Work to Live or Love to Work?
On average a human being spends 33% of their life sleeping and when in employment a further 33% at work…. This only leaves 19% of our lives to enjoy the fruits of our labours in retirement as the first 15% of our lives have already been nibbled away by childhood and adolescent education. (using average lifespan for men as 80 years and 83 years for women)
…So it’s important that we strive towards enjoying our time at work!
Breaking this down into an average time during a 168hrs week, an employee will spend 50hrs - incorporating 10hrs commute time if their lucky - and 50hrs sleeping, leaving just 68hrs for the post work wind down in the evenings, socialising with friends, chilling with family and carrying out necessary chores.
It’s often said; ”Life’s not a rehearsal” – so getting the right balance throughout our lives is important... and that includes work!
Do we work to live or love to work?
We earn money to live but although money plays a major role in today’s status driven society, it isn't the only reason we go to work. Working can give us independence, companionship, a purpose and more control over our lives.
It’s all about how comfortable we feel, where we work, how we feel about colleagues and the value of what we do that really makes us happy… So can we love work?
Being content and comfortable at work reduces life’s anxieties but can be an extremely difficult balance to achieve in today’s fast pace, and striving to achieve a realistic level of satisfaction is important, otherwise we’re wasting what precious time we have on our planet!
So… the burning questions we should be asking ourselves are;
1. Am I in the right job?
2. How can I make it better?
The first question is easier to answer as the only person who knows is you. That said, life doesn’t always pan out the way we want and being grateful for a job, may be the only way to survive for some!
The second question is trickier to determine, as very often, we’re not in control of “how we can make it better”!
Everyone deserves the right to understand their purpose and feel valued for their efforts at work, cascading from the CEO to the cleaner. Irrespective of what position is held in the company, mutual respect for each other’s worth is important. Otherwise… why would they be employed by the organisation?
We’re all wired differently and there are many who’s ambitions don’t stretch to becoming a manager and simply prefer to follow. We have to accept that not everybody aspires to take on leadership responsibilities and who are content to contribute in ways their skills are suited.
That said, we all have Change Making capabilities, and being curious is a trait we all possess. We’ve been curious since birth and is a characteristic we must never stamp out. Without it, you wouldn’t even be reading this article!
So how could we consider changing the way we work to get more fulfillment from our jobs and be more curious?
An individual, will recognise why their job has become mundane and difficult but by exploring opportunities to change their routine at work, focusing on the aspects of the role they enjoy, may identify openings for them to become more involved.
Very often people are reticent to stick their head above the parapet for fear of it being “Blown Off”, left feeling embarrassed and worthless. But providing a suggestion is thought through and put forward in a constructive manner it deserves air time. It’s the failure of the organisation not to encourage and recognise ideas as employees often provide the solutions and innovative ideas to issues, contributing to eureka moments.
By making small changes, it may help work become more fun and palatable and curiosity towards what is happening outside of an individual’s comfort zone will help keep things fresh and challenging.
Failure to have respect for another’s view and opinions, simply closes down opportunities for ideas and stifles creativity as everybody has a voice. We may not always agree or even enjoy being in the company of certain work colleagues but being rude and disrespectful does neither party any credit.
Irrespective of personalities, employee inclusion is all about a person understanding one’s role and self-worth. Having a clear understanding of how their role fits is vital for a person’s self-esteem and inclusion by leaders can lead to changes in a persons’ perception by colleagues.
A positive workplace culture is important and affects both business performance and job satisfaction. This is where inspiring leaders and managers who foster an inclusive culture are at their best and find success.
As Confucius says; “People may forget what you said or what you did but people never forget how you made them feel”.
Empathy is an underestimated “Soft Skill” that leaders and managers frequently shy away from, considering this as a weakness, when actually it can have significant benefits. Empathy is a social skill and helps understand how others are feeling so they can respond appropriately; possibly by simply making subtle changes or adopting other supportive initiatives such as coaching.
Understanding how your employees learn – whether they prefer to work independently or in groups – will establish how well they work and in which ways they are more likely to engage with projects and key tasks.
Millennials seem to thrive in a collaborative work environment and as the Boomers generation begin to retire, a more inclusive future is beckoning for employees in progressive organisations. Interdependence is something millennials are more in tune with, as new world platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media offerings encourage this way of inclusive group communication.
Middle Management are key Change Makers in any operation and essential to supporting business leaders’ in achieving the organisations objectives. They are equally tasked to liberate the creativity within the business through the people and teams they manage, cultivating future Change Makers within the business for future success and succession planning.
The Change Maker Group design bespoke Change Maker Programmes, which is an effective group learning strategy within the working environment and an excellent way to help Change Makers in any company engage with and develop new ideas and techniques.
Incorporated within the programme is the unique Change Maker Profile which is a tool that identifies where an individual or teams’ tendencies are best suited to achieve the greatest impact for a business and the employee. By identifying inclinations, business leaders are able to not only recruit people that will complement the team but have a greater impact on the productivity and morale in the workplace by adopting a different and positive mindset, paving the way for the business to cultivate their own future Change Makers.
Contact Mark Hallam at firstname.lastname@example.org