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Love The Work – Hate The Job May 26, 2009

Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, attitude adjustment, creativity, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, leadership attitude, office whiner, productivity, telecommuting.

How is it that people can love their work but hate their job? I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s not the job that they hate. It’s likely the work environment. In other words, they love their work and responsibilities but hate the commute, despise their little cubicles, simply tolerate their fellow employees, agonize through the dress-code, get annoyed by meaningless interruptions during the day, hate getting sidetracked by office chatter and overall, simply wonder in deep silence “what is his problem?” when it comes to hearing the office whiner in the next cubicle doing the exact same work.

People who love their work but hate the work environment will usually be the first to seek another job. The average cost of replacing a good worker is about 1.5 times the annual salary of the worker. Simply put, if you’re paying a good worker $50K per year, it will cost the organization about $75K to replace a worker once he or she leaves.

It’s likely that only four hours out of an eight hour work day are productive anyway (perhaps even lower depending on the number of memos flying or how crappy the photocopier is). Idle chatter, noise all around, pointless meetings, quick conversations standing in the doorways of a cubicle, gathering in the coffee room to celebrate Mary’s birthday, figuring out a place for everyone to go for lunch, fifteen minute coffee breaks that last 20-25 minutes. You get the point here. There’s a lot of clutter to struggle through before people actually get to work. And the more people you gather in one place the more distractions there will be.

As an employer, the question you have to ask yourself is: are you paying your workers for their productivity or their presence? Sometimes though, they are one in the same. For example, a house framer has to be on the job in order for the work to get done, but someone who is researching marketing trends doesn’t actually need to be in the office for that to happen. If a worker has a high-speed Internet connection, a computer, email and a phone, they can pretty much work from anywhere.

The key to productivity is to remove distractions. If a worker can work from home (spouse and kids are gone for the day), why not see what kind of productivity you can get from your workers? Offer them an opportunity to occasionally work from home while they are plugged into the office network. Remove the distractions, remove the agonizing commutes of lost productivity time, remove the reasons and excuses for not being able to concentrate on a specific task and, most of all, remove the office whiner (please, please remove the office whiner before someone staples a “Stop Whining” sign to his forehead).

People who are allowed to remove the distractions from their work are more productive. Productive workers find greater reward in their work. People who find great reward in their work rarely seek greener pastures. In other words, get rid of the distractions and productivity will rise. It has to. There’s nothing else left for people to do but work.

ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Leadership Attitude means having a mindset that inspires your people to want to be better. Treat your people like the potential leaders that they can be and they will rise to the occasion. Treat them as rats in a maze (think of what cubicles look like from overhead), and they will simply be looking for a way out. Think about creative ways to get more out of your people while allowing them a little freedom to do it themselves. Force them punch a clock and they’ll be thinking up creative ways of punching you. Let people do the work they love but don’t force them to do it in a place they hate. Creativity is a key component of a Leadership Attitude.



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