The future of work is a hot topic, and for good reason. Work provides financial benefits, a sense of purpose, and social connections that are critical to individual health and well-being. That is why we are a signatory to the Health Benefits of Work consensus statement, which argues that work has a positive impact on people’s health. The work we do, however, doesn’t just impact our personal lives; it impacts the health of our communities and society as a whole.
But to understand the health impacts of work, we must first consider what it really means to do work. Work is a complex concept, and one that’s not well understood by many people. It is a concept that encompasses many different things, from physics to human psychology to business processes. In this article, we’ll explore the definition of work to better understand its impact on people and how we can transform the nature of work to improve employee health and wellbeing.
In physics, work is defined as the energy transferred to or from an object via the application of force along a displacement. It is a scalar quantity, meaning that its value is equal to the product of the force strength and the displacement.
When it comes to the world of work, there is a broad spectrum of what is considered “work.” For some, the act of working involves performing repetitive tasks over and over again, which can lead to boredom, decreased productivity, and even depression. On the other hand, there are some who find joy in their work and feel that it contributes to the greater good of society. These individuals are able to make an impact through their jobs, and they are often rewarded for it.
The problem with this approach to work is that it doesn’t necessarily focus on identifying and addressing unseen challenges and opportunities. This is the key to transforming work and creating more meaningful jobs for everyone, including frontline employees.
Redefining work must involve cultivating the skills of curiosity, imagination, creativity, intuition, and empathy to support a workforce that can find meaning in its day-to-day tasks. This vision of work also requires rethinking business operations, management systems, and leadership capabilities. It must also include creating a more supportive workplace environment that enables employees to engage in their jobs with passion and ownership, which is necessary for employees to be healthy and engaged at work.
By redefining work, it is possible to unleash more of the potential for meaningful, health-promoting jobs for all workers. This includes fostering the ability to identify and address unseen problems and opportunities, which will ultimately result in more employees who feel passionate about their jobs and act like owners. In turn, this will provide an opportunity for employers to capture more of the value that employees can create. And that is truly the future of work.