Letting your employees experience freedom to create a positive workplace can improve moral and longevity with employees. By Mark Tedford #000097
By Mark Tedford
I would like to talk to business owners and managers today about looking at how the human body is made as the way of understanding how workers should work. I believe that the human body is made to work and man is created with emotional need to work. Aristotle believed that work was a punishment of the gods. In Greek society leisure was praised and work was seen as something that was dehumanizing.
I believe that man was created to work so that work is actually healthy for us. In 2006, the Department of Work and Pensions showed that there was a correlation between good health and working. Also, the Gallup poll showed that there is a correlation between depression and unemployment. With workers that were unemployed for longer than 27 weeks our three and a half times more likely to be treated for depression. More than just working physically humans have The emotional need to feel that what they do is creative and meaningful. Maslow thought the highest human need was self-actualization and self-actualization at his core is being creative.
Most people recognize the incredible satisfaction they get out of being creative. Unfortunately most people are more creative at their hobbies than they are at their work. I think everyone should see themselves as a craftsman at work and not just an employee. Dorothy Sayers was quoted as saying that the craftsman lives to do the work he enjoys, where the worker lives by the work he despises. The lack of creative work robs us of our sense of dignity. And, I think business owners and managers should strive to create jobs that allow employees to express themselves and work creatively. Creativity and self-actualization at work allows for more engagement at work, and this is something that the American worker has not done a very good job at. Recent Gallup poll shows that only 33% of employees are engaged in their jobs.
With some jobs it’s easy to see how the employee can be creative or how the job is intrinsically meaningful. An artist for example is creative the whole time in their job. And the doctor is seen culturally as a very important person. So they’re naturally going to feel like their work as meaningful, But not every job is like this. Some jobs are seen as unimportant in our culture and in some jobs is hard to see how there can be any creativity to it. For example a person answering the phone in the business as your receptionist, it’s hard to see really how they could be that creative in their job.
I think that every job can be done in a way to tap into the employee’s creativity. A good example this is a maid at a hotel. This is not normally seen as a very important job and not a job that lends itself to creativity. But many of you have been to a nice hotel where you’ve come back and the bed is folding your towel in the shape of a swan. They care about their job, and they want you to know that they took care in the work that they did. If they took that type of care to fold that tile on the shape of a swan, then obviously they’ve taken care to clean the other parts of the room.
Another example of this would be a sign spinner. Many of you have seen them out on the street corners with employees holding signs for their retail businesses. I can’t imagine a worse job or a more boring job as standing out on the hot sun holding a sign. I recently went to Vegas and they actually had ‘Sign Spinner Championships’, where they competed to see who is the best and most creative at spinning their signs.
I think that when employees are creative everybody wins. The employee wins because they’re enjoying their work and they are expressing themselves through their work. The employer wins because they have an employee that is engaged, and the client wins because they’re actually entertained and satisfied by the work that the employee is doing. The employer should give permission to the employee to express themselves in their job and be creative. And even find ways to reward behavior that is creative. Ask what that little extra something is that separates the job from being a professional and unprofessional. That separates the artists from the amateur. Now finding that you’ll find the way you can be creative at your work.
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