WHETHER you regard yourself as a Stoic or not, the office can be a source of stress and distraction. A busy, open-plan office with an eclectic mix of personalities and working styles represents a challenge for both employees and employers. It makes sense, therefore, that Stoicism has an important role to play in the office environment.
Stoicism in the office
Practising Stoicism undoubtedly has benefits to your concentration and stress levels, as well as your ability to be productive at work. Your continued practice will help you overcome distractions and the less-than-Stoic approach to life of your co-workers.
However, whether you'd benefit from your colleagues being that little more grounded, or if you're a business owner trying to keep your employees stress-free and productive, creating a more stoic office culture could reap huge rewards. But how does one go about introducing Stoicism in the office?
Introducing Stoicism to the office
The biggest challenge in introducing Stoicism to your office staff or co-workers is that you may find yourself condescending them. Stoicism, after all, is an ancient philosophy that went out of fashion almost two millennia ago. Furthermore, defining and describing Stoicism in such a way that doesn't indicate to someone that you think they need to reevaluate their existence and chill out a bit, is tricky.
There are, however, some great tactics you can employ, each will work with different individuals. Remember, that most people appreciate that the office is not always a place of tranquility. Heated phone calls, looming deadlines and office gossip that's just a little too loud, all contribute to fluctuating stress and distraction levels.
Lead by example
Always cool under pressure? Unfazed by challenges or stressors that would take a weaker soul to its knees? Even if they don't know what Stoicism is, these traits rarely go unnoticed in a group.
Whilst these impressive traits will rub off on your co-workers, they also might ask how you remain calm in such circumstances. This is the perfect opportunity to explain how you use Stocisim and introduce its benefits.
Share key messages at the right time
Colleagues worrying about something that might happen that is totally beyond their control? This is the perfect time to suggest they focus on what they can control and to reassure them not to fret about something that may never come to pass.
This both helps that individual in the short term and gives them an experience of how Stoicism will help them moving forward. Remember that someone can adopt different strains of Stoicism without necessarily realising they are being "Stoic".
Forward the Daily Stoic email
"The Daily Stoic" sends a snippet of Stoic wisdom every day via email. The content varies in subject matter, how densely it is written and the nature of the takeaway given. If you come across a particularly good Daily Stoic email that you think will resonate with someone who could use its teachings, forward it on.
If the email regards something that would have helped them with a recent issue or something they're currently dealing with, it will come as a timely gift. Sharing a third party's content is also an excellent way of navigating the issue of preaching something when someone might not be in the mood or have the time. A Daily Stoic email gives them the choice about when they read it. They might just subscribe!
Books on Stoicism
When buying a colleague a copy of Meditations in the secret Santa seems a little too direct, having a copy of a great Stocisim book at your desk is the perfect way to share your philosophy without forcing it on anyone.
As the business owner, you may be more comfortable in sharing the fact that you use Stoicism as your 'inner operating system' or some of its teachings. Recommending a book to the entire office is a good way to promote Stoicism indirectly and minimise the risk of alienating any one individual.
Sharing a working space with other human beings is something that most people have or will experience in their lives. For some, the office dynamic and the chance of co-working and interpersonal relationships during the day is fundamental to their enjoyment, however, with all the pros there are clearly several cons.
Unless every team member subscribes to Stoicism, the office can be a challenging place to work calmly and productively. Of course, in your sage-like state, you might be able to stave off such work-related drama but, otherwise, it's likely to take a group effort to reduce company stress levels.