Monday, May 12, 2008

Meaningful shedworking

Shedworking is not just about working in a shedlike building in your back garden or yard (well, not entirely). It's also a philosophy, an approach to living. As architect and home office designer Neal Zimmerman says: "More than just a periodical review of outbuilding home workplaces, I see your work as being about the spirit, sustenance, imagination and romance of human shelter. There's something in a tiny building which tugs at these fundamental human needs, in a way that no mansion or castle ever can." So Shedworking particularly welcomes the latest essay from The Work Foundation which looks at ‘meaningful work’, why more people seem to be seeking it, and what employers can do to make work more meaningful? Author Stephen Overell says:
"The way people talk about ‘fulfilling their potential’ in a job could only happen in the modern world of work — it is simply not something that would have been said a few generations ago. Meaningful work rests on the rise of individualism and identity as pressing concerns for large numbers of people. It speaks of huge and perhaps excessive expectations of working life — the historically unusual sense that fulfilment occurs, or should occur, in the everyday, ordinary business of going to work... What goes on inside workers’ hearts and minds about work has become profoundly important to what they produce and how they do it."
Among key points in the report are:
> Social values that affect work have changed: a basic psychological orientation towards maximising income and status is today being balanced by a stress upon self-expression, diversity of view, aesthetic concerns and issues of self-fulfilment.
> Meaning, identity and individualism at work have risen at the same time as traditional collective institutions such as trade unions, communities and corporate hierarchies are seen has having declined.
> Doing excellent work for no other reason than its own sake is intrinsic to the notion of meaningful work. However, increasing bureaucracy and market forces may undermine the search for meaning.
Well worth a read.

No comments:

Post a Comment