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Linda Dulye

Corporate Culture: Step Out in the Workplace to Stomp Out 'LAHI'

Linda Dulye
Corporate Culture: Step Out in the Workplace to Stomp Out 'LAHI'

 LAHI is ravaging today’s workplace! What’s LAHI you ask? It’s the Lost Art of Human Interaction.

Fading fast from cubicle culture are casual or purpose-driven walks between co-workers to discuss a project or make lunch plans. Rather than strut down the hall, another floor or (yikes!) another building, workers increasingly opt to text or email.

Our desktop and mobile devices have made it easy to be both isolated and sedentary. Studies estimate that more than one quarter of an eight-hour workday is spent managing email correspondence at a desk.

That adds up to a hefty deficit in human interaction – and for those FitBit devotees, like me, a whole lot of lost steps to push your daily output past the golden 10k mark.

These five tips for stomping out LAHI can help you achieve better workplace relationships and more steps in your daily workplace routine:

  • Spend one hour daily meeting with team members away from your workspace. Without face-to-face collaboration to bounce ideas off of each other, creative thinking can be hard on your own. However, listening to a teammate come up with something could spark another idea of yours! Start this practice by scheduling three 20-minute workplace walks in your daily schedule. Call in advance to arrange a mutually convenient time for visiting your colleague – and explain your purpose for getting together. You can also use your coffee break as a way to catch up with a familiar face or, even better, someone new.
  • Put your technology down and step away. By always being connected, you’re more disconnected from reality. Set aside your phone for an hour – get it out of sight by storing it in your briefcase or a desk drawer. Put the screen down on your laptop for 30 minutes, and take a walk to the desk of a colleague who you’re collaborating with on a project.
  • Introduce yourself to new employees. Source names, titles and work locations of new team members and interns from your buddies in Human Resources. Make a point to introduce yourself in person to each newcomer within a few weeks of their arrival at your company. Offer to give them a tour of your department, where you can introduce them personally to your office crew.
  • Check out different bathrooms. That’s right. Don’t head to the closest loo down the hall. Take a few minutes to walk to a different floor or office wing. I’ve always found office bathrooms to be a great oasis for hearing the workplace buzz first-hand, and for making self-introductions to familiar faces whose names have escaped me.
  • Step out of your comfort zone. One of the best things that you can do to fight LAHI is to break free from the norm. Don’t normally volunteer for that annual 5k run that your company sponsors? Change now. Normally decline that invite to play pick up soccer with some co-workers? Try it out! Getting to know colleagues in a setting outside of the office can create better connections!

 Get ready to rev up your pedometer readings, as well as the reputation that you carve for being in the moment with people that can help you create success!

Linda Dulye is Founder and President of New York-based Dulye & Co. She is internationally recognized for using disciplined, measurable practices in effective communications and employee engagement to increase business performance at many of the world’s most admired companies.

Comments

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Sean Francis
Sean Francis
It seems like everyone is imagining a halcyon past where we were all more engaged with each other but that never existed. At best we wasted a lot of time walking around the office chasing down people we couldn't get on the phone.

I do agree we need more socialization time with our coworkers, but not more meetings, not more pointless small talk. The proliferation of open offices even makes having a private chit-chat impossible.

Lately, I've become a huge fan of Susan Cain (http://www.quietrev.com/) and her efforts to highlight the importance of creating an environment comfortable for introverts.

Talking to people we barely know in the bathroom, having meetings just to have meetings, and planning 30 minute chat sessions regarding projects that may or may not require such chat sessions seem like a form of punishment to an introvert.

I feel like the human interaction I have with my team over chat sessions is valid human interaction. I could be wrong.
Rob Wilson
A great topic for a Friday, Linda! Also one that does not get discussed enough I feel. Like most advertising companies, mine is appointed with by pop art on the walls, hipster stylized office furniture, kegs in the kitchen, big screens with game consoles in the break room, etc.

However, and I could be wrong here, but am I asking employees to enjoy their work environment or am I asking them to drink the Kool Aide? Moreover, if they are so overloaded with work that I can't depend on them during crunch time, how can we function as a business? I have difficulty at times managing the dichotomy that exists between my MBA brain and my more humanistic side. I find your tips quite helpful, and maybe having them "unplug" for awhile is a good option.
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