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5 Strategies To Improve Your Work Environment

The key to better work-life balance is a healthy and engaging workplace and positive relationships with your colleagues. While you can't control everything, you can use these strategies to help boost your happiness and productivity at work.

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1. Take charge of your workspace.

Whether you have a corner office or a cubicle, small changes to your work station can have a big impact. Keep things clean, organized and tidy; add a low maintenance plant; and incorporate personal touches like a photo of your most recent vacation (as long as it's a photo that is appropriate to the workplace).

2. Learn to mitigate conflicts.

Although disputes in the workplace are normal and natural, if not managed they can lead to absenteeism, lost productivity and mental health issues. “While you can't always avoid conflicts, it's helpful to use prevention and mitigation strategies,” explains Dr. Barbara Benoliel, a conflict resolution expert and faculty member at Walden University's Barbara Solomon School of Social Work and Human Services. “Pick your battles and resolve small conflicts early, and don't engage in conflict for the sake of conflict.”

3. Embrace change.

One constant in modern workplaces is change — in products and services, staff, technology, and company policies. If change makes you anxious, the first step to coping is recognizing that it will happen. Things that can help include a positive attitude, developing your skills and self-confidence, and staying focused on your long-term goals.

4. Handle interruptions better.

Most of us get interrupted many times a day. Coming up with a strategy to deal with these interruptions can help lower stress. Try a well-practiced line about needing to get back to it for your chatty coworker, or blocking off an hour to answer a never-ending stream of emails and ignoring them the rest of the time.

5. Understand your conflict management style.

Go beyond general resolution tactics by learning about the five major conflict management styles: collaborating, competing, avoiding, accommodating and compromising. Dr. Benoliel advises, “You can get the best results for both minor and major disagreements by choosing the right approach to each situation. Consider two factors to help you decide — the importance of the relationship to the other party and the importance of the outcome for your peace of mind.”

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