“We have reached a stage where work no longer suits us. We have become educated, we have greater ambitions to see the world and discover what life is about.
Life is becoming more stressful and many, almost most, occupations are in crisis and they don’t know what to do with themselves
…My ambition is to see how we can reinvent new kinds of work. And this is not a mad idea because every time the world’s population has exploded we have invented – humans have invented – a new kind of work. They invented agriculture, they invented industry… they invented the service society, they invented public employment and now we have to invent a new kind of work for the billion people who are coming in the world who either don’t have jobs, or don’t have jobs that use all their talents and give them everything they would like in order to become fully alive instead of 20% alive, 50% alive.”
We believe there are too many people spending five days a week looking forward to the other two; watching the clock, waiting to leave their desk, wishing their lives away.
The way we work is too often blindly modelled on the way people worked before us, because that is how it’s done. We commute to a designated space, we stay there for a designated duration, we do what we need to do to get through the day, we try not to do anything that will get us in trouble with our boss, we look forward to our time off. We do not expect work to be enjoyable, we don’t expect anything apart from pay.
When Team Boo talk about the way we lead and work and the way we show others to lead and work, people are astonished. They gape. Often, they then ask us to come to their workplaces – even more often they outright ask us for a job. Now and then we come across someone who can’t get their head around it; what we are saying seems too radical, too weird, too unlikely to succeed.
Not everybody gets it yet, and that’s ok. It’s ok because one day it will be the norm, the expectation, to enjoy happy workplaces and a healthy work-life balance. We are transitioning to a new reality and Team Boo are proud to be leading the way (waving pink and purple flags).
In his TED talk, ‘The way we think about work is broken’ psychologist Barry Schwartz says that work should be ‘challenging, engaging, stimulating, meaningful and if we’re lucky, important’ – not just an activity we perform for money.
Schwartz continues; ‘For the overwhelming majority, the work they do has none of these things. It is monotonous, meaningless, soul deadening. Working for pay and no other earthly reason’.
This really echoes when we talk about what the Japanese call ikigai, the concept that being paid is only one of several factors contributing to our satisfaction and contentment at work.
We get it. How are you supposed to run a hospital, a hotel, or a school effectively whilst offering the kind of flexibility that ensures your staff are able to be their happiest, most energetic and motivated selves?
We can’t always see how it’ll work because we’re thinking about the way things are now, not the way things will be in the future. We’re talking about a big shift; reinvention on a massive scale. First we change our hearts and minds, our policies and procedures will follow.
What can we do now though, in a system in which we are powerless?
Scwartz insists that we are not: “We have the power. We design human nature by designing the institutions within which we live and work.
…What kind of human nature do you want to help design?”
Contact Becky Martin at Team Boo on 01204 357980 or firstname.lastname@example.org