The word ‘love’ is not a word many of us associate with ‘work’, as work is about function, purpose and necessity, while love is a blissful emotion associated with immense happiness.
Like the personal relationships we have in our lives, our relationship with our job can often present the same challenges and play the same role in influencing our day-to-day happiness.
If you were asked to rate ‘love’ and ‘work’ on life’s happiness barometer, it would be rare to find them on the same scale, but think about the 168 hours there are in a week and how many of those you spend working. So learning to love your day job is vital to achieving a happy balance both at and away from the office.
Fiona Webster, Head of Career Coaching & Outplacement at leading recruitment & HR services company, Randstad, believes we need to treat work more like a relationship in an effort to see its positive benefits.
It takes two
Like love, work is a two-way street, if you don’t feel satisfied about what you’re getting out of your role, then it might pay to give more to your day-to-day activities. Sometimes, ‘you only get out what you put in’ and thinking of ways to improve your basic daily tasks can give you more satisfaction and provide more value to those around you. In the same way, contributing more to your team or getting involved in social activities at work might hold the key to a healthier two-way relationship in 2010.
Openness and honesty
Like a relationship, employees should be in regular communication with their team and management, not just to know what’s happening on particular projects but to form good habits so that when issues or challenges arise, they can be addressed, discussed and dealt with in a timely, mature manner. If something is annoying you or you want to give positive feedback, it’s a whole lot easier with open lines of communication. Trust and empathy go a long way in building positive, long-term connections with people to help carry you through good times and bad.
Good Sense of Humour
Make time to laugh with people who you work with – the physical and emotional benefits of laughter are overwhelming – it reduces stress, relaxes your body and boosts your immune system, not to mention the effect it has on positivity and productivity levels in the workplace. Laughter can shatter tension, lift the spirit of a group and break the ice in difficult situations.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Australians are renowned for building up annual leave – the most recent Roy Morgan research, released in December 2008, shows Australia has 123 million days of leave built up. Not taking ‘time out’ often leads to stress and finding yourself bogged down in the little things.
For many employees, a short break can really improve motivation levels and helps us remember what it is we love and miss about our work – whether it be a sense of achievement, purpose or the people around us.
Taking time out to rebalance and re-energise also gives you a fresh, clear and healthy perspective on who you are, what you want to do and what you want to achieve. Generally any niggly things that may have been annoying you will soon dissipate after a well-earned break and it can result in a new found love for your job.
Getting the spark back
A great way to feel inspired about work again is through learning and developing new skills. A new area of interest or the motivation to progress your position by adding another notch to your skills belt is a great way to breathe new life into your attitude and energy in the workplace. Knowing you have a new stream of learning can really help you reignite the passion you once had for what you do. It can also make your day-to-day job easier, saving you time and boosting your productivity.
Look back on your achievements, celebrate positive milestones and map out new goals, as this can be refreshing and energising for you, rather than feeling like you are treading the same path, hoping that something interesting will happen. Think about how you would like your daily work to look, and start to create something that is meaningful and enjoyable every day.
Work may not always be smooth sailing and, like a relationship, it may require a little extra effort at times but with challenges come growth, satisfaction and a healthy relationship which can be deeply rewarding.
Fiona Webster is the Head of Randstad’s Outplacement & Career Coaching division whose core objective is to assist individuals and organisations through positive transitions, and to improve individual and organisational performance, satisfaction and growth.
Randstad is a Fortune 500 Company and the second largest HR services provider in the world, specialising in executive recruitment, HR Solutions, inhouse services and temporary and permanent staffing across a wide range of specialist industry sectors and professions. The Randstad Group employs almost 675,000 people every day with the aim of ‘Shaping the world of work’. Visit www.randstad.com.au for further information.