CAREER DEVELOPMENT / DEC. 20, 2014
version 5, draft 5

5 Work-Related New Year’s Resolutions

new year's resolution
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It’s that time of year again: Christmas lunch, exchanging gifts, singing carols, Grandma’s knitted Christmas jumpers that you only wear so that you don’t hurt her feelings, and resolving to start exercising more for the fifth year in a row.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be that annual tradition where we resolve to do something only to “forget” it by the 2nd of January or completely ignore it altogether. They can easily be maintained with a little dedication and determination.

This year, why not make a work-related New Year’s resolution, and set goals for both self-improvement and career development at the same time?

1. Invest in Training

Training

Medicine keeps changing on a daily basis, and it is therefore essential that doctors keep up-to-date with the latest methods and findings. Although continuing career development in some professions might not be such a life-saving affair as that of a doctor’s, it can be beneficial, especially when climbing the corporate ladder.

Sign up for seminars and online courses that will help you develop your skills and knowledge. You don’t necessarily have to invest in any form of training or development that directly relates to your field. You could be, say, an IT engineer, but learning French will enable you to reach a wider client base.

2. Stop Gossiping

Gossip

Remember what your mother told you? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”?

Gossiping is probably the worst thing you can do at work: it damages your professional (and even personal) image and reputation, while it creates a toxic environment, damages office morale, eliminates teamwork, and may just ruin your chance of a promotion – or end your career – with the company.

However, there’s a thin line between gossiping and passing on information, and you should know the difference. If you’re aware of someone cutting corners, freeloading, scamming, or performing poorly, you really shouldn’t sit on that information. Express any concerns you might have to your supervisor immediately.

3. Start Socializing

Socialize

If you’ve been working at your current job for three years and you don’t know anybody’s names in your team, then it’s probably about time that you did. You don’t have to become best friends with them, but socializing increases productivity, encourages teamwork, makes your job more enjoyable, and that – according to this Tel Aviv University study – “the risk of mortality was significantly lower for those reporting high levels of peer social support”.

New employees are especially advised to socialize with their colleagues. A study conducted by Russell F. Korte, Human Resources Education professor at the University of Illinois found that “coworkers were the primary source of learning the social norms of the work group” at 65%, in comparison to only 15% from interacting with managers.

4. Stop Wasting Time

Businesswoman

Is it a quiet day at the office? Is your boss out for most of the day? Are you bored or feeling lazy? Is it towards the end of the day? Great! Time for Facebook!

Salary.com revealed that 23% of workers interviewed for its 2014 Wasting Time at Work survey used Facebook during working hours. It’s impossible to focus your concentration to your work for 8 hours straight, but using Facebook, or Twitter, Instagram, and every social media site in between, reduces productivity and disrupts your work schedule. It’s highly unprofessional, and repeat offenders are dismissed for wasting company time and resources.

5. Personalize Your Workspace

Office1

You spend at least 8 hours a day at the office, so why not make yourself at home?

It’s probably not a good idea to come in to work in your PJs, for obvious reasons, but decorating and organizing your workspace is highly beneficial both for you and your employer. Meredith Wells-Lepley, PhD, explains in her paper Workspace personalization: Clutter or meaningful personal displays? that personalizing your office or cubicle results in “higher levels of employee morale, better social climates and reduced turnover”. It provides a sense of home, and new employees an emotional bond with their new environment.

Personalizing your workspace also increases productivity, decreases emotional exhaustion and stress, and allows you to express your individuality. However, do make sure company policy allows workspace personalization before you start decorating your desk with framed pictures of Mr. Whiskers!

What are your work-related New Year’s resolutions for 2015? Drop us a line in the comments section below and let us know!

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