Bringing back Joy in Work

Everything in life seems to be getting harder. Higher expectations, less time is free, pressure to achieve more and demands from all directions. How can we gently bring back some joy in work? How do we stop ourselves from buckling under the pressure that has been created around us?

Joy in work starts with understanding what matters to staff and focusing on the good. Nurturing and growing the positives will plant the seeds for change. It won’t change overnight, but, one small sprinkling at a time will lead to things getting better with joy.

Joy in work can only happen by everyone working together and committing to doing something about it. Constantly complaining or focusing on factors that cannot be controlled will not bring change. Starting small on what can be influenced will create the wave of improvement needed. Having the conversations about what joy in work means will help create a shared vision.

On the flip side, there needs to be a focus on what is stopping joy from flourishing. What are the problems? Why are they there? What can we do to address them? Understanding the root cause will help determine what change is needed.

As individuals, our needs matter and have to be met, these are things like having meaning and purpose or teamwork and fairness. Understanding each individual’s needs will also set the groundwork for what needs to be done for joy to grow within them.

Joy in work needs to spread and be taken on by everyone. This means commitment at all levels and working together to make it real. Everyone has something to contribute and connecting to their passion can help accelerate joy in work. Being kind to one another and respectful can help people open up, feel comfortable in talking and be honest in how they feel.

Finally, carrying out the changes to bring joy in work requires a little bit of improvement science. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just testing out ideas and having the data to see if anything is getting better is enough. Without this, there is the danger of implementing things that don’t make an improvement which could lead to staff feeling cynical or deflated. Collaborative working to test out ideas is needed to help understand what works best. When implementing the chosen ideas, it can take time to embed them; be persistent and consistent. When you get there, don’t forget to celebrate!

Here’s my revamped and updated version of “Joy in Work” based on the IHI framework. You can get a copy from my shop here

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