“How many of you in the past month have said ‘I just don’t think I want to do this anymore’?” Heather Boutell of Bellarmine University joked at a Monday afternoon session. Her question was met with chuckles and dozens of raised hands.
From keeping up with ever changing regulations, to lack of funding to pressure to help increase enrollment, financial aid administrators are faced with multiple challenges. Those in the financial aid profession are routinely asked to do more with less and jobs have become increasingly more difficult and stressful. A typical day may include dealing with personnel issues, meeting with angry or crying students, working to comply with complicated regulations, and reporting that doesn’t stop. But, you can still enjoy your job and feel proud about what you do, Boutell and Barbara Miller of Stevenson University told session attendees..
Boutell and Miller offered the following tips and suggestions to help make your work both exceptional and enjoyable:
You must feel it and believe it to make it happen. If you’re trying to make changes in your office, but you don’t believe they will actually help, it may be somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make sure you believe in the changes you’re trying to make and that you convey that through your words and your energy.
You need quick wins. This is something that’s really simple that you can do quickly; it’s a small change that you can make where you’ll be able to see the impact immediately. Miller explained that her office decided to set aside at least 15 minutes to gather together and celebrate with a cake on staff members’ birthdays. Previously those in her office felt they were too busy to take the time away from their desks, but making it the standard policy to gather together and celebrate changed the feeling in the office and gave everyone time to bond and interact with their co-workers.
Reach out to others who may be of help. You don’t have to go it alone. Don’t make your job more stressful than it needs to be by trying to do everything yourself. Ask for and accept help.
Set priorities. These may change as you go, but knowing what needs to happen first and what can wait can help keep the stress level down.
Evaluate. “Are you making time to look at the big picture?” Miller asked. Take a step back once in awhile and spend some time thinking about what’s working well in your office and what’s not as efficient as it could be. If you constantly feel like you’re in crisis mode trying to take care of pressing problems, you may not feel like you have time to evaluate your processes, but making the time to evaluate and tweak processes that aren’t serving you well will make things run more smoothly will save you time and stress in the long run.
Focus on morale building. “I’ve been in offices before where everyone absolutely hates to come to work,” and it really affects you, Boutell said. Morale building is key in keeping your staff happy, and retaining them. And it will make your own work environment better as well. Take time to celebrate with each other, have a staff member of the month to celebrate successes and good work, plan a staff retreat to keep the staff feeling connected. There are many small things you can do that can make a big difference in office morale.
Publication Date: 7/11/2016