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Why You Hate Work NY Times Opinion Commentary

by | Jun 7, 2014 | Digital Marketing, Leadership & Management

From time to time, DirectiveGroup team members will share their views on a piece by an industry thought leader. Here, Lisa discusses Why You Hate Work, an opinion in the New York Times Sunday edition, written by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath.

Basically, this article summarizes some original research as well as some previous studies. The four elements that contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity are examined for their individual contributions. I read this article on the heels of an article on Danish workplaces, which essentially asked why is it acceptable in the US for workers to expect to hate their jobs. Good question.

“Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.”

DirectiveGroup is a virtual workplace, so it is interesting that the one single factor managers don’t like to give up – that of direct physical oversight – is not even in our business model. And I like it that way, although I do find it important and desired to have some face-to-face interaction with those who work at DirectiveGroup. For this reason, many of the other factors that are mentioned in the article are those that are explicitly addressed in our workplace. Not that we have it all figured out, but at least it is top-of-mind as we go about our day-to-day work. For instance, we do encourage things like flexibility in scheduling of work time and breaks, of keeping email shut down for focused work periods, of reasonable response times to clients and colleagues, of enabling employees to focus on work that is most exhilarating or an area of desired professional growth. I do believe these are some of the crucial factors for creating an environment of excellence, which to me, is the number one job of a leader.

Yet, what resonates with me the most in this article is the last factor, the spiritual one. I don’t usually see this addressed in workplace productivity analyses, so I was delighted to see it here. My personal take is that my work is one aspect of my life, and for me to feel that my life has a purpose and value, I must find a way to make meaning. To make it all worth it. I can’t help but extend that thought to realize we all want that. So I was thrilled to see that this was the most impactful single factor that increased engagement and productivity in the workplace.

But then I have to say, why are we (collectively) so dang slow to recognize the obvious, these essential truths? Why is there this sense that it is somewhat revelationary that we all want meaning, we want to create meaning and we want to have meaningful work lives. Why should this be a surprise? And why should it be a surprise that when we deeply connect with what we personally believe is a meaningful existence with our work, it will have a huge impact?

Read the article here: New York Times: Why You Hate Work

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