If you’ve ever been unhappy at work, and had the nerve to complain about it, you might have got the old chestnut, “It’s called work for a reason!”in response.
It’s a sad fact, but a belief that’s been ingrained in many of us: work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable or engaging. Luckily, science has gone out of its way to disprove that myth, telling us without a shadow of a doubt, that there are neurological links between feelings, thoughts and actions.
When we’re feeling negative, we put on our blinkers. We focus, in monomaniacal fashion, on the source of the anger, pain or sadness. We don’t process information well. Our creativity shuts down. Our ability to make good decisions gets trampled by our misery. Disengagement is a perfectly natural response to being unhappy.
I don’t think the savvy business minds among you need to be told at this point, that a happy workforce does wonders for productivity. For those of you with the cogs of a plan already in motion, when asked what would make them happy at work, nearly everyone gave the same three answers.
Firstly, they want good working relationships with those they see each day. Ever heard that people ‘join an organisation, but leave a boss’? The same applies to other relationships in an office. Discord leads to disengagement.
Secondly, the sense of purpose when working towards something bigger than ourselves. If we’re going to do this, we have to at least like that “something bigger”.
And third, mastery. If you’ve ever tried to do something you’re not good at, you’ll know that it’s not always fun. What is fun, satisfying, and gives you a little boost is when you start to get a handle on the task at hand.
So congratulations to Arch, the winners of this year’s employer of the year award. You’ve set an example for others, and probably profited simultaneously.
We should all be so ingenious.