Focusing on the Deeper Benefits of Work

As the summer season winds down, people all across America fire up their grills, pack their cars for one last summer adventure, or just stay home and catch their breath all in the name of Labor Day. This national holiday didn't exactly start off with celebrations, but instead protests. In 1882 the Central Labor Union of New York City planned a single event to bring workers together from a variety of industries and unions who were tired of working long hours to make a formal statement. This statement came in the form of a one day strike that included a parade and a giant picnic. The entire idea of this holiday is to recognize the role that work plays in our lives, yet few actually talk about it or celebrate it.

Perhaps you are fortunate to be able to give your staff they day off in honor of the holiday, or maybe it isn't feasible - either way, as an employer you can inspire and motivate your team, thank them, and help them remember what their work means to them.

It's Personal

It is natural to simply think that people work to earn a paycheck and leave it at that. What is important to get people to consider is what that paycheck actually means to them. The paycheck is the feature, but the benefit - well that is more personal.

I was recently on maternity leave; 9 weeks of blissful time at home with a new baby. It was at about week 4 that I really started going a little stir-crazy and missing all that work brings to my life. This isn't to mean that I didn't cherish my time off, but it did make me pause and reflect on what work means to me. It got me thinking about the role it plays in my life, and inspired me to want to work that much harder upon my return to show my gratitude.

Isn't that was every employer and employee wants? A mutually beneficial working partnership that both parties respect.

A Means to Live

A paycheck means you can have some peace in knowing that you have a steady income that helps you provide yourself and your family with the basic necessities such as: housing, healthcare, transportation, food, and quality childcare. As employers, this is why we all work to be competitive with our compensation packages to ensure that our staff is adequately compensated to meet those basic needs. The more core needs that are met, the more focus your team member can give to their work. If they are always worried about not being able to make ends meet, how can they give work their all?

A Chance to Give Back

It is natural to want your life and your work to have meaning. Many of today's workers (and we aren't just talking about millennials here) are hyper-focused on seeing meaning in their lives. Whether it is the paycheck that allows them to donate to a cause they care about, time off to be able to volunteer, or the meaning of the work in and of itself, meaning is something your employees are thinking of. Offering up volunteering opportunities, matching charitable donations, and communicating how the work you do makes a difference can be key in building a stronger work/life connection with your team members.

A Desire to Grow

If we as humans aren't growing, then we are falling behind. Everything is changing at a rapid pace and people want to be able to constantly learn and grow. Our brains and bodies actually require it to function at peak performance. Chance are, you are aware of Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs and that the desire to grow falls into the self-esteem category. People need to feel achievement in order to whole. Work should be offering continual opportunities to grow and learn. There are times a person will reach their fullest potential within an organization, and that is okay - no job is meant to be forever. As employers, it is important to provide as many possible growth opportunities as we can. And in the instances when we can't, be honest about it and celebrate your growth-minded team member who decides to spread their wings in order to continue their learning elsewhere.

To Experience an Adventure

The benefit of work in some people's lives could be fulfilling a need for adventure. Perhaps it is the means to save money to explore the world or maybe, the adventure is found in the work itself. There is a reason why so many people are eager to jump on board at a start-up company, and chances are it is that thirst for adventure, a chance to explore the unknown. While some would cringe at the idea of frequent travel, others flock to those opportunities in order to meet their thrill for adventure. 

A Way to Feel Productive

For some there is no greater pain than that of being idle. Work helps us stay productive, on task, and even though some may complain that they are too busy, if they weren't, they would be going mad. When we are idle it is easy for our minds to wander, and while a little daydreaming is quite fun, too much mind-wandering can bring people to deep and dark places of feeling down and out. Feeling productive and having a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day is a confidence builder.

A Place to Belong

Not everyone has a family like the ones portrayed in classic Norman Rockwell paintings, and not everyone is surrounded by a strong support system. This means some will look for that sense of belonging  within their workplace. Most people feel like they spend more time with their co-workers than their family, so it is natural that your work can form lifelong bonds. 

There are undoubtedly many more examples of benefits that work has on our lives, but what is more important is that we all take the time to reflect on it and encourage our team to do the same. Thinking about the deeper benefits of work can be a good exercises to help you get through some tough days when you hit a wall. Everyone's reason may be different and they are most always of a personal nature - but trust that there is always a much deeper meaning behind why we all get up each day and head into work.

If you are looking for your next employee that will value the role work plays in their lives, contact Manpower today!