On a personal level, we spend time trying to figure out our lifestyle. Meaning we spend time trying to understand how we want to live and how we want to spend a typical day. That includes figuring out things like where you want to live, what material possessions are important, and who you want to spend time with.
Given that we spend roughly one-third of our time working, doesn’t it make some sense to figure out our “workstyle”? I know, I probably just made that word up. But you get it. As an employee, do you know your workstyle in terms of what kind of company you want to work for, what benefits are must-haves, and what you want in a boss and co-workers?
More importantly, when you apply for a job, transfer, or promotion, do you consider it in terms of your workstyle? I hate to say it but if you apply for a job with a great place to work that’s won tons of awards and gives employees fantastic benefits THEN you find out that you can’t be yourself at work . . . aren’t you setting yourself up to be miserable?
If you want to figure out your workstyle, here are two questions you can ask yourself.
- Think about a time when you felt your most productive. And then list what was going on around you in terms of your work. Where were you working? What were your job responsibilities? What did you love about your job? Describe your boss and your co-workers. Describe your workspace. What benefits did you have?
- Now, consider the flip side. Think about a time when you felt your least productive. And then list what was going on around you in terms of your work. Where were you working? What were your job responsibilities? Describe your workspace. Describe your boss and your co-workers. What benefits did you have? What did you love about your job?
Find a journal or notepad and start jotting down the answers to these two items. It might take you some time to come up with a complete answer. Then you can start to compare and contrast the lists. You might be surprised at what you find. But I think you’ll see a list of things that you want (and don’t want) when it comes to work. This can be the foundation for understanding your workstyle.
Once you start to define your workstyle, you’ll have to figure out what you plan to do with this information. The first step will be comparing your workstyle to your current situation. Does your current job fit your workstyle? Or do you need to make some changes? And by changes, I don’t necessarily mean find a new job. Maybe a couple of tweaks will make a significant difference. I’ll give you an example.
Mr. Bartender and I recently moved from South Florida to North Florida. We’re still living in boxes, etc. But I need to work, and I have to find a way to be productive while I’m unsettled. It took me a little time, but I was able to make some adjustments to my office space that significantly improved my productivity.
I believe as we spend more time examining wellness and wellbeing, we need to think about our workstyle. Understanding how we want to work will help us be excited about work and allow us to produce our best results. It does take some dedicated time and self-awareness to reach the answers. But it’s definitely worth the effort.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Flora Icelandic HR Management Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland