The fourth Australian Work and Life Index revealed this month that the number of full-time workers who are dissatisfied with their work situation has increased in the past three years. More than one-fifth of Australians spend 48 hours or more at work each week, and 60 per cent do not take regular holidays. Three-quarters of people working long hours say they would rather work fewer hours despite the drop in pay.
So what is the issue here? No flexible working conditions? Lack of work culture? No work life balance? Yes, yes and yes! But I believe there is one key issue overriding all of this – a lack of enjoyment in the workplace.
Think about a time when you were really enjoying your work (and that could be right now). How was it? My guess is that you were in the zone, working hard but it didn’t feel like it. And that’s the truth about enjoyment at work. Employees that enjoy their job work harder; the business gets the best out of the employee and they help the organisation to succeed. So it’s common sense that businesses try to create a workplace where employees enjoy their work and excel in what they do.
Many businesses focus on this concept and try to create the best workplace environments – one where they believe the employees and the business thrive. However, there are too many organisations where employees don’t enjoy the work they do and it’s holding back their performance.
This has to be a conscious decision by employers to create a workplace where people enjoy work. The facts support the case that it doesn’t just happen. Employers need to think strategically in this area and invest time and resources accordingly.
After years of fostering workplace enjoyment, with experience with companies big and small I have seen firsthand the most common mistakes businesses make when trying to create enjoyment. Therefore I have compiled some top tips to help make your business workplace more enjoyable.
- Evaluate enjoyment – Like everything else in a business, enjoyment is measurable and should be done regularly. Use anonymous feedback tools to understand the enjoyment level of the company. Find out what’s working well and what areas need to be improved. And most importantly act on it A sense of significance – Make sure employees understand how their individual contribution feeds into the bigger picture. It’s important that employees don’t feel like a small cog in a big machine. Outline what the business or project goals are and make the employee part of achieving them
- Expectations exchange – While it’s important to set measureable goals for employees, it’s just as important the other way around. Ask employees what they expect from their manager; what do they want from their boss to make them the best at what they do
- Play to people’s strengths and passions – People that work out of position don’t perform well and generally find it hard to enjoy the work they are doing. And it’s not simply about their innate strengths. Ask employees managers where they excel and what they are passionate about and provide the employee opportunities to build on their natural talent
- Nurture culture – Culture needs to come from the top, so employees can be part of the leaders vision, but isn’t something that can be put in as a process and then forgotten about. Constantly look to be building an environment that follows the vision, where employees can work collaboratively and where feedback is the norm strength
I absolutely get that many tasks that we need to get people to may not be enjoyable. The mundane, the repetitive, the slog of a long project, the stress of dealing with a crisis. However we owe it to our businesses and employees to create a more enjoyable workplace. It will may your business more profitable and importantly it will make our lives as business owners more enjoyable and that’s got to be worth it.
So step back and think, how enjoyable is your workplace and?
Bio: Richard Wentworth Ping – CEO, Wentworth People
Since setting up Wentworth Training in 1989, Richard has worked with companies large and small in almost every industry sector and in most regions of the world. He loves to help create high performance service cultures, outstanding management teams and to improve internal communication.