exploring possibilities for an engaging and productive workplace

Is their room for joy at work? 
I answer this question with a resounding "YES," but I've heard others respond with an equally passionate "NO".  I could write this off as another side effect of my own optimism, but I think there's more to it than that. Lets start with the idea that finding joy at work requires both employer and employee. 

This week, Seth Godin wrote in his blog, "Traditional corporations, particularly large-scale service and manufacturing businesses, are organized for efficiency. Or consistency. But not joy."

I agree, a company can organize for joy. Executives have tools like organizational structure, strategy, and policy, which can all impact the overall happiness within a company. Supposing executives make rational choices, it's reasonable to ask for data, why would management choose tools that foster a joyful workplace (aside from obvious reasons)?  

Researchers investigating Happiness Economics find that happiness leads to higher productivity, and we all know that increased productivity is good for the bottom line. Now is the time for leaders within these "traditional corporations," to try something new-- try organizing for joy. 

Seth Godin goes on to explain how leadership might go about this, "... give people the freedom (and yes, the expectation) that they will create, connect and surprise. These are  organizations that embrace someone who makes a difference, as opposed to searching for a clause in the employee handbook that was violated."

Yet, finding joy at work is not exclusively up to the employer. Yes, employees have a role to play too. Everyone carries their own beliefs and opinions that shape their unique perspective. Your work could be doing everything "right." Ultimately you hold the key to your own happiness.

If you're not finding joy at work, I challenge you to reflect. What does a joyful workplace look like? What are your assumptions about happiness at work? What can you do to take responsibility for your own joy?

Commit to trying something new. Something that helps you find your own joy. It can be big or small, it's up to you. If you're comfortable, post your idea in the comments. It's rumored that writing down your goals and sharing them with others, helps you to achieve those goals-- a small price to pay for happiness.

5 responses to "Joy at Work"

  1. If you're having trouble leaving a comment I have a band-aid while I try to fix the problem.

    Imagine where a scroll bar would be in the blue-gray space to the right of the word verification box. Now use your mouse to scroll down just like you would if you could see the scroll bar.

    Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. Sorry for the trouble, I hope to have it fixed asap.


  2. Did Bria really fix this?


  3. I really liked the tone of this post! It was....joyful! I'm curious to know if you have any thoughts on those who take too much joy in their work and become imbalanced in their personal lives. The one downside that I can see to an otherwise great thing, is that if you are working for something you are passionate about and take great joy in, it's possible that you could forget to take joy in the other things in life that make you a whole person: friends, family..etc. Could you post on this?


  4. I think people that take 'too much joy' in work are most likely too 'mission driven', at least the ones I know. They are burnt out and hate it, but feel they will let the world down if they quit, the hero mentality. The people I know who find joy in work seem to find joy in other things and are balanced, or they are consciously dedicating their lives to work because that is where they want to be. How do we make the transformation from the burnt out hero to the joyful practitioner?


  5. Bria, I thought this was a great and insightful post. I'm not a regular reader of Godin's blog but usually see him referenced in a lot of stuff that I stumble across. One way I try to incorporate joy into my job is by considering each customer interaction as an opportunity to learn or share something. I've been interacting with the majority of my customers for almost 9 years. The likelihood of leaving the FP after graduation is pretty strong. As such, I try to view each conversation as precious since I may not see this person as frequently in a few months...



    michael b.

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