By Olivia Brito
Uncertain times like the present can add challenges to our work-life balance, hinder wellbeing and if left unattended could lead to burnout and other health consequences.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even inadequate from work issues, or you wish your work was more enjoyable and meaningful, you can proactively improve your working life via “job crafting”. Below a few strategies that can help.
This is ever more important than ever. For instance, in the US more than half of workers say they aren’t emotionally or cognitively connected to their work, according to the latest Gallup poll. This unengaged 53% usually show up from 9 to 5 but do the minimum required.
This causes lower employee morale, health and happiness and, unsurprisingly impacts the company’s bottom line too. It’s a no-win situation
Whilst good companies invest in their staff to try to improve their wellbeing at work, remember that job crafting is a proactive process that you can do for yourself. It’s not your manager’s job to make you happy at work.It’s a very personal inside job.
The good news is that you can reshape your work environment (and your mindset) to make your job fit you more closely. Read on for some helpful strategies.
Job Crafting TASKS
What can be done differently? Reviewing your job description and daily activities is usually the first step.
- Identify your strengths. I’m an advocate of using the assets you already have and cultivating your natural talents. Think about what you love doing and what you do well. Get a boost of confidence by finding your unique strengths (try the “Strengths Finder” online or the book).
- Reallocate your time. Find which tasks can be delegated, and bear in mind that whilst not all unsexy tasks can, creating systems for these will help you to complete them more efficiently.
- Find the Fun. How can you bring joy and play into your work? Compete with yourself or suggest a friendly contest with the rest of your team.
- Respect your limits. Avoid taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. If you find it hard to say “no”, try practising not committing small requests. Start with your top priorities and expand your duties gradually.
- Consider others. Hopefully, you and your manager will agree on the new direction you want to take. However, your preferences may conflict with business needs and your coworker’s routines. Be willing to compromise and work towards mutually beneficial solutions.
Job Crafting RELATIONSHIPS
How can you strengthen your existing interactions? Can you broaden your network for new quality contacts? Better relationships at work will improve your workday.
- Listen closely. Working on your listening skills can transform your workplace relationships. Focus on what others are saying instead of rehearsing your response. Ask relevant questions, show interest.
- Visit other departments. Collaborate with colleagues in other parts of your company. Invite them to meetings and propose joint projects.
- Socialise. Use office events and communications to get to know others on a more personal level. Make time for small talk. Let others know that you care about their interests and opinions.
- Network online. Big conferences may be on hold for now, but you can still communicate online. LinkedIn is a great place to build your network, join groups and participate in relevant conversations.
- Share feedback. Help create an office culture rich in open and constructive communications. Provide tactful and specific feedback. Welcome input from others and thank them by using their suggestions to make positive changes.
Job Crafting YOUR ATTITUDE.
There will always be events beyond your control BUT you can always change your own thoughts. Like any positive change, job crafting begins in your mind.
- “Purpose” first. Find meaning in the work you do. Create one if all fails! Understanding the reasons behind what you do will make your work more rewarding. Figure out why it’s significant and connect with a mission bigger than yourself.
- Continue learning. My mum used to say “what you learn is yours. No one can take that away”. Seize opportunities to expand knowledge and skills. Keep growing.
- Embrace you. List your wins and achievements, all of them, personal, professional. Make an inventory of successes. Define what success means to you (rather than comparing yourself to others).
- Balance perspective. Remember to pay attention to your personal responsibilities, needs and wants, as well as your career. Sometimes “smart sacrifices” must be made but, are these more the norm than an exception? if so, it’s time to get perspective on what’s sustainable and re-evaluate your priorities.
We spend most of our waking hours at work so it’s worth the while, a must even, to make those hours happier and more productive by crafting your job into a more fulfilling workday.
Former MD, I am a business psychotherapy expert helping managers replace anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, with self-belief, perspective and confidence so they can start living a fulfilling career, in just 6 weeks.