We’re in the countdown to Christmas. The advent calendars are being opened, and and we’ve got four reflective blogs for you, using four words associated with this season, but applying them to the workplace. We hope they’re an encouragement to you, and give you something to ponder. Enjoy…

In this second part, we look at peace.

Peace can be described as a ‘freedom from disturbance; tranquillity’. I’m not sure that in today’s society ‘tranquillity’ would often be used to describe the workplace! We’re now working longer hours, for longer in life than ever before. The pace is ever increasing, and it’s hard to keep up.

Sometimes it’s helpful to think of the opposite, so what does a lack of peace look like? It can look like conflict, unrest, envy, high demands and feeling unappreciated. That doesn’t sound like a healthy workplace to me.
I read somewhere recently that the word peace is associated with the word ‘shalom’ which means a wholeness, or a completeness. This notion of being whole or complete is something to ponder on, both individually and collectively.

Are you feeling personally shalom (whole/complete)? This could be regarding your mental health, your capacity within your work or personal life, and how you’re doing. Check in with yourself. Is your team shalom (whole/ complete)? This is more than just the absence of conflict, but of the complete restoration where there has been difficulty, and using humility and patience with one another. These things are perhaps even more important as we all work remotely.

How can we take action to make our work a space for peace?

Peace can be in the planning. Peace can be the quiet before the madness of the day begins, taking time to have a drink and something to eat, or calmly writing a list of priorities. Peace can also be forgiving yourself if you don’t finish an unachievable list. Peace is about being on good terms with others, so peace may be helped by good communication, by simple things like speaking calmly, and not speaking in a loud voice. Talking about communication, affirmation definitely has a place. Supporting and encouraging colleagues in things they do can be hugely helpful to them, using positive words and being polite and kind can all help towards peace. Also, admitting and accepting our mistakes gracefully and forgiving others of their mistakes allows space for peace.

Community-mindedness, a recognition of the ‘us’ rather than ‘me’ and cooperating in group tasks, being friendly and considerate of others also makes a path to peace. As we listen to others in a way so as to understand and not to respond, we give them the gift of feeling heard, and we offer them a space of peace.

Peace can include the importance of greeting the people you work with. Back when we were in the office, I distinctly remember one colleague’s arrival at work each day. It would involve a gentle ‘good morning everyone’ and the biggest smile. Being that I can remember it, it shows how much of a difference it made, but in this especially fast-paced world, it can make such a difference to actively greet colleagues.

An attitude of gratitude, and being thankful for what we have rather than always striving for more can be a help towards peace. As can breathing calmly, and other mindfulness techniques.

‘I thought 2020 would be the year I’d get everything I want. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have…’

Finally, your approach to work can affect your peace. Having a good work/life balance can make space for peace, as can remembering that your breaks matter, and trying to use them to get outdoors into nature. When you’re in work, an approach of single-tasking and focussing on one thing at a time can bring peace.

I hope you’re able to find a moment of peace this week, and I hope you’re able to bring peace to someone else, too.

If you have any more ideas for others, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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