work safe and talkTalking, sometimes it can be great (but not when you are trying to watch that T.V show or movie right?). We spend the first few years of our lives learning to master our native language, then as Adults we forget the art of conversation and how helpful good communication can be in expressing our needs to look after our own wellbeing.

At work it is often difficult to say how you really feel about situations or people that you are asked to deal with. The quality of the working relationships with your colleagues, the management team, or even your clients and customers could make a real difference to how well you perform or enjoy your job.

A few questions on communication in your own workplace:

  • How do you tell someone if you are having difficulty coping with your workload, or changes being made in the business,
  • How do you communicate that personal issues may be affecting your ability to perform at work?
  • How do you contribute your own opinions and observations on the business performance or that of members of your team?

Opening for Improvement

When it comes to the wellbeing and safety of employees and customers, a culture of openness and the ability to respectfully share concerns and opinions is crucial to enabling continuous improvement, and it can also have the bonus effect of increasing engagement and productivity in the workforce.

Bottling things up, or complaining and not taking positive action to change things, can result in both physical and mental health problems, and can also reduce productivity as employees become disengaged if they aren’t given the right support.

Absence makes the heart less fonder….

The worst outcome for any business is where not dealing with issues of concern leads to staff taking sickness absence or leaving their job, as this loses income for them and has a knock-on effect on their colleagues and the company with increased recruitment and training costs.

Many studies have shown the beneficial effects of good communication and working conditions on health. If employees are unfortunate enough to have to take sickness absence, having the option of a well-managed and supported return to work can often speed up recovery, making sound economic and social sense for all.

Get the Conversation Started

Here at work we can help you get the conversation started, with innovative ways to get your people talking and support each other, to build an inclusive, listening culture that deals with concerns before they escalate into conflict and impact on your business.

We can also introduce mindful ways to start those difficult conversations, with a range of trainng activities on mental health, dignity and respect issues, and stress management.

Here are three top tips to try in your own workplace, and see where the conversation goes……..

1: Ditch the email: Get out and talk instead

How often have you exchanged emails with someone in the same room or building as you at work? Double the bonus by ticking the exercise box too, and if there are stairs involved you are on a roll!

2: Get your thinking caps on: Try some lateral thinking

The renowned creative thinker and author Edward de Bono, devised the ‘six hats’ method of enhancing discussion and creating conversations which has been used globally in business and many other arenas. Everyone taking part in a discussion tries approaching the issue with the same ‘hat’ to explore it from six different angles, thinking in parallel as opposed to traditional arguments where they may take opposing views or try to demonstrate who has more knowledge on the subject. Try it, it may just make those management meetings more bearable (wearing of hats is not obligatory but may add some interest!)

3. Say ‘Hello’ to someone new: Make it your business to get to know a different person at work each week.

By simply saying ‘hello’ to colleagues, or sitting in a different spot for lunch or at meetings may open you up to new connections that could change the way you work. Even better, try setting up a ‘Hello’ book at work, and if you have staff or customers from different nations, get them to write a greeting in their native tongue so you can learn how to say ‘Hello’ in many languages.

Communicate with us!

We are always on the lookout for best practice examples of workplace wellbeing, so if you have come up with a successful way to get the conversation started in your business, let us know by submitting a comment below, we look forward to hearing from you.