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June Office Blues

And now the fun begins.

No matter where you are in the US, summer is slowly starting. In my region an unseasonably rainy May kept us at bay, the swimming pools not used, basketball courts empty and only the most intrepid runners facing Spring showers. But the sun has returned and the air is full of the sounds of the season.

At the office too we notice the forlorn looks of those waiting to get away in a few weeks time, the empty cubicles of those already gone and the grey mood of those who forgot to make plans – or save enough – t0 get away. Summertime is for dreaming.

Much has been made over the years about workplace flexibility and results-only workplaces, both valuable and important in my view as well as others, yet, there is a whole economy focused on “on-time” work that these tools are not available to. Restaurants, retail, even the hotels and hot spots many will travel to this season are staffed by those who need to be there when you are: not when they want. How to make these types of roles more enjoyable as the sun warms the season?

Try these simple yet tested management techniques to ensure your team shows up tomorrow and the next day having – and providing – fun to customers and coworkers alike.

  • Lighten Up. There’s a reason so many people fly SouthWest Airlines (SW): they’e fun. In an industry hammered by so many macro factors and time demands its hard to make a dime SW does it quarter after quarter. A big reason for that – along with an absolutely clear vision – is that most of their people like coming to work. In short, enjoy the people you work with. As my buddy Dave Powers used to say, you gotta like the people you work with. Make that start with you. Take your work seriously but not yourself.
  • Create Respect. People like to say you have to earn respect. I think a better way to say that – and perform – is that you have to keep respect. Instead of doling it out on a case by case basis while relationships starve for air along the way try acting a little more like Mother Teresa (I said a little – that’s a big step): respect everyone jest because they’re there. Starting with respect for others produces a remarkable environment: others begin showing their respect as well. And a healthy workplace full of debate and dialog runs far more powered by respect than by restraint. Believe in others. Its catching.
  • Buy into the Mission. Whether its selling cars, changing sheets in the local hotel or practicing law, buy into what you’re doing. Too many of us mail it in, treading water in the sea of work as we wait for “something better to come along.” You is the better folks. You can make your work compelling, challenging and rewarding. Or you can mail it in. I’ve been guilty of both, and have learned that the person who pays the most for not giving it my all is me. So put aside objections and excuses and get into your work: you are being paid for something. Be the best you can be on every day and learn how rewarding it can be to be all in, all the time.

Too good to be true? Not really. Belief in the mission, creating respect and enjoying others is a sure fire recipe for creating a vibrant and rewarding workplace. So while you may long to hike the mountains, visit the beach for the week or go traveling the coast in the meantime create some joy at work.

You can enjoy yourself no matter the season.

PS: remember your sunscreen.

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