Strategy Break: Let’s Bring Back Lunch and Other Retro Workplace Traditions

workplace 1960sThe workplace has evolved at such a break neck pace — that we often struggle to comply. So many things have transformed. Social media has revolutionized the tenor of communication and we have all jumped on the mobile carousel. However, 21st century developments, do not necessarily demand that we abandon every example of the “old” ways of doing business. Sometimes, tried and true traditions still hold quite a bit of workplace punch.

In that vein, here are a few methods to enhance your work life with a bit of “retro” flair.

  • Do lunch (and not at your desk). I love social media, Skype and a great Google hangout — but there is nothing like having a conversation with a colleague or friend over a bite to eat, at your favorite lunch time joint. Try this once a week and see what develops.
  • Hold an “unplugged” meeting. You may not remember what meetings were like before the ever-present distraction of devices, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a whirl. At your next meeting turn all phones, computers and tablets off  — then place them in the center of the table for the duration of the meeting. I dare you. Really.
  • Say “thank you”.  Showing gratitude — now there is a topic that never goes out of style. Has someone gone above and beyond as a contributor? Gone out of their way to make your work life easier? Send them a hand written note. (Yes, these still exist.)
  • Start early or stay late. I don’t know about you, but working when there is no one else around can be a liberating experience. No calls or interruptions — simply dedicated time to think deeply. Everything knocking around within your mind has a chance to ferment and just “be”.
  • Celebrate a success. I don’t mean landing on the moon – I mean “We completed that Goliath of a proposal” or “We dealt with that important client or customer problem effectively”. Buy a cake – bring in coffee drinks. Any small gesture to mark the occasion.
  • Engrave something. We may not stay at a single organization for 30 years – but many of us do achieve a healthy level of tenure. A gold watch might not be feasible, but marking the occasion of a 1, 5 or 10 year anniversary deserves more than a moment of recognition. If you are a freelancer, mark your relationships with organizations in the same manner.

Taking a cue from the past is not always the wrong way to run a business. What “retro” practices would you like to see make a comeback?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. She also writes for Linkedin and US News & World Report.

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3 comments

  1. This is the better practice in every organization as well through it will have organizational development with in the employees by bringing back the:” RETRO” practices for their benefit

  2. I particularly like the ‘say thank you’ and ‘celebrate’ bits. As an ex-teacher, I’ve found that praise is *the* most powerful weapon in terms of increasing desired behaviours and decreasing undesirable ones.

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