Why I Don’t Hate Work

Posted June 4, 2014

Like many of us, I’ve struggled with finding balance between work and life. If you follow this blog, you know that rediscovering balance and joy in my work was one of the reasons Sara and I took the risk to launch ILLUME. We wanted to create meaningful work as part of a meaningful life – not the other way around. We wanted to foreground balance, fulfillment, and personal growth for our employees and ourselves.

This decision was not all about feeling good: we firmly believe that if we support balance and happiness in the lives of our employees our clients benefit from a more energetic, focused, and creative team.

In a recent NYT OpEd, entitled “Why you Hate Work,” the authors detail the mass burnout we are all facing. They cite Gallup stating that just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, and that “For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience.”

The authors offer a solution that speaks to ILLUME’s vision for our team. One that I’ve printed out and have posted on my wall at work. They state that employees are more satisfied and productive when four core needs are met:

  • Physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work;
  • Emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions;
  • Mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and,
  • Spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.

Delivering on these values is not an easy task. You have to believe in your bones that more work does not equal more success. You have to believe that quality of work is more important that the number of billable hours crammed into a single day. That your employees need time to think. Your employees need to walk away from their work when they’re stuck. That it’s OK to make time for an afternoon run (or derby practice) to recharge.

Like all beliefs, this requires a commitment. It requires making a ritual out of asking questions like: “How busy are you?” and “Do you need more support?” It requires a flexible workweek when needed and part time and full-time work options that still provide opportunities for growth and advancement.

Most importantly and most challenging, this approach requires trust as an employer. Trust that your team will use their flexibility and time wisely. Trust that they will communicate openly. Trust that they will work like the responsible and capable adults that they are.

At ILLUME, we are looking for team members to grow and trust in us. We are a new company with significant opportunity to carve our areas of expertise, grow into an industry leader, or to settle into a job that will challenge you while affording time to take care of your kids, your parents, or most importantly, yourself.

We are looking for inspired people to match our vision for what work can look like and to help us co-create an enjoyable workplace built on trust, fulfillment, and quality with a bit of levity thrown in. If you are interested in joining us please visit our Engage page and learn what it takes to be a member of the ILLUME family.