Are you that person who flees the office every day at five o’clock on the dot, without making any eye contact on your way to the door?
If so, you may want to reconsider your end-of-day routine.
“The last 10 minutes of your workday have a strong influence on your next day at the office,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.”
“Too often, the sentiment is: ‘I just need to go!’ Or, ‘Planning can wait for morning when I’m refreshed,'” she says. “But by allocating a brief time for a routine that includes both strategy and corporate camaraderie, you’ll set the foundation for a successful tomorrow. You’ll mitigate the pressure for you and others when you return to your desk the next morning.”
Successful people make a point to always do two things before heading home for the night:
1. Review their calendar and to-do list for tomorrow.
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humour to Work,” says you need to do these two things in tandem so you have a clear sense of how tomorrow will unfold.
“There are three reasons this is critical,” he explains. “First, by getting everything down on paper you need to remember for tomorrow you clear your head, which helps ensure you can relax on your time off without thinking about work. The second reason is it helps you visualise the next day — to do a mental dress rehearsal of how the day is going to play out. And finally, it saves you time the following day — you are ready to dive right into work without having to take the time to plan.”
Taylor agrees, saying before you rush out the door from work, you should always take a moment to examine your next day’s events. “Successful professionals check their calendars for tomorrow’s meetings, for example. They prepare mentally and physically for optimal success. They look at these non-negotiable events, and then add in prioritised tasks.”
Checking your calendar for the following day also allows you to be “ahead of the curve prior to re-entering the office, as there are always unexpected interruptions and new tasks that emerge each morning.” If you’re proactive the evening before, you’ll reduce your anxiety and boost your effectiveness the next day, she adds.
2. Say goodbye to their team.
Take the time to say a proper goodbye to everyone on your team, Kerr says. “Not doing so can be seen as rude, and too often people just drift out of work without any contact.” This small gesture can help you feel more connected to your team and give you a sense of closure to the day.
“When a coworker or boss says ‘goodbye’ to the team, it’s more meaningful than most think,” Taylor says. “Successful professionals exude friendliness. They’re happy, confident people who know that the team will be uplifted if they help make the environment upbeat and humanistic. They also realise that last impressions linger into the next day.”
Without this courtesy, most employees, unfortunately, are left to feel distant or even concerned. “In the absence of friendliness, much can be misconstrued, because when things go awry silence is a common outcome,” Taylor says. “It’s hard for employees to discern between a lapse in courtesy and passive aggressive punishment. Saying ‘goodbye’ is a small effort that if done genuinely (not robotically), is critical to team-building, motivation, and productivity.”
Another benefit of this seemingly minor gesture: It garners respect — a coveted denominator among today’s business leaders. “By acknowledging your colleagues, you’re saying, ‘You matter!’ You’re extending a level of dignity, which becomes reciprocal,” she explains. No one needs to win a popularity contest to be successful, but without mutual respect, you have nothing.
“Saying ‘goodbye’ is a simple and easy way to boost everyone’s level of happiness and emotional state before going home,” Kerr says. “So make an effort to do it.”
From a practical standpoint, it also lets the team know you’ll be gone.
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