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Caring for ALL in the New Culture of Work 

 May 24, 2022

By  fouts

In my coaching practice, I hear from people who are ready to cash out everything they own in order to create the life they truly deserve. I also hear from leaders who want to transform the workplace, not with another compliance-based EAP but with training in life skills that support everyone in being their best at work and at home, support creativity, innovation, and a growth mindset.

Everywhere I go people tell me they’re:

  • Burned out and overwhelmed
  • Wanting to continue with work from home or hybrid situations
  • Seeking a job where they feel valued, safe, and heard

I get it, and I can see that for many, post-traumatic stress may be at the root of this. When they look at going back to the same old job, people are setting higher standards for how, when, and where they want to work.

They want to work somewhere they look forward to being in. One that makes room for their professional and emotional needs, and offers an opportunity to feel good about what they do and how they do it.

Why? Some became caregivers for family or friends during the pandemic and have different responsibilities, or maybe they discovered the satisfaction of being around their kids or family during isolation. Maybe they see how working remotely made for better-focused work time and less redundancy in the meeting calendar.

The (not so) good ‘ol days
It wasn’t so long ago that work was largely transactional in nature. Leaders delegated through inflexible structures based only on performance and timelines. Putting the focus on results and the bottom line didn’t leave a lot of room for considerations like inclusion, belonging, and compassion. In fact, ruthless “tell and yell” leadership styles were waay too common.

Why is the “great resignation” still happening?
Taking a job for the sole purpose of paying the bills and hoping for a pension so you could live your dreams was common 30 years ago, but today? People want more from work than a transaction. They want to feel a part of something bigger than that.

They want to make a difference in the world and feel they have a purpose.  They want a sense of belonging and human connection, including with their leaders. They want to have a relationship of trust, psychological safety, and encouragement to grow. Most importantly, they want to live life first.

What employees – leaders even– want has changed.
We’re looking at a more diverse, and hopefully more aware workforce. Priorities have changed and even though some are still planning on hybrid work, more and more companies are demanding we come back into the office. At a time when we have the lowest job satisfaction rate in more than 20 years!

Giving employees scooters, in-house restaurants, and dry cleaning isn’t enough anymore. An employee benefits trend study by Met Life revealed that many more employees are planning to stay in their current roles for less than a year.

How can we make going back to the office better?
In my talk for The Future is Mindful Summit this spring, I shared some ideas, and as well in my TEDX talk for Purdue University this spring. Have a listen and let me know your thoughts.

If you are in management, talk to your team. What do they need after being on leave or working from home in isolation? Consider bringing them together either virtually or on-site for conversations about how to leverage their strengths, and deepen communication, focus, and creativity.

If you’re having a lot of conversations about burnout and stress levels, consider encouraging management to add mindfulness or other stress-reducing offerings to the company wellness program.

Look at your wellness programs beyond compliance, liability, and insurance risks.

It’s well established that wellness programs include coaching, support services, leave and flex-time policies, mental health support, and how family medical leave is structured.

Consider creating a portal where employees can share their challenges and needs for childcare, eldercare parenting or special instances. (Without judgment!) When everyone knows the challenges that others are dealing with, they will step up, and now you have a community within the company to help each other.

As we begin to go back to the workplace there is so much we can do to create a workplace that people want to be a part of. Please share your ideas in the comments, and if you want to brainstorm about what you can do in your office? Let’s talk. I’m here for you.


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