Work is no longer just a thing you do, a simple transactional relationship between employer and employee. It has become an integral part of who we are as individuals, organizations, and communities. The work-life divide is becoming increasingly blurred. Employees are looking for ways to make an impact and organizations are creating experiences over careers. With this shift, we are living in a rare moment of opportunity -- one that rewards curiosity and benefits the companies that cultivate the brilliance of people, harness the power of diversity, and foster an environment of learning and growth.
We have some work to do, though. The average full-time employee works 47 hours per week, with 25% working at least 60 hours per week. Americans work about 2,450 hours per year, yet only 13% of them actually enjoy the work they do. This alarming realization – along with our experience with employee engagement, work culture, and the state of the American office – motivated us to address these shortcomings.
The future of work is unclear. It will depend on complex social, economic, political, environmental, and cultural factors that interplay to create a landscape that we can only say will be different than today. But we can’t sit back and watch these changes take place. It is our responsibility to take an active role in shaping our future environments, creating human-centered technology, and fostering healthy, collaborative cultures.
It is in this light that we decided to explore what it means to work better. What could we accomplish if 87% of employees weren’t disengaged? How much better could we be if our work environment supported our needs and fostered our growth? What would it look like if we could re-define our relationship with work?
In 2018, OPX hosted the 2nd annual Work Better Day focused on the theme of decision making. This year’s theme was crowd-sourced, where we asked prior participants and partners, “What one thing would have the biggest impact on your work life”? The overwhelming theme that emerged was around the challenges and biases in “decision making”.
Work Better Day 2018 focused on the variety of vexing challenges that exist across the spectrum of decision making – the relentless pace of change, increasingly consequential decisions, unconscious biases – and how it impacts our lives, our work, and our ability to work better.
Gabrielle Bosché spoke to how, during the largest generational power hand off in history, we can understand the motivators of each generation to better facilitate this cultural change and efficient transfer of knowledge. Alicia Korten (The Culture Company) led a diverse panel – Deb Krizmanich (Powernoodle), Nate Dvorak (Gallup), Jeneanne Rae (Deloitte), and Andrew Sherman (Seyfarth Shaw)– exploring the audience’s questions about how to better deal with the pace of change, flow of information, biases, and fears associated with decision making. Finally, Lorne Epstein facilitated an eye-opening workshop on understanding our unconscious biases, bringing them to light, and creating a language around them so that we can minimize their influence in our decision making process.
Work Better Day brought together curious minds, visionary thinkers, innovators and change-makers from across industries to explore what it means to work better in today’s world. But we’re not done. We will continue asking questions, exploring, proposing solutions, and challenging us all to think about how things could not only be different, but better. In addition to the annual event, we instituted a more regular “Explorer Series” of programs exploring compelling evidence and captivating stories around what it means to work better.