Why Work Isn't Working
Today's workplace is a burnout factory for most people, from executives to interns, according to an extremely insightful piece by Tony Schwartz and Christine Forth. The
article, Why You Hate Work, describes feelings shared by all of us at one time or another: the sense of being overworked, undervalued, unable to focus, pulled in too many directions at once - the litany of deleterious emotions is seemingly endless.
Schwartz and Forth's study along with Harvard Business Review found that when people have the following four needs met, they are more fulfilled and and enthusiastic in the workplace:
PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, SPIRITUAL
How people feel at work affects how they perform at work. Yet employers and entrepreneurs often ignore these issues.
Tips From the Study:
Take a break. Stand up and stretch. Look away from your monitor and do something else for 5 minutes. Read, grab coffee, and walk down the hall. Give your brain a chance relax and refresh. Physical activity gives the brain a chance to recover and rediscover solutions to problems.
People spend the bulk of their day at work so make time to listen and care about co-workers issues or concerns. Publicly commend people for successes and achievements.
Make the workplace and workload manageable by shortening meetings, discouraging improper behavior such as aggression, anger, demeaning commentary and reward conflict resolution.
If you see a coworker or staff member in contemplation, don't assume they're slacking off. They might be in deep consideration of an issue or problem solving.
I urge you to read this article because it's a great reminder that some simple restructuring of attitudes and practices can generate both higher productivity, profit, and satisfaction. No one expects their office to be a warm and fuzzy place all the time but improvements can be made. Here are some of the attitudes we try to display at Benay, but as with all businesses, is a work in progress.
Our daily meeting is short, 15 minutes, and at 10 AM so everyone gets away from their desk and interacts with one another at least once during the day.
I want to urge staff to take lunch either in the office or out, but not with their computers on. Everyone needs a break to revive his or her body and mind.
We all try to inquire about staff's family, friends, or weekend activities. It only costs a few moments to show that not only do we care how they are doing but gives us all license to acknowledge that we all have lives outside our business that are more important than what we do between 9 & 5.
I try to reward suggestions and initiative with small gifts or words of thanks, and publicly acknowledge good ideas at our daily meetings. Offering to get coffee, buy lunch, or even just get a candy bar from the corner store is a daily occurrence by our team. This may be why my diet is constantly thwarted.
Offering flexibility in terms of our work schedule is key: my motto is I don't care how or where the work gets done, as long as it gets done. So hours are flexible when possible and people can work remotely when needed.
We need to acknowledge that people can't be busy every second and require moments of downtime. Whether it's a closed door, headphones to block out other conversations, a silent moment at the desk to deal with all the issues facing us before 9 and after 5, or just getting outside for 5 minutes, we all deserve the chance to mentally and physically recharge and intentionally up our game at work.
Not everyone loves their job but they certainly shouldn't hate it.