Going to work: A joy, or a chore for you and your team?

Going to work: A joy, or a chore for you and your team?

The background

Nearly 38 years ago, as a trainee accountant with Chantrey Vellacott in London, I was asked by my landlord’s son-in-law – “do you leap out of bed in the morning or is it hard to get up?”

He was at the time not much older than I am now. He was one of those who loved going to work and probably enjoyed every minute working for Natwest.

If you asked everyone in your team the same question, what kind of response do you think you would get? To some extent, it’s a rather sensitive question; I was a little taken aback and had to think about it carefully. Generally I have always been glad to get up and get out, but there have been times when I was glad it was Saturday.

Current thinking

One of my favourite podcasts is Eat Sleep Work Repeat, created by Bruce Daisley. He has written a book entitled “The Joy of Work” which describes 30 ways to fall in love with work. In his experience many of us have lost that first love and offers some ways the joy of work can be rekindled.

The Review

The book is set in three parts with a challenging epilogue.

Part 1: Recharge

In Part 1 he offers 12 ideas that can get us recharged, so we feel we are winning and not drowning. These range from having a set time to focus without interruption, to having totally work free days (a popular topic right now).

He discusses (amongst other things) the issue of headphones and how their use can be divisive. I would agree that listening to someone humming a Beethoven symphony blissfully unaware they are making more noise than the rest of the office combined is not great, but it is a way to help concentration. Have used it myself on a couple of occasions.

Open offices make wonderful airy spaces but also increase potential distractions. All of his ideas are there to help us feel recharged and happier with what we are achieving.

Part 2: Sync

In Part 2 he outlines eight ways to bring teams closer together. He calls this sync. As an owner a big challenge is not to be a bad boss. It’s easy to stifle original thought and create fear of suggesting change.

One of his simplest ideas is to move the location of the kettle, the aim being to encourage interaction. It has often been shown to increase the flow of ideas within a business.

But the kind of interaction required should be spontaneous not forced. We may all be familiar with the way ideas come to us when we are away from work in completely different surroundings. Forcing people together rarely provides the desired effect, but when we get together even over tea making, problems shared can become problems solved.

Greater interaction leads to the development of sync within the team, the condition, Bruce explains, of people working together in harmony.

Part 3: Buzz

In Part 3 he talks about Buzz. This is reached when the team is recharged and in sync.

During my time in the sixth form I had the chance to go sailing. Nothing fancy, just me, a skipper and a Firefly dingy on West Kirby’s marine Lake (a few miles from the site of the future Arrow Park Hospital!). On a day with little wind, sailing was a bit of a chore; we had the kit, the boat and the watchful skipper, but we needed the wind to give us the buzz. When the wind blew the boat came to life and you could hear the water bubbling under the hull, it felt like we were flying across the surface.

This is the state it is possible to be in with our team, everyone pulling together and we see the business fly.

The epilogue

And finally, he comes to the epilogue. A personal account of how the group came together. Almost like family supporting one another at a crucial time.

For any small business, that feels that the team is not as happy as it could be, this book is really worth a read. If nothing else, you can see how someone else has achieved that situation of buzz and identify areas where your own business is succeeding or has areas for improvement. Use it to determine whether there is need for a recharge, better sync or a coming together to create a wonderful buzz.

How will you be getting out of bed tomorrow?

Grugeon Reynolds Ltd

10 March 2020