There's a disconnect, a schism occurring in the workplace. If you work for someone else, you can probably feel it. The company wants you to make work your highest priority, but you've got other things on your mind when the school calls a snow day or the hospital moves dad into hospice. The company wants you laser focused on its needs 9-to-5, and checking-in the other 16 hours of your day, but you'd rather spread out your work over a 10 hour period and then shut down the office completely the rest of the time because you've got more life-work to do and more work-life balance to find.
If you're feeling like your company doesn't "get" you, and the way you'd like to work for them, you're not alone. Most people want to do a good job, want to produce results at work, and want to have a fulfilling life at the same time. It's not your fault that a corporate culture that was created to manage factories hundreds of years ago utterly fails to manage today's mobile, global, 24/7 workplace. But it does explain why 2 million Americans are leaving their jobs every month, 74 percent of workers would leave their job if they could and people's interest in leaving corporate America is up by 50 percent.
If you lead and manage people you may particularly notice this tension in the women, 20-something, millennial generation and men that work for you because they're the most uncomfortable. They're struggling the most with the tension between work and life, and sometimes they're making it your problem.
Working women, especially, feel the pinch because they have a clearer understanding of what a blended work-life feels like. They work more hours of the day to fulfill their duties at work and home and the extra stress takes its toll. Women feel the stress acutely, and this is one of many reasons they're the fastest growing segment of the entrepreneurial economy. Unlike many male entrepreneurs, many women don't seek fame and riches in building their own company, but a sane lifestyle that pays the bills and funds a healthy, balanced lifestyle. (Note: many women DO want to build a valuable company that respects its employees, too, and bully for them!)
What do today's workers really want? What can the leaders of today's workplaces learn from these women struggling to "have it all," and the men who struggle alongside them, but more silently?
Here are eleven values that workers are trying to bring into the modern workplace. Eleven desires that most humans have, including even those leading the slave-to-the-office paradigm. Reframe today's workplace through these eleven lenses, and watch employee satisfaction in your workplace, and life satisfaction in your sphere of influence, go up.
- Alignment: The desire for harmony and mediating conflict to create shared vision and action.
- Creativity: The desire to experiment and explore new and different techniques in search of a vision yet unrealized.
- Design: The desire to combine function with form to create quality experience.
- Development: The desire for growth and improvement.
- Integration: The desire to be the same person (with the same values and habits of self-expression) at work, at home and at play.
- Integrity: The desire for consistency in intent, word and deed.
- Impact: The desire to make the world a better place because of your actions.
- Tolerance: The desire to have variation in approach, style and technique accepted without judgment and evaluated on merit.
- Ownership: The desire for autonomy and accountability in your work.
- Profit: The desire for tangible rewards and remuneration for your contribution and success, including acknowledgement, praise and feedback.
- Respect: The desire to be respected for what you are, regardless of what you aren't.
Think you're just a cog in the wheel and that someone else has to do something to make it safe for these eleven values to come into your workplace? Wrong. It all starts with you. Live these values in your sphere of influence and watch how it becomes more okay for everyone around you to live them too.
What's your experience? Are you struggling to find work-life sanity in a company? Did you jump ship out on your own? Share your experience in comments below.