This guide offers a definition of Joy at Work that has a role for the company and the people that work there. Both must engage because as an employee you can be willing to behave in ways that grow joy in the workplace but if the company doesn’t value it, your behavior will get limited traction. And, vice versa. The company can do its best to create the conditions that help people thrive but if people don’t accept the invitation, it won’t happen.
The authors’ research and personal experience reveals that companies get better results when people thrive at work. At the same time people report gaining significantly from those experiences, both personally and professionally, even when under considerable stress.
This is especially relevant now because of recent events. The pandemic has caused people to rethink work and the place it has in their lives. With people working from home, many have been forced to think about how to prioritize and integrate their personal and professional responsibilities. The obvious and critical importance of “essential workers” has caused people to reflect on what that really means. Behaviors that promote equity and inclusion and value diversity are also now top of mind concerns for companies and their employees. Building good working relationships in a virtual workplace remains challenging. And that’s all just recently.
Prior to the pandemic, executives reported talent as being one of their top concerns. Can they compete to attract and keep people with the skills they need? Can they grow the skills of their current workforce? Can they keep their people productive and engaged? Today, it’s widely reported that more than half of employees report they’re considering a job change. There’s value in considering joy in the workplace to attract, retain and engage the workforce.
The authors see the pursuit of joy in the workplace as a goal of health and vitality for people and the companies they work for. Over a lifetime, assuming a 40 hour work week and 45 years of working, you can spend more than 80,000 hours of your life dedicated to work. Given that, it's useful to ask questions like, how am I going to spend my time working? What choices do I feel I have? What's a life worth living and how does work factor into that?
This guide prompts the reader to consider what Joy at Work means to them and how they can grow it for themselves and others through the choices they make.