The 5 Keys to Creating a Meaningful, Productive Work Experience

By Michelle Smith

Does work need to be meaningful?

Many of us have resigned ourselves to the notion that work is something we do primarily to earn income. Those earnings then allow us to purchase goods and services we can use to improve our lives and the lives of those we love and want to help.

Increasingly, however, both employees and employers are being encouraged to see work in a whole new light — as something we do to gain productive experiences that become the basis of our happiness.

In her book The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here, Lynda Gratton, a professor at the London Business School, suggests we should be seeking work opportunities that help us grow, keep our knowledge fresh, and push the boundaries of what we can become.

But what exactly is a meaningful and productive experience in the context of work? And what can each of us do to achieve it?

These are crucial questions that few of us have asked ourselves, but Lynda pondered them through her Future of Work Research Consortium, whose members have defined what it takes to make meaningful work a reality.

1. Enjoyment

For work to be meaningful, it must be enjoyable. We achieve satisfaction and authenticity by being able to bring our “whole selves” to work and being known and understood as more than just our job title.

While it’s unrealistic to expect every single element of our work will be pleasurable, our enjoyment is increased the more frequently our work reflects our interests.

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