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Could your workday be better with more cake?

It seems a lot of people choose to be unhappy at work nowadays. Facebook posts talk of Wednesday being the ‘hump’ day, and Twitter uses the #Mondaymotivation to provide a pick-me-up for the start of the working week. It seems our workday is not seen as part of life’s rich journey.

So let’s have a reality check:

Anyone who works a thirty five hour week spends 21% of their week at work, or 46% of their weekly waking hours at work.  I felt it was a worthwhile question to survey people asking ‘What would make your workday a whole lot better?’.

The results?

50% said more professional colleagues

23% said better quality clients

15% said more time

8% said a better working environment, and

4% said nothing – their workday is perfect as it is.


More professional colleagues (50%)

“If only everyone was as professional as me, eh!” is what one person said. It seems we’d like our colleagues to change their behaviours to improve our workday! Responses were grouped as:

  • Colleagues who collaborate more. One person said that their company operates as a silo mentality, and Managers prefer not to involve their peers in projects that they should, resulting in duplication or work and treading on the toes of other departments.
  • People who do what they say they will do. It seems our colleagues are not relied upon to complete agreed meeting actions, turn up at meetings, and even pass on accurate messages.
  • People who respond to emails.
  • People who make decisions. This was quicker decisions, timely decisions and one person said they had a Manager who struggled making any decisions!

What does this say about how we view others as affecting our workday?

Can we make any changes in how we operate?

This could be sending emails that time out to show the receiver they are late, or putting clear date due on emails, or not emailing but communicating in some other way?

Better quality clients (23%)

Forty percent of people in the survey were business owners. When asked why having better clients would make their workday a whole lot better, similar reasons to the above – more professional behaviour – was given. Responses were:

  • Clients who respond to emails. So how can we help them prioritise? Service Level Agreements do help, or maybe you can do an upsell and help them by doing more of the work.
  • Clients who make decisions more quickly. Again, putting deadlines on this may help, and explaining what is in it for me (WIIFM) to your client can help motivate them.
  • Clients who are less reactive. The client who always puts pressure on you to do work at the last minute should pay a premium price for this behaviour. This will help to make your workday a whole lot better.
  • Clients who pay more, pay on time and don’t expect work for nothing. Then spend your time getting better clients. A client who doesn’t pay on time is a bad debt, a client who asks for something for nothing is a pimp, and put your prices up. Get paid what you think you are worth.
  • Clients who respect the fact that you have other clients. Then have a service level agreement to help manage expectations.

More time (15%)

Ah, that old chestnut! What surprised me is the amount of people who said this, who didn’t respond to my question ‘So what can you do to help this situation?’. Some shrugged, said it was part of life now, and that they guessed this is what everyone had said to me.

Most businesses live with the boom and bust syndrome, and most, if not all, are operating on a lean basis – just enough people to do the work. I think smoothing out the boom times is one thing I have learned in our business – the work arriving, all at once, and then the quieter times, due to not marketing enough during the boom time.

We use associates to ‘smooth’ these times, and become managers of the process to ensure quality standards are met.  The bust times are therefore more easily managed because we are still networking, marketing and working on the business during our busy times.

Having a coach to work with any size of business will enable you to identify what company culture you want, how many days per week/hours per week you intend to work, and to put strategies in place to monitor it.

One person had just had a new baby, so her answer was understood!

Better working environment (8%)

Air conditioning was what half said – it was a hot day, so it seems whatever is affecting us does put it the top of the agenda. This reminds me of Herzberg’s ‘hygiene’ factors of motivation, and how extrinsic factors can come top of our wants list, yet do little to motivate an individual.

Cake, cake and more cake were next, and I must admit that cake does put a smile on most of our faces. More space was the other thing that can make our workday a whole lot better.

Nothing (4%)

5 people said that nothing could make their workday a whole lot better. It was perfect as it is. When they expanded on this, they said it was because they had worked hard to get a work-life balance, and they stick to it. One person said “I visualised my ideal workday a long time ago. I did it because I’d had many, many days that had been far from ideal. Once I worked out what I could do about it, I implemented the plan, and I live that ideal workday every day.”.

“Choose a job you like, and you will never have to work a single day in your life.” Confucius

Notes – survey carried out at Corby Expo, 22 June 2017. 113 total respondents, mixed between 40% self employed/small business owners and 40% employees. 56 more professional colleagues, 26 respondents better customers, 15 respondents more time, 9 respondents better environment and 5 respondents nothing.

Cakes courtesy Guy Salmon LandRover, Riverside, Northampton. Picture copyright The Development Company. The cakes tasted every bit as lovely as they look! Author wants to work there!

I was surprised at the results, and would be intrigued to know what others thought.

Our question to you: What would make your workday a whole lot better?

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