By the end of the day, one of the candidates may well be looking back to today as one of their best days at work, at least so far. Of course, the work for the successful President of the United States is only just beginning, some future days maybe best days and some may be the worst, it’s not an easy job for sure. The best and worst seems to be how many of you look at your own jobs and careers.
Presenteeism, time spent at the workplace while not productively engaged in work, is the new absenteeism
The conclusion of a 2015 Canadian study, The True Picture of Workplace Absenteeism, with 1,300 people including just over 1,000 employees, found that 80 percent of respondents self-reported experience with presenteeism. 81 percent indicated that they had gone into work while they could not perform as well as they would have liked.
The reasons for doing so included physical sickness (47 percent), stress or anxiety (40 percent) and workplace issues and/or problems with co-workers or managers (22 percent). Depression was specified as the cause by 15 percent of respondents.
A quick Google search of #BestWorkDay uncovers plenty of top 10 lists on ways to ensure you have your best days at work. The common advice to these problems seems to fall into two camps.
- Productivity hacks. How to handle your continuing to expand inbox, or not take on more work
- Buy a Pomodoro timer.
- If it can be done in 2 minutes do it.
- Learn to say ‘no’.
- Only do the 3 most important things.
- Avoid meetings.
- Positivity and Relaxation. Set yourself for the day with various coping techniques.
- Read positive books or mantras.
- Sleep more.
- Forgive, don’t judge or hold grudges.
These approaches and techniques do have a place. I follow many of them myself. But they fail to fully address the fundamental issue about looking forward to work, or ideally having your work not even feel like work at all.
In my own career, I can look back at my own Best Day at Work and not necessarily identify one specific day or event but more recognize a period of time when I was in, what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls Flow – the psychology of optimal experience.
The first time was early on in my career was when I was recruiting sales and marketing professionals in the consumer goods industry in the UK. There were days when the time just flew by, I was enjoying everything I was doing and I felt I was valued and making a difference.
The second time is now, running my own business, usually when I am presenting a personal branding keynote or workshop. I am sharing a subject I am passionate about, that I truly believe can help people lead careers and lives with more meaning and I am connecting and building relationships with my audience.
Both those #BestWorkDay ‘s are examples of what we crave as human beings – connection, feeling valued, making a difference.
Dan Pink writes about this in his book Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and the factors of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
So how can you go from perhaps feeling some days presenteeism is the winner to feeling like today was your #BestWorkDay ?
7 Tips to Having Your Best Day at Work
- Build toward it. Understand that your best day at work is not going to happen overnight. Focus on making small steps, celebrate the minor gains and be grateful for what you have.
- Have clarity. Spend some time thinking about your longer-term career goals and what it is going to take to get there. Commit to conscious career management rather than letting, or worse waiting for something to happen.
- Live your values. Look for alignment in your own values, be sure that you are doing all that you can to stay true to these. If you can work for an organization that shares some of those values, even better.
- Bring your passions to work. Our hobbies and interests are often part of what we work for in the first place. But you spend more time at the office than enjoying them so look for ways to incorporate them in your work.
- Use your strengths. Look to make most of your work about using your unique abilities and strengths. The things that you do so naturally and so well that it feels effortless. These are what will give you energy and flow.
- Collaboration. We want to connect and build relationships, so seek out ways to get involved in projects with others at work, or find ways to bring in others to work with you.
- Delegate. Stop trying to be the hero, or feel you are bothering others who are already busy. You cannot do everything, stop fooling yourself you can and find ways to delegate the work you don’t do well to others that can.
Thankfully for me, I feel my best day at work happens now many more days than they don’t and part of what drives and inspires me is I want to see that happen for others.
Organizations can do a lot more to help employees have their best day at work more often, but the reality is that in most cases it's up to you to make that happen. LinkedIn has produced a list of the top 40 companies that attract and retain talent the best so if your current company is not doing it for you perhaps it's time to move on. https://lists.linkedin.com/2016/top-attractors/en/global
Be prepared, though, because if you happen to end up at Facebook for an interview a popular question they ask is “On your best day at work, the day you come home and think you have the best job in the work, what did you do that day?”
How would you answer that, what was your #BestWorkDay? I would love to hear in the comments below.