As we know the world of work is changing at a pace, included in that change is location, are people office based, home based and remote, or a mix of both? Not having to do the daily commute has its advantages of course, but also going into a central place of work arguably enables more focus, it facilitates the networking opportunities and creative conversations more proactively and at the end of the day you return home, not having sat there all day taking approximately ten steps between the breakfast table and the ‘home office’.
That’s fine, but what is it that people really want when it comes to the ‘authentic workplace’, to be really inspired, engaged and at their most productive? Google for instance would be a cool place to work of course, bean bags instead of chairs and slides instead of stairs, but surprise surprise, that’s not actually what people want at work. It’s not the material stuff, it’s the deeper emotional stuff that makes the difference, how the people and environment of the workplace evokes true feelings and emotions, negative or positive.
Two leading authors on this topic are Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones and in their new book, ‘Why should anyone work here? What it takes to create an authentic organisation’, they identify ‘six broad imperatives’ (by the way nicely creating the mnemonic – DREAMS):
Difference—“I want to work in a place where I can be myself, where I can express the ways in which I’m different and how I see things differently.”
Radical Honesty—“I want to know what’s really going on.”
Extra Value—“I want to work in an organisation that magnifies my strengths and adds extra value for me and my personal development.”
Authenticity—“I want to work in an organisation I’m proud of, one that truly stands for something.”
Meaning—“I want my day-to-day work to be meaningful.”
Simple Rules—“I do not want to be hindered by stupid rules or rules that apply to some people but not others.”
Light bulb moment, the secret is out everyone! People just want to be treated as adults, let off the leash a bit and trusted to take responsibility (and perhaps make a few mistakes whilst learning) and have regular, honest conversations with colleagues on what’s going on and how am I doing? For me a fantastic formula, what if every workplace managed to achieve these six imperatives, what difference would it make to how people felt at work and how they felt about work and what difference would it make to loyalty, productivity and profit?
Human beings actually operate in quite a simple way when it comes down to situations they are in and people they are with and to get the best from them is simple too (in theory). People just need to feel safe and valued, all of the above.