What if we told you that research into the challenges and opportunities posed by remote work existed long before the pandemic shuttered the world's doors? In a Forbes article, Miriam Grobman dives into the story of Sarah Aviram, who back in 2018 was permitted a year of remote work by her company in order to research exactly that. Initially, Aviram loved it: meetings in Vietnam, after-work trips to the beach in Mexico, and more! Having felt uninspired at her job prior to the transition, this was exactly what she'd wanted when she'd approached her company with the proposition to work remotely. Freedom at last!
... That is, until the honeymoon phase wore off. As it turned out, being able to work from anywhere was only a band-aid for not being motivated and fulfilled by her work itself. During the year after this revelation, Grobman did research on remote workers and published a book on the topic right as the pandemic began. In it, she describes the six motivators that drive our career decisions and our sense of fulfillment at work: money, identity, routines, growth, impact, and joy. She asserts that the most fulfilled people prioritize the latter three and minimize the pressures related to the former three.
Of course, that's easier said than done, but progress is a marathon and not a sprint. A good first step is for managers and employees to reflect on and discuss to find the real causes of disengagement at work. For example, what skills or capabilities do you want to develop? What rewards work best for you? What routines do you have that don’t serve your goals or the team's goals? Grobman provides these questions and more as a starting point for understanding and improving our relationships with work.
Here at Menlo, we obviously have a strong focus on the last of Grobman's six motivators in particular: joy. As a company, we want to give opportunities to our team to do work they find meaningful and empower our team members to seek out opportunities for growth, too. We also want our work to feel meaningful in the way that it serves our clients and end users! How does your company empower employees to find meaning in what they do?
Read more about Grobman's findings related to the importance and influence of fulfillment at work, as well as ways to improve it, here!