We live in a world where there are so many things that make up our day. “I am busy” has become the new standard answer to “How are you?” Like a badge of honour, as if we don’t answer this way there must be something wrong with us. We have changed a question about an emotion to an answer about our actions, this really demonstrates the world we live in.
In this world of technology, what was once supposed to help us be more productive, has actually made us more overwhelmed, more stressed out, and less able to prioritize. We make less decisions from a point of intentional consciousness and instead we are constantly in a state of reaction vs response. My goal is to help people see how we can actually make an impact on company culture and employee engagement without having free food, video games and a google style office. While each of these things is fun and appears to be something that would increase happiness at work… there is a much simpler way we can create this.
We must first understand what people are missing today at work. It is more prevalent with millennials because technology and social media has played such an important role in their lives. But we are seeing more and more of these same challenges with Gen X’s as well. People are not feeling fulfilled, less satisfied and definitely less happy than in previous decades and generations. What do people want? To feel successful. To feel like they make a difference. To feel like they live their values. To achieve the financial needs of their families. Why is this more challenging then ever before? Because technology and social media are creating a world of perfection and instant gratification. They have created a false sense of perfection and a desire for more and more. Harvard teamed up with The Energy Project and conducted a study that outlines the gaps in satisfaction and fulfillment at work. The findings were published as “The Human Era at Work”. Some of the key stats identified in the study:
Only 7% of people have their core needs met at work. There were gaps in many areas, the two largest were: Regular time for strategic and creative thinking at only 16% feeling like their was alignment between what they wanted and needed. People reported that having the ability to focus on only 1 thing at a time was only 19% in alignment between what people want and what they achieve.
There are 4 basic energy systems. If you can identify ways to maximize these energy systems in your workplace then you will have a greater opportunity to increase employee satisfaction. When people are satisfied, they are more productive. When they are more productive you make more money.
- Physical Energy. The body moves through 90-minute cycles throughout the day. In these 90-minute cycles you go through levels of higher and lower alertness. The study showed that the average person only takes one break per day. When we maximize people’s natural physical rhythms we will be able to increase their productivity, upwards of 40%. By creating an environment where people are encouraged to take even a small break every 90 minutes, not to look at Facebook… but to engage in a brief 2-minute walk or stretch you will see employees focus, creativity and sense of well-being increase.
- Emotional Energy. The things that fuel emotional energy are the feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction and the feeling of safety and trust. Think about yourself in a situation where you don’t feel safe, or if you have had a boss who you didn’t trust. How did you feel? Did you lose focus? This is common in the work environment. When you create confidence in people you will increase their productivity. They will be more willing to take risks. Those in the study that reported feeling satisfied at work were 125% more engaged. How do you impact this? Create a culture of feedback. When you have an environment where feedback is encouraged and feedback is seen as something that is welcomed and asked for you will allow for people to be more open and honest.
- Mental Energy. The greatest drainer of mental energy- the inability to focus! We all need to move past this mindset that we can multi task- we can’t… and it doesn’t feel good when you are forced to constantly switch from one task to the next, it creates stress and overwhelm- both awful feelings! Most people report being unable to fully focus on one task at a time. However, there is a direct correlation between ability to focus on a given task and engagement levels. We need to create environments where people have the ability to prioritize what and when they can perform tasks. We need to set time aside each day or week for critical and strategic thinking, ideally in an uninterrupted environment. This allows for people to spend time on what they do best and also allows for them to feel more in control of their tasks. Are your people supposed to always be on?
- Spiritual Energy. This is the ability to feel like you are making a difference. Being connected to a company’s mission and having meaning in the work you do. I work with associates on a daily basis who need to be reminded of the impact of the work they do. One of the greatest things a Millennial is looking to do at work is to feel their work is meaningful. Do you help them understand the value they bring to your organization? When we shift our mindset around strengths and weaknesses and realize that strengths add to our energy levels and weaknesses drain our energy levels, we can create a sense of more control over how we control our days.
We as leaders have a responsibility to create an environment where all four energy levels will be impacted. When we do this, we create an environment where we can have more satisfied and fulfilled associates and ultimately help more people live happy! If you are not leading a team, use these concepts to increase your own satisfaction and fulfillment. You can also help your kids understand why they may be “stressed out” and they can create a strategy to feel a sense of control over it. Quitting does not need to be the answer, it usually just means you will experience similar concerns in a future environment. Instead create strategies for change and see how much more energy you have when you satisfy these 4 energy systems!
Melissa Maloney and Happy Leader Enterprises are committed to helping you build a winning culture through Efficiency, Effectiveness and Engagement.
For more information go to www.melissamaloney.ca
Thanks for sharing as well! #livehappy!