It’s Time to Demand More Joy at Work. Are you happy at work? It’s okay; you can be honest. If you are one of the many who will answer no, you are not alone. Many people feel the same way. In fact, accordingly to a recent Gallup study, 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work and 19% as being miserable.
Is this because of the pandemic? The numbers have certainly accelerated since 2020. People have taken time to reflect on life priorities and realise that things need to change. People want more joy and peace in their lives and at work. They are no longer settling for joyless work and certainly aren’t putting up with jobs that aren’t right for them, as shown by the great resignation.
Now more than ever, people are beginning to question what life is all about: is it about collecting more things, titles, and achievements or is it simply being happy today? Coming to this awareness has been a huge revelation, but believe it or not, this was on the radar before the pandemic.
In 2019, Harvard Business Review posted an article that pointed out a pronounced “joy gap” at work. It stated that nearly 90% of respondents said they expect to experience a substantial degree of joy at work, yet only 37% report that such is their experience.
It begs the question; how do we find more joy at work? Of course, employers need to take more ownership of supporting their people to be happy by adding this as an annual objective. But employees also have a part to play; they hold more power than they think. Employees are in control of their lives and must advocate for their happiness.
Creating More Joy at Work
I have been there. I was on a mission to achieve, achieve, achieve – always chasing the next shiny thing at work, feeling like it was a race to “get there.” I felt like I was only as good as my last project. I jumped from job to job, intending to level up my corporate job title each year, thinking I would be happy when I got there. But when I did, nothing really changed. I was never truly happy at work. It wasn’t until a family vacation, where I finally had time to rest, that I realised I was defining success based on an outdated definition. I defined success as everything external to myself – power, money, status, and what people thought of me. In that moment of realisation, I knew it was time to create my own definition of success.
After this personal realisation, I started to see the same pattern all around me. People were never happy with what they had at work. They always wanted more. Like me, they wished for the next thing, job title, bonus check, vacation, or even retirement. Then it hit me. We are living in a TGIF society. A place of constant chasing, competition, and comparison. No wonder people are burnt out, stressed, and anxious – we are always on the run for something more.
We will never be happy at work until we shift to defining success on our own terms based on internal meaning. I have made it my mission to find out how we can find joy and happiness at work today instead of wishing for it in that next job promotion or milestone. Through countless interviews, coaching sessions, pilot projects, and conversations with people worldwide, I uncovered the four factors that go into our joy, and through that, the TGIToday™ formula was born. It is an easy-to-apply framework that leaders can use to help their teams find more joy at work.
Purpose + People + Pace
TGIToday™ = _____________________
Power of Choice
Here’s how it breaks down:
Purpose: discovering your inner calling, uncovering what you are here on earth to achieve, and dedicating focus to living it.
People: knowing what you want and need from the people in your life and being able to ask for it.
Pace: understanding what is important and meaningful to you and spending time doing those things.
Power of choice: being empowered to make a different choice if something in purpose, people, and pace is misaligned with your truth.
Here are some practical ways organisations can help their people connect with each of the elements of the TGIToday™ formula.
Purpose: Help people get to know themselves. Understanding who we are and what we want is a critical first step to creating a happier work life. If the “what” we do does not align with “who” we are, we will feel disconnected, leading to less joy.
People: Oprah once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” This quote applies to both our personal and professional lives. Yes, we don’t have 100% control of the people on our team; however, we can certainly control who we socialize with at work. Encourage your team to choose people wisely and ensure they only lift them higher.
Pace: Assist people in seeing the bigger picture. Many of us have things on our to-do lists that drag us down. Helping people shift their perspective on these tasks can help. For example, admin work isn’t my favourite thing to do; however, if I look at the bigger picture, completing this work allows me to lead my business, attend amazing talks, and work with wonderful people and organizations. Stepping into this “bigger picture” perspective helps when these tasks get me down.
Power of Choice: This is the most critical element. It’s great for our people to know what they need in purpose, people, and pace, but if we don’t encourage them to do something differently, then nothing changes.
The answer to helping people find more joy at work is to help them realize that they have the power to create a life they love. When an organization helps people learn and apply the TGIToday™ formula, it connects them to who they are and what matters to them. Most importantly, it empowers them to know they can create personalised joy.