Sometimes, a change of view is exactly what you need to give you a fresh perspective on things at work.
The other day, after a long, meeting-laden afternoon, I deliberately took a few moments to go through my neglected inbox, piled too high with I’ll-get-to-that-later mail like magazines and fliers. Sorting through them, I found something I needed to review for a team member, so I sat down in the chair opposite my desk to read it.
A few moments later, I looked up, and noticed what a different view I had of things from this side of my desk. Looking out the window, I felt refreshed by the new view of things. And it got me thinking about perspective and the workplace.
We often say, “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” But more than a saying, what a rich metaphor that is. Because for whatever reason, the act of physically going to a space you don’t normally occupy forces you to consider what you experience there.
Because place has a powerful impact on people – especially at work.
So, here are three places to visit in your workplace to help you gain a fresh perspective on things at work, literally and figuratively.
1 – The Other Side of Your Desk
It may sound silly, but actually take some time to sit on the visitor’s side of your desk, and consider the view. Think about the meetings that take place in this space, and how people who often sit in that very spot experience work in this place. You might think about literal things, like the height of your chair and whether you are sitting too tall or too short for the image you want to present. Or, if your office gives the impression you want it to from that vantage point. You might think of figurative things, like how your employees might feel in different situations they’ve experienced there, both good and bad. Either way, taking time to consider how people feel when they’re on your turf is a great way to get new perspective on people, issues, and situations.
2 – The Head of the Boardroom Table
During a recent staff meeting, I happened to grab the seat at the foot of the boardroom table, and it made me consider those who sit at the head of that table making critical decisions on our company’s behalf. Sure, we were just in our department’s staff meeting, but in this same place, high-level decisions happen that shape the future of our organization. In the midst of the day-to-day activities of management, how often do you stop to consider those who are responsible for the whole of the company? Take some time to think about the pressures they are under and the stakes they face each day, from their perspective.
3 – The Cubicle or Cash Register
It may have been many years since you’ve occupied a place in the cubicle, or maybe it’s just been months. Or, maybe you worked your way up from cashier to manager, vice president, or CEO. Either way, take some time to get out of your space and step into the work environment of your employees. If there’s an empty seat, consider asking your team if you could work there for a few hours on things you don’t need your computer for. Or, go back to the cash register for a shift like one of the employers on Undercover Boss.
Being in the midst of the hustle-and-bustle of work can help you be mindful of the pressures your team faces every day – like tight deadlines, customer service issues, higher noise levels, workplace conflict, and more frequent co-worker interaction. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the value of things like being able to shut the door to your office. And, getting back to the workplace can also help you uncover new ideas for products, processes, or services you would never have considered before. So, take some time to reacquaint yourself with your team’s work environment, and enjoy the perspective change.
With the pressures of today’s busy work environment, it’s easy to walk in each morning, sit down at your desk, and forget about the workplace around you. Taking a little time to physically and figuratively visit other places at work and think about everything that goes on there is a great way to give you a new view of the daily grind.
And, you never know. It may also be the boost of inspiration you need for your next big, innovative idea.
Are there other places you like to go to at work to get a change of scenery? Have you ever gone back to the cash register or the entry-level workspace to experience a day in the life of your employees? Share your comments and stories in the comments section!