We all need to have a chat about work culture — or at least listen to this Podcast
Besides running Twitter’s EMEA business, Bruce Daisley is fascinated with the topic of work culture and happiness at work. So much so that he started a podcast about it. We met Bruce in London just before the launch of season two.
by Imane Terrab
“Our relationship with work has changed in the last five years”, says Bruce Daisley, “and a major driver for this has been the arrival of emails on our mobiles.” We are responding to or at least alerted by work messages during all hours and it has increased our working time by 2 hours per day.
Has this increased our productivity? Not in the slightest. What has increased are our stress levels and the number of people who feel overwhelmed at work.
Bruce Daisley knows a thing or two about working and communicating in the digital age. He is a world-leading figure in the media industry. He has worked for Google and YouTube before Twitter ‘poached’ him to launch Twitter’s first UK ad suite.
He has seen colleagues and friends who have struggled with this new work order. He also operates in a world where few companies can be accused of not at least trying to make their employees happy — be it with pool tables, free food, music rooms, or laundry services. The list goes on.
But Bruce still felt a lot of companies haven’t cracked what makes a good work culture. He started asking colleagues and researching the topic, all of which eventually led to a podcast series; Eat Sleep Work Repeat has just launched its second season.
The podcast helps answer the question ‘how can we be happier at work?’, and it does so from many different perspectives. It talks about how workplace chat leads to greater creativity or examines how maybe a goal as complex as happiness might be best achieved by not pursuing it directly.
Happiness is a form of income
Bruce gave us red herrings to look out for, including what he calls “The Smoothie Delusion”: Perks like free smoothies and massages do not make us happier. People are not looking for pleasure at work, they are looking for growth and purpose.
This point especially resonated with me and reminded me of the excellent book Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, which offers a very good definition of how happiness at work should be looked at:
“Happiness at work means: Experiencing one’s own growth and unfolding, becoming more of the person one was meant to be, bringing more of oneself into the world.”
The authors go as far as calling fulfilment, personal satisfaction and meaningfulness new incomes and compare the potential impact of this shift to the labour movement in the nineteenth century. So understanding happiness in the workplace as something that can be achieved through providing pleasure is the wrong strategy.
There is a clear responsibility on the side of the company to make sure it’s employees are producing their best work and getting satisfaction from that, but in our conversation with Bruce, it also became very clear that the power and responsibility to change the workplace lies with all of us.
He gave us some of the key insights and solutions he collected. Most of these can be found in abbreviated form in the New Work Manifesto. It’s worth a read and it could be a helping hand for all of us to reclaim some of that energy and sanity that got lost when emails started to make our pockets vibrate.
Imane Terrab is Director of Strategy & Development at WDHB
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on October 10, 2017.