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Detox your bad work habits

Richard Morris
9-5

Typically, resolutions at this time of year focus on diet and health. But what about making some changes that positively impact your working life? After all, many of us spend the majority of our time at work, and even small changes to the daily routine can have a truly beneficial effect on your general wellbeing. Contributor Richard Morris, UK CEO – Regus.

Here are three easy ways of eliminating bad work habits and re-energising the new working year. Listen to your body clock, the thought of beginning another year and undergoing the same work routines can take the spark away from even the most optimistic performers. So, look to change things up. This needn’t mean a radical rethink of your working day – just a little variety to keep things interesting and keep you on your toes, performing at your best.

Consider when you are at your liveliest and your most creative. Many businesses are taking the science of circadian rhythms – our natural body clock – seriously, even to the extent of allocating snooze zones in offices. This may be a stretch too far for most employers, but aligning work tasks according to your typical energy levels makes good sense. Are you a lark – starting each day with a spring in your step? Then use the morning for your most demanding work, leaving administrative tasks until after lunch. Or perhaps you’re an owl, getting more alert as the day progresses? Leave the thinking work till later. Switch routines, work with your body clock and feel the benefit.

Reclaim lost time
Routine is also a word that describes the daily commute for many. Getting up at the same time, to catch the same train, to be at the same desk at the same hour. Not only is such behaviour monotonous, it impacts severely on productivity. Even if trains are on time, or the roads aren’t jammed, the stress of the commute can often leave you tired and below par.

Businesses of every size are recognising the benefits of a more flexible approach to the working day. This model allows professionals to use workspaces nearer to home so that they can cut the commute and be more productive. On average, UK commuters are traveling for around eight hours per week – the equivalent of an entire working day. Eliminating this travel time not only extends hours of productivity but also enables employees to better manage the work/life balance – the overall benefit of health and wellbeing. Happier, healthier, more productive – what better way to beat the January blues?

Finesse the face-to-face
How long does a typical meeting last – one hour? Two? Not if the meeting is off-site. Often, entire days can be taken up for just one meeting – hardly a productive way of operating.

Certainly, face-to-face time remains essential. But it doesn’t have to be the only option for every meeting. Hours can be saved – and the same results achieved – by conducting meetings over Skype or other messaging forums.

When it is time for face-to-face, be planned. Set an agenda early, stick to it and aim to come away with clear objectives. Also, consider the location. Do you need to travel to your counterpart’s office? Or is there a convenient, professional location that is equidistant and equally conducive to getting results?

With a little thought and planning, tired routines can be replaced by fresh approaches. Changing things up in this way can help to keep you energised, enthused and productive and can result in new ways of working that will last well beyond the end of January.