September 6, 2011

Part 1: A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns

The GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck is coming to The Applied Companies, September 8 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Please stop by, purchase lunch and visit with our staff. Those yummy melts of warm comfort makes a body feel good, an obvious contrast to emotional workplace meltdowns that cause suffering, illness, and loss of joy and productivity. This week’s blog is the first part of a two part series:  A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Meltdowns:

The Computer Failure
  Served with a side of fresh deadlines, a nonresponsive server and fried nerves.

Employee:  Take a deep breath. Ask yourself “When I’m 92 will this moment matter?” A few minutes reflection stops the cycling emotions and exasperation when circumstances are working against you. Share challenges with your manager and I.T. personnel. If the problem is central to your computer, are other computers or laptops available in the office? Can you work from a home computer until the issue is resolved?

Manager:  Empathize. Let employees know to get done what they can and that you understand their frustration. Help them determine priorities. Approach other managers on the employee’s behalf if needed. Pinpoint computer problem areas; is it an isolated one or does the whole system need an overhaul or update? Investigate how to alleviate reoccurring problems.

An Intelligence Transfer  (Commonly referred to as “Upgrade!”)
 Flambé medley of grilled conversions and toasted websites with software over-hard.
 Additional add-ons extra.

Employee:  Stay calm. It is common to have a little anxiety, as your usual work production will slow when habits are interrupted by changes. Have confidence in your ability to learn. Approach what you know with assurance and gather what you don’t know. Make a list of questions and ask the right resources for the answers. Offer to take classes to learn new software or how to operate a new website. Take copious notes and refer to them often while you create a new routine.

Manager:  Lead by example; stay calm. Ensure training is offered in advance of any conversion, including guidance on how to deal with annoyed clients. Help your talent focus on “learning mode” not on panic mode. Make sure the workload is spread out. Operate as a team. Know your team - their strengths and weaknesses - in order to target assignments appropriately. Reassure them; while you want them up to speed quickly, you understand there may be delays.

Burst in Business Bonanza
  A full plate of seasonal production piled high and dished up open-faced.

Employee: Approach increased work demands or seasonal industry fluctuations with a “can do” attitude. Ask questions. Learn. Keep yourself informed. Participate in company discussions. When appropriate, offer solutions for balancing workloads. Be committed to being part of the company’s success. Manage stress and take care of your health.

Manager: Keep your team posted on approximate influx dates. Have a plan in place to staff up using resources applicable to your needs. Can you utilize family, friends, interns, temporaries? Look into cloud computing for occasional spikes in website traffic. Surprise the team with random fun activities and healthy snack and/or lunch breaks.

“May a GourMelt grilled cheese sandwich be the only meltdown you experience.”  TAC Authors   See you next week for Part 2!

Written by Tom Miller, Director, Staffing & Recruiting Solutions and Susan Fix, Community Liaison Partner. Tom has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience. Susan has 15 years staffing experience with a dash of social media.  

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