Lessons in harmony: How my Slovenia and Croatia tour can inspire a positive workplace

ancient amphitheater in Pula, SloveniaI recently returned from a delightful Rick Steves tour of Slovenia and Croatia. Our group consisted of 26 people from diverse backgrounds with different values, interests, and opinions, yet we all got along wonderfully. This is particularly remarkable given the many hours we spent together each day—whether riding a bus, standing shoulder to shoulder on city tours, or dining together almost every day. You might expect some tension or occasional squabbles, but there were none. The key? Everyone practiced courtesy and good manners. These behaviors can also be applied to the workplace—another place where we spend a significant amount of time with coworkers who may be very different from us.

Here are a few examples of the behaviors that made our trip so pleasant and how they can apply to the workplace:

  1. Positive Attitudes: Despite facing a day of pouring rain in one town and overwhelming crowds in another, no one complained. Positivity is contagious and makes any situation more enjoyable. Given how much time we spend at work, maintaining a positive attitude can lead to a more productive and enjoyable environment. Don’t let minor setbacks bring you down. Instead, focus on what you are grateful for at work—maybe a colleague helped you with a copier jam or you get to work from home two days a week. Find what you can appreciate rather than dwelling on what you don’t like.
  2. Generosity and Helpfulness: When I fell ill during part of the tour and had to stay in my hotel room to rest, one of my tour mates went out of their way to order food for me and bring over-the-counter medications. At work, be the person who helps others—share your Excel expertise with someone struggling with pivot tables, or bring cookies to a staff meeting. People remember these acts of kindness.
  3. Inclusivity: As one of the four single people on the tour, I was impressed by how inclusive my coupled tour buddies were. They frequently invited me and others to join them for meals or excursions, ensuring no one felt left out. Inclusivity in the workplace ensures that everyone feels welcome and valued. You can contribute by inviting the new employee out for coffee or a virtual coffee chat, asking someone who tends to be overlooked for their ideas, or speaking up when someone is interrupted to allow them to finish their point.
  4. Genuine Interest in Others: People asked thoughtful questions and showed genuine curiosity about each other, while also respecting personal space when needed. They would remember and inquire about the little things, showing they were paying attention and were interested in what I and others were doing. Apply this same trait at work by remembering things your coworkers share with you—an upcoming trip, a son’s graduation, a kitchen remodel—and ask them about it.

By embracing these behaviors, we can create a more harmonious and supportive workplace, much like the wonderful experience I had on my tour.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Sandi MacCalla on June 15, 2024 at 1:11 pm

    Lovely observations and applications for each of us to bring harmony and calm into life. Thank you for sharing these and making them real. I’m so glad it was a very memorable trip.

  2. Leila on June 15, 2024 at 6:23 pm

    I love that pivot table expertise and cookies (the edible kind) are both given as examples of things we can share; what a world we live in, eh!

  3. Janice Gedlund on June 21, 2024 at 1:04 pm

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I’ve had similar experiences on group tours–in fact, Rick Steves as a “no grumps” policy. Your observations about how to apply these experiences to our everyday lives are right on!

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