Find the Right Career
What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we continue to ask ourselves over the course of various existential life crises. But there is a better question to ask, whose answer will have a far bigger impact on your happiness than the characteristics of the job itself: how much autonomy will I have in my role?
Stressors we can’t control are far more damaging than stressors we can. And whether you are making decisions about the future of the company or which coffee to serve at a client meeting, studies have shown that autonomy among individuals and teams makes workers more satisfied with their jobs.
So when mulling over your career, or interviewing for a job, ask questions to help you avoid company cultures that will micromanage the joy out of life.
Open Spaces Lead to More Collaboration
We can all breath a collective sigh of relief as the collaborative open-plan office myth has been debunked. A new study has found that employees in open plan offices spend 73% less time in face-to-face interactions. Productivity is also bound to take a hit, especially for creative types, whose minds are wired to wander. Having the whole company and everyone’s business in surround sound at your desk isn’t helping ideas to be birthed and deadlines to be met.
Like most things in life, it’s about balance. Give employees open spaces to mingle, but also provide smaller ‘retreats’ in the form of break-out rooms or offices.
There is no Handbook
The communication skills gap is likely to widen, as we continue to invent more ways to interact with each other and VR becomes our new R. Exceptional employees will need to master communication across all mediums in order to get the best out of their coworkers. On a recent podcast episode, organizational psychologist Adam Grant advises us to get our closest co-workers to write a personal user manual on how to best communicate with us. So we know that our President likes to give poetic email feedback at 11pm, and our developer prefers morning scrum meetings over a cup of tea.
Creative People Have Fewer Bad Ideas
Thomas Edison tried and failed to create a fruit preservation technique while he invented the light bulb (it actually made the fruit rot faster). A lot of the great composers’ back catalog is not a joy for the earholes. Season 2 of Big Little Lies was a bad idea.
Bad ideas are a healthy by-product of creativity, not a sign that you are in the wrong profession. Unless you only have bad ideas (then you should rethink things).
More Hours = More Productivity
Society is guilty of associating part-time with part-timers, despite longer hours being shown to have a negative impact on productivity.
A new report argues that a shorter working week should be a central pillar of future strong economies. Employers shouldn’t dress up flexible working hours as a snazzy perk. They are fundamental to many employees simply being able to do life.
Business are beginning to get it. Larger companies are announcing plans to trial a four-day week (without a loss in pay). Start-ups are being constructed to help women achieve a better work life balance. And as I type this from the UK with my twins asleep in the next room, I can vouch for the importance of flexibility at work.
Which brings me on to my last point…
Never Work With Children or Animals
Rubbish. Dunn&Co. now has a kids room so employees can bring their sprogs to work when they don’t have childcare, or if they just want to be closer to their kin. And many of agencies in the Tampa Bay area encourage employees to bring their pups to work. It promotes employee wellbeing, and most importantly great Instagram content.