Recharging the workplace

Many companies are living under new annual budgets, and the majority of executives and managers are optimistic about the future of the economy and business growth, based on our recent research. However, managers and workers have come out of a few difficult business years, with increases in workload and decreases in company loyalty.

We know from a recent survey of several hundred senior executives and managers throughout the U.S. conducted by NFI Research, that 93 per cent of them are working nine or more hours per day, and 70 per cent are working 10 or more hours. The 40-hour workweek is non-existent, with more than half of respondents saying they work more than 50 hours per week.

For those who made it through the tough times and effectively performed more than one job, the non-ending, continuous workload can be wearing. However, since optimism is finally creeping back into business leadership and growth is projected, this is a fine time to take a deep breath, and get ready to dig in and ready to go.

Unlike the toiling of the past few years — with tightened budgets, decreased business and downsizing — much of the future workload will be based on business growth. It doesn’t mean there will be less work, but with increased customer activity, it can feel less like treading water.

Recharging the workplace involves remotivating everyone from top executives and managers to the workers, many of whom are the face of the company to the customer.

A prescription for recharging

There are things that individuals can do to help get charged for the work ahead.

First, change something, whether the job or the actual work at the job. We know from past research that many people are looking for new work. This does not mean they want to change companies, but they want to do something different.

Unfortunately, some executives tend to keep a worker in the same job because he or she is performing that job very well. This is just the opposite of what should occur, especially if that person has been performing that job for a long time.

People need change to keep their work interesting. Doing the same thing day after day, week after week, no matter how interesting the tasks, can become less challenging and less rewarding. Take a look around the company for people who have been doing the same thing for a long time and check if they are happy.

Also, stop and think about what you do every day and if it is repetitive. If there is no practical way to change jobs at this time, freshen your approach to the job itself. One way to do this is to reset your priorities. Basically, think about how you could approach your work differently. Perhaps there is a better way to do your job, or an innovative way to approach it and make it more integrated with, say, someone else’s job.

Take it upon yourself to learn something about your business or organization that you do not know. For example, if you’re in technology, learn about something non-technical. If you’re in finance, go learn something directly from customers. If you’re in customer service, go learn something from finance. People in business need to continue to learn and grow.

Those in the workforce want to be inspired and motivated by their leaders. In order to maintain or improve employee loyalty in the future, companies should increase or improve, in order:

– confidence in leadership

– trust

– company culture

– advancement opportunity.

Though sometimes a bit unsettling in the beginning, change for people in the workplace can be very healthy.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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