Over the years, the workplace and the nature of work have evolved. It is no longer about hierarchies as organizational structures continue to flatten. Working is no longer about going to the office from 8 am to 5 pm; it is about getting meaningful work done. Besides, workdays, work hours and workstations are largely flexible for some allowing them to work as per their desire. Business leadership has also evolved; instilling fear and intimidating staff is no longer a viable leadership practice. Most forward-looking leaders are today focusing on positively influencing their team members. These leaders have become highly professional, inspiring and more empathetic. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the workplace and the nature of work significantly. Despite these disruptions, some have found joy at work. Unfortunately, for others, work has stolen their joy. Are you experiencing joy at work or is work a source of grief?
Joy at work is not a given. A survey released in 2019 by A.T. Kearney, a global management-consulting firm pointed out to a joy gap at work. Ninety per cent of the respondents expressed having expected to feel joy at work; however, only 37% said they experienced it. Five hundred respondents drawn from across the globe participated in the survey. The survey further revealed that joy at work stems from one believing that their work is meaningful and from a personal commitment to support the achievement of the company’s vision and strategy. According to the survey, employees who believe that their company makes a positive societal contribution find more joy at work. The joy gap evident in this survey is characteristic among many employees. Why are many not finding joy at work?
I believe that finding joy at work takes effort, requires inner power and resilience. Thought leaders have a key role in creating healthy work environments, individuals have a responsibility to find joy in what they do. Rejoicing in what we do means making peace with where we are at and finding contentment in our lives and work. Because of the evolution of the workplace, employees and businesses need to make ongoing adjustments. Over the last two decades, most of the adjustments have resulted from technological advancements that have changed the nature of work. Other adjustments have to do with getting a new manager or having our roles redefined. When we take up a new position or when change happens at the workplace, we purposefully make a choice on what attitude to display. Do we always choose to rejoice from deep down our heart?
Finding joy at work is beneficial to employees and businesses. When we choose joy at work, we become more engaged, highly productive and have better relationships with others. The workplace adjustments that many have had to make this year were unprecedented. If you are a business leader, have you considered creating a healthy workplace culture where the staff feel heard and recognized? To support your team in finding joy at work, are you helping them find meaning in what they do? Are you sharing the joy you experience in your role? As we usher in the Christmas and end of year festivities, it is an opportune time to refresh our inner strength. May the joy of the Lord be our strength as we carry on with the work placed in our hands!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy