Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Does your workplace work for you?

What do you hate most about where you work?

It’s been some time since I’ve been in a place of work so to speak. Loosely speaking I have my own place of work, although it’s not inhabited by frustrated and tired workers – rather my family. When I tell people my occupation, I’m always met with “you’re so fortunate to be able to work from home,” they then go on to exclaim how their days have been made worse by terrible bosses and annoying peers.

I always remember the underlying sense of frustration amongst my friends. Money aside, I never understood why someone would choose to stay somewhere when they weren’t entirely happy.

In truth, those that felt frustrated at their current situation were probably justified in doing so. Workplaces often miss opportunities to retain their best staff members by making poor choices either to save money or to impose a stricter regime.
I’m always reading articles about forward-thinking workplaces and how they’re redefining employment, but I don’t know anyone that actually talks about it first-hand. Sadly, I think a lot of people get too comfortable where they work.

How often then, do you challenge yourself about your place of work? Does it contribute to your career prospects and/or your family? Does it impose on them? Here are 5 things to look out for in your workplace to ensure its adding value to you and your family:

1) Opportunity
When opportunity knocks, you need to be ready to answer the call. But how much opportunity is available in your workplace?

For many this is a question they’ve never actually asked their bosses for fear of being ridiculed, but any job worth its salt has a clear progression pathway mapped out ready for stand-out employees to take advantage of. Similarly, the opportunities available need to meet your own criteria with what you want to achieve in your career!

Ask your bosses directly what the next step is for you and how you’d get there. Being more audacious is something that works more often than you think.

2) Equal Pay
You’ve probably overheard topics of conversation based around the gender pay gap, but how many of you actually question if it exists in your own workplace? If it does, to what extent?
As has been the case for many female employees in recent months, the gender pay gap does exist and it’s something that’s steadily being addressed. In the past 10 years the gender pay gap in the UK has been reduced, but it still favours male employees.

Most employers conduct their own research into the gender pay gap in their workplace and publish their results but employees shouldn’t fear to ask for a pay review if they fear they’re being underpaid.

3) Fun
Fun might seem like a non-essential part of work, but certainly for me I have to enjoy what I do.

Having fun at work isn’t always as literal as cracking the odd joke and being everyone’s friend, it means being sufficiently challenged and excited by your role.

Taking the time to evaluate your work entirely is a useful exercise, certainly in the early stages of your career. Longevity is always greater than short-term gain, being able to do something you love should always be prioritised over monetary gain. After all a happier you is a healthier you!

4) Open-Door Policy
How often do you have a problem that no one’s able to address?

Managers that operate with open-door policies have historically been the most successful, certainly in my experience. In reality, not many managers take this approach and a lot of employees are left to resolve issues themselves. This leaves employees feeling neglected and undervalued.

5) Commute
This might seem like a very simple consideration, but it’s an important one.
It’s obvious that those with longer commutes spend longer periods of time away from their family, time that could otherwise be used to create new memories! It’s also no secret that commuting leads to some of the worlds worst stress (school runs included).

Saying this, it’s not always convenient to take a job closer to home. Good opportunities are hard to come by and they aren’t always geographically available.

Of course, there’s much more that contributes to a great workplace. The above are just a few things you can address today to improve career prospects and your home life.

There are two constants that must be considered with work, firstly it’s always going to be something takes a concerted effort on our part and it should never be too easy. Secondly, it’s never always going to be great at adding value to your professional life and at that point you should feel comfortable enough to address any issues, whether it’s a pay review or working from home.

This is a collaborative post. 

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