Conscious Work Means Taking Responsibility
Conscious work isn’t about complaining or criticizing. It’s not about quitting and moving to an ashram on the other side of the planet. Conscious work is all about taking responsibility for the life we have been gifted.
Being a conscious leader means that we understand that work is part of life and that we are one whole person. And this is where we can influence the future by knowing that we can’t expect anyone outside ourselves to make conscious choices.
When we are living consciously, we choose where we work, how we work, and what role work plays in our life. And that is what is only starting to happen in the world when we look at our current reality and what people truly want. But how many are willing or ready to step into the unknown and come up with a healthy world of work?
Disconnects Are Becoming More Evident
There is a growing disconnect happening when it comes to conscious work. The farther management is from its people and the actual work, the gap that is emerging is bigger and bigger. And becoming aware of how work needs to evolve is increasingly important to create environments that help us thrive.
Recently, school leaders required teachers to attend virtual parent-teacher meetings at the physical school, even though the teachers have excellent Internet access at home. And when schools instituted these rules in Florida, for example, not all teachers were willing to comply. To them, it was and un-conscious work requirement that benefitted no one.
I recently stayed at a big chain hotel for 45 nights as an experiment. I reached out to the General Manager (GM) when I arrived. I could tell she was stressed. I saw her working the front desk often because of staffing issues while also running the property. Her assumption was that I was just another loyal guest complaining about something, which was not the case. But having to do her job and a few others had her running around all day.
I also connected with a few of the women that were cleaning the property while I was living there. One day, I saw one who seemed very stressed and asked her if she was ok. Patricia told me that at 69, she was tired of working in a machine.
Getting rid of the daily housekeeping meant that it takes longer to clean the rooms and the front desk was pushing for early check-ins. It now takes longer to clean the rooms since there is no daily service but the staff have the same amount of time as before to clean them. Patricia just finished 15 rooms in a row and her back was killing.
Management just keeps putting more and more pressure to be efficient and productive. And Patricia made it clear that she was not complaining as she understands that everyone is stressed out. She too sees the GM working the front desk and under pressure.
She never thought she would still be working at 69 but it is what it is. Work has always been important to her because it meant she could give her three children a home. But she is tired, frustrated and doesn’t feel appreciated.
There Are Bridges to Be Built
Front line employees do not have an option to work from home. Their work requires them to come into the physical space. And many need to work two to three jobs.
And we are more the same than different, most of us simply want healthy work conditions and to be valued—not through words but actions. Slogans no longer cut it.
How long will people accept increasing workloads without appreciation? How much longer will we put up with unrealistic and unhealthy demands? How many stories like Patricia exist?
Most futurists, until The Great Questioning, only focused on professionals and not millions of front line employees who are the actual heart of organizations. The discussions right now are about hybrid work, remote work or going back to the office. What about the need for conscious work that matters?
The Future is Conscious Work
Is it surprising that people are making conscious life choices, quitting, resigning or moving around? Not at all.
Is it shocking that people are not showing up to work after accepting roles? Not really.
Are we going to see more and more companies trying to hire people? Absolutely.
Will we see more disconnects in the workplace unless there’s more listening, dialogue and creative conscious work practices? Oh yeah!
Why? Because conscious people are tired of doing more with less, poor management and the grind.
When we start recognizing what our personal role is in what is happening around us, we create new opportunities to step up and make the shifts that are needed. It takes us convening and having open dialogue where we can truly listen and become aware of healthy options.
We don’t need to have our heads stuck in the sand. A company that does not treat its people well will be found out in this connected world of ours. An organization that poisons our water supply will no longer be able to hide it as easily as even a decade ago. The people working in that organization may also start choosing to work for one that does not harm the planet.