According to Gallup, one-third of Americans are showing signs of an anxiety disorder or depression, and roughly seven in 10 people are struggling or suffering in their lives. We are undergoing a mental health crisis in our country and this, of course, bleeds over to the workplace. As a result, it is more important than ever for individuals and employers to focus on holistic wellbeing. This includes more than just physical wellness – it also includes mental, social, financial and career wellbeing.
We spend a lot of our time at work. As a result, it stands to reason that career wellbeing – liking what you do every day – is extremely important. To expand on the definition, career wellbeing is how you feel about your job today, your career goals tomorrow, and how your employment can help you accomplish what you want in life.
Many people say they are “living for the weekend” which is unfortunate because not thriving at work has a negative impact on our lives. According to an Investors in People study, the top reasons why people are unhappy at work are poor management (49%), followed by pay (40%), and not feeling valued as a member of staff (39%). Thirty percent of those questioned said that not enjoying the work itself was a core reason behind their unhappiness.
Employers definitely have some responsibility to create a culture where wellbeing can thrive if they want to retain and engage employees. There are many methods of doing this, but if you take a look at the list above, having well-trained, effective managers; fostering recognition and appreciation; and helping employees identify and use their strengths are top of the list.
You, as an individual, also have responsibility for your career wellbeing. Below are some strategies you can use to elevate and improve your satisfaction and engagement with your work.
- Improve your awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences to find work that you enjoy doing. The Working Genius, a relatively new assessment by Patrick Lencioni that I have used to help others, is a great tool for this purpose.
- Work on ways to boost your performance – like not procrastinating and getting more comfortable with asking for help. When you increase your performance, you feel a better sense of achievement and wellbeing as it relates to your work.
- Increase your resilience by understanding how you deal with stress, your stress triggers, and how you can manage it more effectively.
- Spend more time around people that you enjoy being around at work. Minimize contact to the extent that you can with negative coworkers or those that drain your energy.
- At the end of each day, take a pause to appreciate what you have accomplished.
- Have regular career conversations to talk about your progress and aspirations with your manager. If they don’t initiate this, you can!
- Maintain a healthy work-life integration by setting clear boundaries which will help you increase your career, mental and physical well-being.
- Actively take steps to learn and grow by developing your skills and behaviors, reading, researching, and learning from others.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own happiness and wellbeing. Taking charge of your career is critical to getting on the right track. So, start thinking about what you want and need to thrive in your career and keep taking the appropriate steps to get there.