(By Tony Schwartz)
“What’s the influence of leaders and managers on your experience at work? And if you are a leader or a manager, what can you do better to fuel your people? At the organizational level, what is the impact of the kind of space you work in, or whether or not you have the freedom to take renewal breaks or work out during the day? How does each of these factors influence your overall satisfaction and your likelihood of staying with your current organization?“
Think about your typical workday. How often do you wake up in the morning, excited to get to work? How much time do you spend fighting traffic to get to the office? Do you run from meeting to meeting, with no time in between, as emails pile up unanswered in your inbox?
When was the last time you left your desk at midday and took an hour for lunch with a friend? How much energy do you have left for your loved ones when you leave the office at the end of the day? Do immediate demands overwhelm your capacity to do more creative and strategic thinking?
Or to put it more positively: If you felt healthier, happier, more focused, and more motivated at work, would you perform better?
Plainly, the answer is “yes,” for nearly all of us. But how much energy does your organization invest in insuring that you are healthy, happy, focused, and motivated?
Our goal at The Energy Project is to define a better way of working – in part by clarifying what isn’t working now. The assessment we’re asking you to answer here – “What Is Your Quality of Life at Work?” — seeks to understand how you’re feeling about work, what seems to influence you most, and what role your employer plays in your overall experience.
For years now, surveys conducted by firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson have shown that only about 30% of employees feel truly engaged and satisfied at work. What we want to know is: What would it take to change that, dramatically?
Our premise is that in a world of relentlessly rising demand, employers need to shift from trying to get more out of people to investing more intentionally in meeting their core needs. This means employees would be freed, fueled, and inspired to bring more of themselves to work.
I’m talking about very concrete needs: physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual. If we are required to commute an hour or more each day during rush hour, it can’t help but take a toll on our productivity. If we work for a supervisor who doesn’t genuinely care about our well-being, much less one who manages by fear, we’re almost certainly going to feel more at risk, and less motivated.
If we’re expected to immediately answer every incoming email, we’re going to spend less time absorbed on more complex tasks and on thinking creatively and strategically. If we have no sense that the work we’re doing taps our strengths and our preferences, or provides us with a sense of meaning, we’re likely to be less engaged and productive at work. We may be relieved simply to have a job in a difficult economy, but that doesn’t mean we’ll bring our best efforts to it.
But which of these factors, and others, are most influencing our experience at work? That’s what this assessment is all about. By answering this set of questions, you’ll have a way of measuring your experience against others. We’ll ask you to evaluate yourself, your manager, and answer some questions about your habits at the office and at home. The results of the survey may provide a window for you, and your employer, into how specific organizational policies and practices influence employee satisfaction and effectiveness.
Over the coming weeks, my colleague Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and I will be analyzing the trends that emerge from your answers to this survey. We hope to identify some of the factors that most influence your experience at work. We’ll feed our conclusions back to you in posts.
Among the things we’re hoping to learn: The correlation, for example, between your ability to balance work and home life, and the level of satisfaction, engagement and positive energy you experience on the job. How much does the level of meaning you derive from work matter? What about the freedom to work from home, or flexibility in when you work?
What’s the influence of leaders and managers on your experience at work? And if you are a leader or a manager, what can you do better to fuel your people? At the organizational level, what is the impact of the kind of space you work in, or whether or not you have the freedom to take renewal breaks or work out during the day? How does each of these factors influence your overall satisfaction and your likelihood of staying with your current organization?
Our goal, with this assessment, is to consider you as a whole person, by asking questions across multiple dimensions of your life. Through your answers, we hope to better define, for you and for your employer, the ingredients of a sustainably, highly-engaged, high-performing workplace. To make that possible, add your data to this effort and take this short assessment.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”