What’s Keeping You Working?

It’s Time to Find the Tasks You Love.

Research shows, to drive long-term productivity and joy, you need to find the parts of your work that you, personally, truly love. Have you – and your business – created space to do what you enjoy?

We recently attended an automation conference hosted by one of our clients, UiPath. And, while there were lots of great talks about how much work robots can do, one session that really grabbed our attention was about our own relationship to the way we work.

The speaker, researcher and New York Times bestseller Marcus Buckingham, explored the idea of what keeps us going. Yes, to afford our homes and food and limited-edition Hello Kitty collectibles, we pretty much have to work. But that doesn’t mean we’re always doing the best job. You’ve probably heard a bit about “quiet quitting” lately – employees putting in just the requisite amount of time and energy and effort to get by. But what about more than just getting by? What drives us to genuinely pursue real excellence in our work?

The answer a lot of businesses go to, Buckingham said, is the why – having the right mission or purpose to motivate you. And yes, purpose is great. There’s a reason so many startups have clichéd mission statements about “changing the world through cybersecurity” or the like. Purpose gives our work significance. But it doesn’t necessarily keep you working – at top performance or in top condition.

Doctors and nurses do work with an incredible amount of meaning. They also, Buckingham noted, have some of the highest rates of burnout and turnover of any profession. It turns out, it’s not enough to do something that matters. You have to find something deeper. Love, as it turns out.

Now, before you scoff, Buckingham gave us an example – the housekeeping staff at Walt Disney’s resort hotels. 10% of cleaners were performing above and beyond – so much so that guests would request them by name – and Disney wanted to know how they could inspire the rest of their staff similarly. In interviewing these top performers, Buckingham told us, Disney discovered they all had one thing in common: They really LOVED some aspect of their job.

It wasn’t every part of their job. And it wasn’t the same part: One person liked doing different towel origami for each guest. Another just straight-up liked making even vacuum lines on the carpet. But, the point is, they had all found at least a few moments – a task or an accomplishment or a way of doing things – that gave them real pleasure.

Further research has supported this, Buckingham told us. Obviously every job has its good and bad parts. (I myself have a contentious relationship with timesheets.) But, for a job to be sustainable – to keep working with your productivity, joy, and sanity intact – researchers have discovered that at least 20% of your job needs to include elements that you enjoy.

So, as you consider your own business, brand, and job – the ways you function, the ways you attract and keep the very people on your team (and that includes you!) – don’t just focus on the why. Start paying attention to the what and how – the work people really like – and how you can help them do more of it.

Honestly, 20% is a pretty low bar, and UiPath thinks they can help you raise it – by taking the cruddy, repetitive, boring tasks off your plate, so there’s more room to find and do the things you love. Here at WHM, we think we can help you out a bit, too. Building and maintaining a brand, driving awareness and leads – they’re hard work. And they’re definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But, we’ve been lucky enough to find that rare breed of person who DOES like staring obsessively at KPIs, who HAVE FUN writing technical e-books. Which means we’re pretty good at them. And we’d be more than happy to take on that work for you, so you can find more of the work you love to do, too.

Want to chat more about work or love or joy or what we can do to take the load off?

Nate Walsh

Senior Copywriter