We spend a large amount of our time at work. You may work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 40 weeks a year, which is quite a large proportion of our lives. Naturally, we want to feel happy, comfortable and valued in the workplace, which means completing work that is meaningful to us. By meaningful work, I mean knowing that the work you do matters to the overall objective of a company, to you and your team, and the community as a whole.
It’s in our human nature to seek meaning and purpose in everyday life. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, author of a Man’s Search for Meaning says that the search for meaning is the “primary, intrinsic motivation of human beings.” So, feeling appreciated alongside a sense of belonging is extremely important in the workplace to help you find a purpose in your role. Meaningful work is specific and personal to the individual. What is meaningful to you might be different from your colleague. As an employee, you must be searching for roles that are important to you, if you are to succeed. It’s about understanding who you are as a person and what you value.
What makes work meaningful?
- Work that uses your talents and skills to your maximum potential.
- Jobs that make you feel a part of something bigger – your daily tasks are contributing to a larger project.
- Knowing your contribution means something. If you weren’t there to do your job, would the company function just as effectively? What do you add to the daily structure of an organisation?
- Experiencing balance between your work and personal life. If you’re working overtime and finding yourself at the office late, your personal life will be neglected.
- Having control over a work project. Work that allows you to have an input, rather than your employer specifically instructing you on what to do.
The impact of meaningful work
Meaningful work is linked to higher levels of employment, reduced absence and better quality performance. Both you and your employer will benefit from these! Knowing you are a valuable asset to your company, that your work makes a difference will make you feel much more appreciated at work. If your daily tasks are dull and repetitive (photocopying, printing, coffee making, etc.) you’re unlikely to feel valued on a bigger scale. Feeling valued makes the individual more productive and willing to stay at a company for longer. They feel motivated to succeed and report improved well-being and job satisfaction.
In the Deloitte Talent 2020 report of 560 employees surveyed across all major industries, 31% stated they were not satisfied with their jobs and 42% said their current roles were not making good use of their skills and abilities. With this revealed, employees need to be structuring their working environment around the work their employees do. They need to focus on retaining their high-skilled employees who may be at risk of leaving.
Millennials have something to say about meaningful work. They search for jobs that can provide career growth and want to feel fulfilled in their roles. We wrote about this in another blog post. Millennials view meaningful work as a big component of their employment values.
How can you identify if your work is meaningful?
- Do you take pride in your work?
- Is your work creative and interesting?
- Are you praised or recognised for good work?
- Does your work leave you with mixed feelings? Work shouldn’t just fill you with joy, it should present you with challenges!
When searching for a job role, consider the work the role involves and how it will make you feel. Look for a job that encourages you to do and be better. Make a positive impact on the company and start building a more meaningful society. By signing up to Yondur you can discover your top career matches!