Did your day start badly?

A little while ago, I woke up one morning feeling terrible, I didn't want to be awake, I didn't want to get out of bed and I didn't want to go to work. This was unprecedented for me, as I love my work and usually wake up every morning full of enthusiasm and excitement about the day ahead. I was shocked by these unfamiliar feelings but not as shocked as what came next...

In my despair I messaged a good friend who knows me very well and told him how I was feeling. While his response was aimed at making me feel better with the old adage of “you are not alone” it had quite a different impact.

The idea that the majority of people didn’t want to go to work everyday was horrifying to me. I know I am lucky and get to do something everyday that I really love. I am also fortunate that my parents brought me up with the sensibility not to waste time on things you don’t enjoy unless you really have to. I am resourceful and can always find a way to avoid doing things I don’t enjoy. However, I realise that so many people are less resourceful and must feel like they have no choice, that going to work everyday, spending the vast majority of their time doing something they really don’t enjoy, is essential to their survival. In the interests of the businesses they work for and in the interest of society, surely this is something we need to address?

As My friend pointed out I tend to overthink things, so I started thinking about how this could be solved. How can we make more people happy at work? There is surely nothing more soul destroying than feeling like their is no choice, feeling trapped. In the animal world such a feeling will result in the animal spending a huge amount of effort trying to escape. As humans are we underachieving by spending time plotting our escape? Or do we just sit back accept our fate and wait for retirement when the cage door will suddenly be opened? In either scenario so many peoples efforts on their daily work must be so much lower than their potential. Employers all say they want their employees to reach their full potential so lets start by asking if they enjoy their work and if not, helping them find work they do enjoy.

As part of my discussion with my friend that morning, I asked him what were the things he disliked most about going to work everyday. His first response was, having to get up and go to the office everyday, (This was pre-pandemic) I asked why and he sent me a picture:

Why would anybody want to come and spend time here? While I am sure his company has spent a lot of money on creating this workplace, the truth is, it is understandable that people don’t want to spend time in these environments.

For all the horrible things that the pandemic unleashed on us, there have been some very positive outcomes. The cage door has been left ajar. People have now got a simple choice, they no longer have to go to the office everyday and spend time in soul destroying environments. This small choice seems to have helped many realise that they have more choices; not only do they no longer have to spend time somewhere they don’t want to, but also they don’t have to spend their time doing something they don’t enjoy and so the great resignation is in full swing.

However, once these people find new purpose in life, find what it is they enjoy doing, they still need to find somewhere to do it. This is what motivates me, I want to make a small contribution to ensure that as we evolve how we work nobody has to spend time in a soul destroying environment to work. Lets make the statistic 76% of people love coming to the office, lets make offices spaces that people enjoy. It is not just people that need to find new purpose and a path to a brighter future, we need to redefine workspace, give it a new purpose and let our workplaces play their part in our brighter future. Lets start by giving people choices and asking them what they want.

From my brief unmotivated experience I have made it my mission to play some small part in making people happy at work. This is my purpose and having that sense of purpose, having a problem to solve and working towards that solution makes me happy and motivated. So if your day started badly today or you are feeling unmotivated, my advice is to think about what you are doing, think about the choices you have and make them. Have a better start to everyday.