hand, like I was. No-one at work was offering support, like I was. No-one at work seemed to even know that she was struggling, like I was.
Now you might be thinking ‘but that’s her choice to come to work and if she doesn’t tell anybody then no-one can help’ – I hear you. But, as I imagine her workplace, what I am really doing is painting a picture of her workplace culture.
Sometimes workplace culture is described as ‘what it feels like around here, it’s how we do things’. When I think about my friend, this description rings true. It feels like nobody is interested in my friend and it feels like nobody cares. The way they do things is to not take an interest in each other as human beings, to not check in and ask ‘how are you?’ or ‘are you okay?’.
I know I’m making some pretty big assumptions based on my friend’s experience. But this is just one person in one workplace and it makes me wonder how others feel and how other people are treated.
Is this an example of poor workplace culture? Poor is one way to describe it. So how could it be better?
For me, one of the basic elements of good workplace culture is that people care about each other. Not just as team members but as human beings. It’s so important that we show an interest in each other, talk to each other, and have each others back. If we can’t do the basics how can we expect to work with each other?
I know my friend would have benefitted from a workplace where people care, talk and support eachother.
It’s never too late to start caring. It’s never too late to start talking. And it’s never too late to start supporting eachother. Take your first step to a great workplace culture right now. Get proactive in asking people ‘how are you?’, ‘do you need any help?’, start being more observant ‘I noticed you seemed really stressed out with… earlier, can I help?’ etc.
We’d love to hear your success stories! If you’ve any challenges, fears or need advice, please reach out to the team!
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