Life Lessons Series: Six of One Dozen of the Other- "I Want to Be in the Moment"
The first time I remember wanting to be in the moment was March 25th of 2007. The date is easy for me to remember. My sister had floor seats to Laker Games during the height of the Kobe Bryant era when the team won five titles. One of her customers had cancelled just a few hours before the game and she called to see if my husband and I wanted to go. Hell yes we wanted to go! The cost for a floor seat was $2,200 and that was 23 years ago. (I framed the ticket knowing it was a once in a lifetime event so I kind of cheated on knowing the exact date.) Kobe Bryant was the star of the Lakers at the time. There is a great picture of my husband sitting courtside cheering Kobe on. From start to finish it was an amazing experience. We each threw a basketball back from the sidelines to a Lakers player. We sat across the court from Jack Nicholson. At half time we went under the bleachers to the private club where Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Brittany Spears were all sipping drinks. I was so star-struck I forgot to order a drink!
What caught my attention throughout the game were two kids- I am guessing they were in their late teens. They spent the entire game looking at their cell phones, missing the entire game, Kobe, Jack, Jennifer, Brad and Brittany. I sat there dumb founded thinking they are so busy on their phones they completely missed the moment. I knew then I did not want to waste the special moments in my life.
Several years later for my sister’s 50th birthday, we took a river cruise in Europe. I had my second experience wanting to be in the moment. This time, we were surrounded by other tourists all trying to take the perfect selfie. Everywhere I looked people were so busy looking at their phones and view finders they completed missed the moment. I remember standing on Castle Hill in Hungary watching people. Instead of taking pictures, I stood blinking my eyes absorbing everything around me to make and save the memories. My sister and husband saw me and laughed, my mom quickly joined me. (In fairness my mom was never one for pictures…there are very few from our childhood which I have decided is not so bad growing up in the 70’s with the awful fashions and hair styles!) I can still remember every detail of Castle Hill as if I had been there earlier today.
I continue to work hard every day to be in the moment. Over the past several years as my mom’s health declined, I went over 5 nights a week and cooked dinner. Together we celebrated the day. I left my cell phone in the car. No one was more important than my mom. It was our time. This past weekend I was with my husband for a weekend away I did the same thing, this time leaving my phone in my backpack. He saw this and asked me why and I said, because I want to be in the moment. The rest can wait. Nothing is more important than the moments we share together. In our 28 years together I have always worked. The companies I work for own my time when I am on the clock. When I am not working, I want to celebrate the days. I want to work just as hard to enjoy my time with friends and family. I don’t want to be constantly looking at my phone to see who might have called, texted or emailed me. When the day ends, I want to be in the moment.
I am of the opinion that we are at an all-time low in Corporate America with Employee morale. It is its own pandemic. No one is living in the moment. Employees today are more stressed and pessimistic than productive and upbeat. Now is the time to evaluate ways to improve morale. Now is the time to find ways to live in the moment at work.
What is in the Company’s Culture?
A company’s culture is driven by how each Employee feels about their job. It cannot be bought, made up or poured into the company water cooler. Some factors that contribute to the culture include compensation, workload, job responsibilities, communication, benefits, management and recognition. Listening to Employees to know, understand and find solutions to their workplace challenges and frustrations speaks volumes to them. Improving the culture and morale is a continuous process. It must be frequent and sincere to create a happy and healthy culture.
Promoting a healthy workplace culture can be ruined if the Employees have a negative attitude towards their jobs or their working environment. Employees’ attitudes at work play a major role in their interactions with colleagues, customers, productivity and their overall happiness in their role. Working in an environment with low Employee morale is directly linked to job dissatisfaction and ultimately, higher turnover rates. What are the most common causes of low Employee morale?
Lack of growth opportunities
Unhealthy work-life balance
Bolstering Employee morale is beneficial to a company as a whole:
Leads to increased workplace productivity, efficiency, and quality of work.
Keeps a company afloat during hard times. As opposed to a demotivated workforce, Employees will likely make every effort to help you succeed if morale is high.
Helps attract and retain top talent. Positive work environments and happy Employees can be your greatest hiring asset. You can even involve Employees in your hiring process.
Helps reduce business costs. High Employee morale reduces absences, workplace stress, and accidents, resulting in less paid time off.
Suggestions for Improving Employee Morale
Here are my top three suggestions for improving Employee Morale. I have a dozen more. Email me at Tish@TishDBush.com if you are interested!
Celebrate Atypical Employee Milestones: Milestones are monumental moments and dates of your choosing. Go beyond the customary work anniversaries and birthdays. Try thinking outside the box and celebrate hitting revenue or order targets, expense savings, a baby announcement, a wedding, a retirement, first day at work, closing a tough deal, certifications and or excellent customer reviews. And when you celebrate don’t just post something to a company intranet site. Instead try a virtual spending card, a handwritten note, throw a team party, create achievement timelines, gift a day off, send an employe care and appreciate box, send customized swag, create a personal trophy, plan a happy hour with a themed drink, donate to a charity of choice, take something off the Employee’s plate, make a customized bobblehead, throw a puppy party. Go big. Live in the moment!
Build a Reward and Recognition Program into the Company Culture: Creating a culture of recognition is very different from simply recognizing Employees. The culture is a living, breathing force in the work environment that dictates the overall attitude of the company. Employee recognition is no longer just a top-down concept. Allowing everyone the opportunity to express gratitude to their coworkers drives that cultural effect and improves morale across the board. Continue thinking outside the box to take recognition programs to the next level. Ideas to consider include sending a spot bonus, buying lunch, getting something for the Employee workspace, celebrate a victory, give Employee nick names, show Employees a good time (office scavenger hunt, murder mystery party, karaoke, rock-paper-scissors, weekly trivia, guess the co-worker baby photo). Find ways to live in the moment with your Employees and do it often.
Institute Summer Fridays: Reward Employees with a few extra hours each of personal time on Fridays during the summer months to support Employee mental health and encourage a healthier work-life balance. With careful scheduling and management support, most companies can easily accomplish this offering to Employees. Allow Employees to assist with the scheduling for maximum outcome. As a boost, consider having the rewarded Employees upon their return share how they were able to live in the moment!
Put forth the effort every day to be present in your life. Work hard to live in the moment. Force yourself to slow down and smell the roses. Understand the causes for low Employee morale: ineffective communication, lack of growth opportunities, internal changes, poor leadership, insufficient recognition, unhealthy work-life balance. Look at your company critically to see if these factors are present. If they are, put forth concerted effort to correct them. Your company will reap the benefits of increased workplace productivity, efficiency, and quality of work. Companies with high Employee morale, will keep the company afloat during hard times. It will help attract and retain top talent. High Employee morale will help reduce business costs (reduced attrition, fewer absences, less workplace stress, and accidents, resulting in less paid time off). This blog is writing itself both personally and professionally on why a life well lived is a life living in the moment!
What is Your Life Lesson…
Does your company celebrate milestones other than birthdays and work anniversaries?
Does your company have a formalized reward and recognition program?
Do you live in the moment?