The importance of a challenging work environment is an often discussed topic among both team members and team managers. As said by Greg Forbes: “People have the potential to do more than they know and it is not until they enter the working world that many slowly begin to discover that.” Pushing boundaries of your comfort zone is beneficial for one’s development but without proper support system and mindset, one can find himself under intractable amount of stress. So what really is the challenging environment and how to protect ourselves from an early burn-out?
A challenging environment is defined as the fast-changing, dynamic and stimulating environment in which all of us work and live in today. In this environment, we are constantly pushed to step out of our comfort zones and be flexible, adaptable, and be continuously developing ourselves. This is extremely necessary in the fast-paced and highly uncertain business environment of today, where both employers and employees alike are required to adjust to new trends and react quickly in order to remain relevant and competitive. Employees are therefore able to develop in multiple skills and are given more opportunities to get new experiences in a challenging environment.In fact, “not being challenged” is the second most common reason for an employee to leave a position.
In contrast, as important as challenges for employees and opportunities to further develop may be, without proper support from one’s management and a positive mindset, a challenging environment may become too stressful and may lead to decrease of self-confidence, motivation and in the worst cases to burn-out. So, how do should we react in a challenging work environment to ensure that we get the best out of the experience?
- Ask for feedback
Be proactive in asking for feedback – this is the best way to learn! Feedback from our mentor or supervisor at work will turn our mistakes into a learning experience.While feedback might be hard to swallow initially, we can always make the best out of it by asking for advice from more experienced colleagues and prevent ourselves from doing the same mistake again.
- Engage in office activities
Coffee with a colleague, office lunch or a chat after working hours – these activities will not only help you to become part of the collective but also provide you with insight from many different people with different working styles. How do they keep their motivation and how do they relax to get prepared for another day? We often slip into thinking that we are the only ones having a hard time when we are under stress. However, we often forget that others might have gone through the same things that we have, and that they have many tips on hand for us to overcome our difficult situations. so why not to get valuable advices from people who are experiencing the same challenges?
- Constantly educate yourself
There is something new everyday – new information, new markets and new obstacles. To keep up with these fast changes, one need to constantly educate himself or herself. This way we can always supply our team with fresh ideas, now approaches and fresh perspectives. Add value to yourself, and value-add to the team.
- Take time for yourself
While career development is very important,one should never forget about actually living in the moment. Treat yourself for a dinner, go out with friends, make time for your hobbies. Keeping a life outside of your job will not only enable you to have an outlet for stress, supply you with happy hormones and energy but also will keep your mind positive whenever something is not going as planned.
Overall, work is a similar place for employees as school is for students – it is an institution where people are taught to learn, unlearn, and re-learn. Challenges at work are opportunities that allow us to prove that we are competent and capable of overcoming them. Through having a challenging yet supportive work environment, therein lies an opportunity to develop oneself and turn obstacles into opportunities.