As I write this blog post I’m excited to report that after months of work my book is finally being published on Friday. Half way through developing the manuscript I changed the title to #Upcycle Your Job and the more I worked with that the more sense it made to me.
Upcycling has been a growing trend in the past few years. When we upcycle we take something we would otherwise discard and improve it to create something of higher quality or value than the original. If we can do that with our clothes and furniture why not with our jobs?
In an ideal world employers would regularly upcycle their jobs
in line with their flexible working practices.
Re-designing jobs will soon become a necessity as we move into the age of Artificial Intelligence and the Gig Economy. And when we focus on the notion of improving rather than simply redesigning we become more creative and end up with work that’s more valuable to our organisations. The result is upcycled jobs that fit our 21st century working lives.
Occupational Psychologists have known for years that the size and shape of jobs has an impact on wellbeing. Unfortunately it’s an increasingly negative impact as employees struggle to disconnect from mobile technology that keeps them constantly tied to work. For many women the situation is exacerbated by employers who agree to reduced hours working but fail to provide any guidance on how the job might be redesigned to accommodate this.
Having people working on unproductive tasks until they are exhausted is not a sound business strategy. When we upcycle jobs we focus on high value outputs that use our most valuable skills. It’s not a new idea but one to which I was first introduced (via the Work Out process) back in the 1990s when working for GE.
In the absence of employer led initiatives upcycling our job is down to us: and our career may well depend upon it. If you’re tempted to upcycle I offer the following advice:
- It’s unlikely you’ll be doing anything new. There’s plenty of evidence that employees already engage in crafting their jobs to make best use of their skills and personalities. There’s also evidence to suggest job crafting enhances wellbeing.
- The intersection where your work-life balance preferences and your flexible working arrangement meet is personal so you’re the best person to upcycle your job accordingly.
- Running around with too much to do and little focus will only result in exhaustion. It won’t get you promoted. What will is an upcycled job that supports you to achieve the key tasks for which you were hired.
This month I invite you to become the Balanced Leader of your own life; and let my book show you how to #Upcycle Your Job.