There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to contentment at work: meaningfulness. Recent studies show that doing meaningful work is now among workers’ top priorities after job security, income, working hours and promotion.
According to a blog in The Huffington Post, a meaningful work ideally includes autonomy, variety, challenge, performance feedback and the opportunity to work on a project from start to finish. But the blogger also points out that 90% of the people who have jobs that meet these criteria still don’t get the “meaning” they are looking for.
The Fast Company explains that “meaning” refers to a person’s desire to contribute to the well-being of others without expecting anything in return, which is easier in some jobs than others. Teaching, for example, the fire service, medicine and social work are all widely seen as meaningful. But that’s not to say that you can’t find meaning in other jobs. Here’s how:
- Craft your job
Amy Wrzesniewski, Jane Dutton and Justin Berg came up with the idea of ‘job crafting‘, an exercise where tasks are changed, and in the process so are the relational perspectives of the staff, so that they can feel more in control of their job and their contribution to the organisation. A good example is an insurance agent who helps clients to get back on track after a car accident rather than just being someone who processes car insurance claims. This connects the two parties, making the agent’s role a more meaningful work.
- Be connected to the people affected by your work
Many jobs have disconnection between the maker and the user. This demotivates people as they don’t see any direct impact from their work. Previous studies show that direct connection and interaction between employees and the beneficiaries of their services increase productivity rates. For example, being part of forums and social media communities, or having a developer-user meeting, can make a huge difference to how developers see their jobs.
- Ask yourself about the meaning of your work
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to see meaning in your work is to remind yourself constantly of your positive impact on people, according to an article by the American Management Association. The article also adds that putting yourself in other people’s shoes will help you see how they benefit from your work.
The Orbium way
At Orbium, we bring meaning to work by being innovative and cutting edge in our day job, and by helping communities. One of our outreach programmes, for example, gives laptops to orphans in Madagascar and Indonesia to help close the digital gap and increase social inclusion. If we didn’t have our day job, we couldn’t do the outreach.
Searching for fulfilment is a natural part of life. Finding it and making a difference is up to you.