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Self Care

How to Find Joy in the Workplace

Two nurses smile standing next to each other #joyintheworkplace

By Kristen Crusoe RN MN EdD

Amidst all of the uncertainty we have regarding returning to work or for many, continuing to work post-Covid 19, one thing is clear: We need each other more now than perhaps ever in our recent or even far past. And, not just for logistical and operational support. We need each other as part of our psychological PPE, personal protective equipment. We need each other to share and co-create an emotionally safe and welcoming space where we can experience joy in the workplace. With all of the attention on safety related to infection control, why you might ask, should we pay any heed at all to something as elusive as joy, in the work place? Because, it is as essential as handwashing, mask wearing, and social distancing when possible. Workers at every level of the organization must feel a sense of belonging, of purpose, and that their work is contributing to the well-being of others, in order to be well themselves.

Finding the Unique “I” in Your Team

We often hear the cliché “There is no “I” in team.” I counter that there are many “I”’s in our teams, and each one is unique and special, bringing their own strengths, skills, and abilities to the work of the team. It is the Whole, Part, and Greater Whole, and at each scale, magic can happen. How?  Let’s apply Adaptive Action to this question and discover what patterns that create joy already exist in yourself that you can amplify, manifest, and share with your team and organization.

Finding the Magic in your Workplace

What is this magic? Joy in the workplace creates a shared bond and energy that can see us through the hard times. Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in his forward to the IHI’s White Paper Framework for Improving Joy in Work writes,

“In our work in healthcare, joy is not just humane; it’s instrumental. …The gifts of whole, confidence, and safety that health care should offer patients and families can only come from a workforce that feels hopeful, confident, and safe. Joy in work is an essential resource for the enterprise of healing.” And, for Assisted Living and other Senior Living and Older Adult care providers, it is even more essential.

So, what does this mean? Executive Director of the National Center for Assisted Living, Scott Tittle, writes in his January, 2020 blog, “The ability to recruit and retain high-quality caregivers is an ongoing challenge because of several factors. This is a hard job, and it takes a special person to work in long-term care…. But it’s also an extremely rewarding career, and we must increase awareness around this idea of intrinsic value while also finding ways to stay competitive against other employers at this time of low unemployment…. Data also points to the importance of a sense of purpose to retention,” The IHI’s White Paper expands on this idea describing the value of joy as being more than the opposite of burn-out, and that joy is about connections to meaning and purpose.

Now what can we do?

Again, according to the IHI’s Framework for Improving Joy in Work, one of the most effective and simplest steps leaders and followers alike can take is asking, “What matters to you?” Taking a whole systems approach where we attend to the whole, the part, and the greater whole, we will ask ourselves this question as well. First, to our team mates, the whole, so that we can connect with them on a personal level. On a heart-to-heart level, so that we know each other as humans sharing this time, this space, and this work together. Then, the part, our own individual selves, that we bring to each moment. What truly matters? What is it that this work, this life is asking of us? What brings us joy and how can we share this with others. Then, the greater whole. As an organization, comprised of teams, which are comprised of individuals, each with our own unique purpose, and our shared purpose, what matters to us? And, where in this shared purpose, can we discover and be surprised by joy?

Kristen Crusoe registered nurseYours in health,

Kristen Jan, 2020

Kristen Crusoe RN MN EdD, Health Coach, is a consultant with Elderwise Inc. From a health coach perspective, Kristen shares advice about holistic health and how we can live our fullest lives, now and into our preferred futures.

Phone: (541)419-4036