What kind of work is next for me? This question appears in front of me with the current Corona crisis. The need for at least a little bit of money to sustain oneself is evident, and is one of the few things that is certain in our society😁. In exploring possible answers I started to analysis the current working culture characteristics. This can be neatly compared to a beautiful exercise I did with my friend Michael: sketch your dream working space as open minded as possible.
The current situation
Lets take a very typical office environment in which most of my peers work. How does this compare to my personal values if I can choice my best possible surroundings? Lets generalise a bit here to make it easier. It is fair to say that their must be some kind of ‘trendy’ open office space, a few closed meetings rooms, a coffee and tea area, and perhaps a lunch room. Lets focus on the office space. I will not be surprised if it is clean, mostly white, with neatly aligned rows of desks. Maybe a few plants, some paintings, and books but that is probably about it. In my opinion a recipe for disaster in terms of prolific quality output. This dull, often uninspiring, and inflexible working space leave much to be desired to create a healthy, dynamic, and inspiring vibe that uplifts and facilitate the needs of people instead of draining it.
The social culture in an office is sometimes even harder to digest. Lets name a few: the focus on ‘meaningful’ output by just pushing a certain amount of hours; the relentless focus on money instead of connection, love, and nature; the often fixed office hours and deadlines that puts pressure on people; but mostly the unexpressed emotions, thoughts, and feelings that float between colleagues. It separates the people. It creates a lack of trust between parties and requires thick documents, contracts and reports to cover this up. Lets not forget this mysterious phenomena called ‘Office Fatigue‘, that is merely accepted by all as something you have to ‘deal with’ as ‘part’ of your work.
How can people perform with joy, ease, and energy to create useful things for the world, if we constantly mistreat our surroundings, neglect our bodies and not express our most important feelings? It is clear that all of these aspects are under large pressure seeing the rise in depression and burnouts. The current concept is flawed from the ground up. Its core values and ideals need to change in a major way if we want to see joyful energetic people at work, and most importantly if want to save this planet!
A reinvention of work requires many things. At a deep level the values and ideals of companies need to change from greed, fame, and money to honesty, trust, compassion, and adding meaningful value. In this transition people and nature come first, decisions are made in terms of ‘damage’ or ‘addition’ to the social and ecological structures of society, and the underlying goal will be to create beautiful products and services the world actually need. They are recyclable, biodegradable, easy to repair, designed to last, made with organic and ecological materials from renewable energy. They create connection within the society, help to express and bring a certain openness in today’s world, and build bridges instead of creating islands.
The transition to higher ideals will influence every part of society. The office floor within companies will reflect trust, joy, inspiration, openness and respect. It is an uplifting energetic surrounding which, most importantly, provides and facilitates to the individual need of each person. For example: a meditation room to come to terms and increase focus; a space in which to scream and punch a boxing bag to release stress; a dynamic space in which teams can create the right atmosphere to brainstorm and share ideas; a silent working space to be alone and focus; a place with beds, couches, and chairs to relax when one is tired; a green garden area to reconnect with the essentials of nature; and many more, but I think you get the idea 😋! This is all possible if the core values have changed to trust. Trust in the people that they align with your vision and vibe, that they want to work together to create a better world. This not only leads to much happier people, but also increases the quality of the output.
Where to start?
The image I illustrate is pretty far from current reality. It requires many difficult steps and a large transition in our society. But I think it is good to have high ideals and a strong vision. Creating such a space is something I’m want to work for. Within this environment we can start to create a better world which is more connected, more loving, and more joyful. A lot of small steps will eventually lead you to the top of the mountain. In my opinion there is no other choice then to follow this path. Only then we can save our beloved earth!