Making Work Meaningful: The Work Environment

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

The quotation is popular and has been attributed to many people, but regardless of who said it, the sentiment is one that many people feel. They don’t want work to feel like work. Rather than saying “it’s finally Friday!” or “is it Monday already?” there are many people who want to enjoy their jobs so much that they are happy to go to work each day. This is especially true with what is known as the “Millennial” generation, those who were born between 1981 and 1997 (or 2004, depending on the research).

But it’s not just the job itself that should be meaningful; it’s the work environment.

It’s important for employers to take note of this, as Millennials could possibly be outnumbering the Baby Boomers soon. The pet care industry is dependant on this workforce to fill many of the positions that pet care facilities offer. If the employer and employees are from different generations, there’s going to be a learning curve in order to understand how employees learn, perform and what retains motivated staff members.

There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance, or rather, work-life blending. Employees want more meaningful work, as it tends to be something that crosses over into other areas of their lives. Particularly in the pet care industry you may find many of your employees are involved in other pet related activities, such as rescue work.

People have changed and it’s less common today to have the type of employee who comes to work out of obligation, just does the job, and goes home at the end of the day.

Employers have businesses to run, however, being more flexible and creating a meaningful work environment doesn’t have to be disruptive to the business. Some things to consider:

  • Do I give feedback (especially positive feedback) on a regular basis, not just at evaluation time?
  • Am I transparent with my employees and communicate effectively so they feel informed?
  • Do I listen when they have a problem?
  • Am I flexible or am I too rigid?

This is a great starting point to help you, as an employer, take a moment and look at how you relate to your workforce. This does not mean that you don’t need structure and rules. It just means we all have to be more conscious of how we structure and approach our employee relations. Happy and motivated staff translate into employees that provide quality pet care service.


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