Monday, 9 July 2012

Breaking bad habits

This may prove a little controversial, but it's cluttering up the Tiger mind palace* and so needs to be thrown out there.

I've recently helped to recruit and induct two new employees to a business that does things rather informally and in a fairly relaxed way; the office staff work hard. They do great work. They just don't take breaks, preferring to eat at their desks and drink tea throughout the day. It works for them. They've established a way of doing things and they're happy. Mostly.

What I'm not so sure about is how I broach the topic of this being Not Really A Good Thing. I feel that this is a bad habit that needs to be very visibly and clearly broken for the new guys. I don't like it: I feel a lack of getting out in the air or a break from a screen is terribly bad for a soul. I believe that it exacerates stress and that it can lead to health problems. 

And yet, and yet... I do it too. I work in this office for at least half my working week. I'm one of the worst culprits. So now do you see why I am struggling with how to raise it?

It's led me to think about whether a lack of practicing what we promote means we are hypocrites. Are we doing the worst thing in asking that others behave in a way that we ourselves have chosen not to adopt? Would they be entirely justified in telling us where to take our recommendations?

Or is it that we have made our own choices, but want others to know that it's ok for them to make a different one?

I guess it's all in how it's communicated; recognising that you may do things one way, but giving them the option to do it a different/better way is a great opportunity to invite new thinking and change. 

But lor, being so close to the fire on this one has been tricky.

I found myself ticking one of the new guys off earlier and sounding like a parent 'tut-tutting' at a wayward kid when I asked if he planned on taking a break from the screen and he replied non-committally 'Yes... maybe... soon...'I walked away, irritated that despite my good intentions, I had come across like a disapproving schoolmarm.

Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas or tips on how to tackle this?

*Thank you, Benedict Cumberbatch.


  1. There are a number of ways of doing this nicely and kindly without having to raise it as an issue as such.

    "I'm just going to go out and grab a bite to eat, you fancy coming along?"

    "It's turned into a surprisingly nice day, I'm going to get a frapuccino, who wants one?"


  2. Thanks- it is all in the communication isn't it? I need to stop fretting and let it flow..!