Human beings are at the center of everything. We’re the ones calling the shots, making the decisions, and creating changes that ripple throughout our world.
We design and operate complex systems with the intention of making things better in the future than they are today, and we do this by bringing people into organizations that serve a desired purpose and strive to achieve specific objectives. Yet as we’ve advanced our world, created an era of abundance, and developed enabling technologies that make us more connected than ever, we’ve somehow lost the beautiful qualities of life that make us human. In our squeezing of people for growth and productivity, we’ve lost sight of the value of being present, emotional, and most importantly, human.
Leading organizations have become bloated and overwhelming for the people who work there, while startups and smaller entities push people well beyond their limits, both operating under the antiquated post-industrial philosophy of “more inputs equals more outputs.” And when we layer automation technologies on top of the physical labor and knowledge work we partake in, we push people to the brink of their existence and expect more out of them still, which is counterintuitive to the beauty of these technologies being an abstraction layer that could enable us to work less and achieve more output.
Furthermore, the removal of the human elements of work has come from organizations that used to operate under the philosophy that we’re able to compartmentalize our lives by leaving our work stuff at work, and our personal stuff at home. People were told to keep their emotions at bay and not bring their personal problems into business environments, because they interfere with work getting done.
Yet we now know that’s impossible! We are each but one person living one life, with all our experiences impacting the person we are, the perspective we have on the world, and the approach we take with our work.
What happens to you throughout your day affects your mindset, mood, and energy, and whether you like it or not, it affects your work. Your daily experiences — good, bad, and indifferent — affect whether you’re positive or negative, joyful or fearful, and flip so many levers within you that you may not even be aware of.
What’s awesome is that modern organizations are using this knowledge to their advantage and are encouraging people to explore what makes them human by bringing their whole selves to work. No longer must we hide the human factor of our beings; many leaders are now encouraging people to embrace their humanity and take care of their human needs, because research shows that when people feel healthy, happy, and whole, they perform better, produce better work, and stay longer with their employer.
Companies such as Google, Microsoft, GE, Ford, LinkedIn, Comcast and more, offer training for leaders and employees on emotional intelligence and mindfulness practices, encouraging people to explore the inner workings of their humanity and tap into their human presence. These programs encourage people to experience themselves purely as they are, which serves as a means for increased personal understanding, acceptance, and fulfillment, along with work satisfaction and, therefore, productivity. By telling people it’s OK to be human and have emotions, hardships, diverse perspectives, non-work priorities and more, these organizations are creating better environments where people want to work, as the people feel empowered to be their best — true — selves, as opposed to sacrificing their needs for the sake of their employers.
This is the era that is upon us, and we’re just now beginning to see the early phase of mass adoption, as organizations continue to adopt and encourage practices that make people whole. What should grab the attention of the leaders in power to create this change is that the results of these human practices are better workplaces, more enjoyable lifestyles, and by proxy, more creativity, innovation, and growth.
It’s becoming crystal clear that more human workplaces lead to more successful organizations, and it’s time for leaders everywhere to focus on making work more human.
It’s only a matter of time before those who don’t will disappear and fade away.
The future will be led by those who understand our most basic human needs, as everything an organization creates is designed to serve the people on this earth. So let’s make the time to understand ourselves, our environments, and how we can each be the best version of ourselves.
From there, the sky’s the limit!