Does Your Location Affect Career Contentment?
Findings showed the coast on which you’re employed could very well affect your contentment with work. The top 10 happiest states are concentrated on the west coast and, even with the east coast receiving fairly high salaries, its inhabitants aren’t afraid to bash their employers on the social media airwaves.
Job seekers and employees alike can very well use this as an excuse to pack up everything and head for the sunny shores of California, but what does a study like this do for the employer who cannot so easily uproot? Hint: It does not mean you’re doomed to a life of unhappy employees nor does it mean you are given a location-based ‘free pass’.
Happiness is Contagious
Of course, the easy route for employers would be to decide those employees mere minutes or miles from beaches are destined to be the happier bunch and if your company is land locked, there is no hope for smiley team members. With Florida, which is nearly surrounded by ocean breeze the least happy state of all, this thinking is absolutely wrong. Company happiness is cultivated, shaped by leadership and grown by employees who genuinely support the company and its values.
As a leader, some of the best ways to spark positivity is to lose the pie in the sky outlook. Being realistic with deadlines will help employees feel like goals are attainable, but not stagnate the overall project. Sometimes things are rushed, but letting every week be one driven by speed and nearing deadlines will exhaust the team and burn out its resources. Develop a process and keep to it for every deliverable after.
To Do: Don’t forget to celebrate even the small wins because without those pieces, you won’t have a whole. Recognition and relaxation are both key to employee happiness.
Happy does not equal engaged
Remember above all else, while an disengaged employee is unhappy, there is not as much correlation between happiness and productivity. Yes, employees with sunny dispositions might be raising the workplace positivity bar, but they aren’t always getting things done. Shockingly, this is good news. While big name companies are boasting incredible (and expensive) employee benefits, companies with a more modest benefits budget are left wondering what to do to stay competitive. While benefits are important and necessary, they are not the end all be all.
A Gallup study found that happiness and freebies are not making employees engaged. In fact, engaged employees who took less than one week of vacation in a year report a 25% higher overall well being than actively disengaged coworkers who took 6+ weeks of time off. It is engagement that is offering more to employee satisfaction and productivity.
To Do: Determine what an engaged employee looks like within your workplace. Compare that template with a happy worker. Find the gaps between the two and create a coalition aimed at closing them.
Are you innovating?
Today’s workforce is unlike any before. You could argue that’s an unnecessary statement as no generation is the same, but the truth is, no group of individuals has been so entrenched in technology, trends, communication and education than those who are gaining employment today.
By the year 2020, almost half the workforce will be made up of those who have spent the most money on secondary education than any before. Interestingly enough, though entrepreneurship is as much of interest for today’s generations as it was for the baby boomers, innovation and creativity in the workplace is a top value.
Of course, innovation is something everyone wants. The freedom and inspiration to create unheard of ideas as well as the means and manpower to carry them through is valued by employee and employer alike. The challenge lies in the process itself. Often times, we are strapped for time and money, leaving employees to do repetitive tasks and too strained to sit back and think of something new to try.
This leads to loss of inspiration and sometimes even boredom or disinterest in the job. Luckily, the up and coming workforce is one of the most diverse ever seen before and when companies embrace diverse leaders, they are 70% more likely to capture new markets as well as encouraging 3.5 times more likely to reach their full innovative potential.
(Final) Things you can do
Can you remember the last time your to-do list actually changed? If not, find ways to tackle projects outside of your comfort zone. Invite your staff to do things a little differently and watch the “challenge accepted” vibe spread throughout the office.
Yes, this recent study has unearthed some pretty fascinating information and, yes, there’s no denying that location is a factor in determining how pleased employees are to get out of bed everyday. But, your work to gain engaged employees is not futile if you happen to be watching the sunrise first every day.
Instead of accepting defeat, let your office be the greenhouse where only positivity can grow. Encourage employees to communicate troubles, discuss new ideas and work to hit deadlines the best way they know how.
While the top rule for many real estate agents might be “location, location, location” it is less integral to those running a company or hiring for one. Build out your engagement levels in other ways: encourage your employees to learn your corporate values, hire those who work well inside your company culture, create an environment that is both challenging and rewarding and save the beach for company retreats.