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Spirit at Work

The past several decades have seen profound changes in the nature of work. At the same time, employees are experiencing an increased desire for meaningfulness at work. Employers are recognizing that the changing nature of work requires a new employee contract. In order for corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations to be successful today, many consultants assert that employees need to be committed to and passionate about their work.

Among the new approaches to increase workers' passion about and commitment to their work is the promotion of spirit at work. Spirit at work is about finding meaning and purpose, beyond self, at work and making a difference. It involves profound feelings of wellbeing, a belief that one's work makes a contribution, a sense of connection to others and common purpose, and an awareness of a connection to something larger than self.

Spirit at Work Research

It is important to us that we know what we are saying and that we have tested the ideas that we are promoting. As such, we have been researching spirit at work since 2000. Read on to learn about some of our studies and findings or go straight to our publications

WARNING: This is going to sound a little . . . well . . . researchy.

Defining Spirit at Work
We called it "spirit at work" because there seems to be an energy that inspires these individuals towards others or a cause, in spite of challenges. Through this research we discovered that spirit at work includes four dimensions: engaging work, a sense of community, a spiritual connection, and a mystical experience. (Read more about defining spirit at work...)

Measuring Spirit at Work
Without a measure of spirit at work, we have no way of knowing whether spirit at work positively impacts wellbeing or productivity nor do we have a way to assess the effectiveness of interventions directed at creating spirit at work. Thus we undertook the arduous task of developing an 18 item Spirit at Work Scale. (Read more about developing the Spirit at Work Scale...)

Fostering Spirit at Work
Spirit at work is a shared responsibility between the employee and the employer. Personality, personal actions and organizational conditions come together to foster spirit at work. (Read more about fostering spirit at work...)

How does Spirit at Work Compare to other Work Related Measures? Spirit at work correlates with employee satisfaction and commitment to their organization, two factors that predict employee productivity and retention. (Read more about the relationship between spirit at work and other work related measures...)

Spirit at Work or Burnout? Given our findings about the correlation between spirit at work and work related attitudes such as employee satisfaction and commitment, we suspected that we would find a negative correlation between spirit at work and burnout. We were right!(Read more about the relationship between spirit at work and burnout...)

The Promise of Spirit at Work Having developed the Spirit at Work Program, we were interested in knowing if it was actually having any positive effect on those who participated. The results were amazing! (Read more about the promise of spirit at work ...)

 

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How people describe spirit at work

It was total bliss, as if everything was perfect, which it was. . . . I was feeling as if I was "in the moment" not being hurried by tasks, deadlines or activities, but by a connection with a greater source that had a wonderful effect on the workplace at that moment. It was genuine, authentic, and everything seemed to make sense.

"I was "in a flow state" so that I felt pulled along in something that I had only partial control over . . . like riding the rapids of a fast-flowing stream."

"There's a real sense of joy about it, a real sense of excitement, and a sense of gratitude to be part of something that's so important."

"Recognition of each employee and his or her contribution promoted a sense of purpose, meaning, and mission. I felt my work was contributing to an enterprise much larger than all of us."

"It became pretty apparent that we all needed to work together to achieve the goals we all shared in general, so we developed a sense of community and common purpose that was inspiring, I think, for all of us."

"I immediately discovered Spirit - a true relationship with the Divine ... not the religious ideal but the personal experience of being connected with some force that we might call God or Goddess or Nature or All That Is."

"The experiences were just extraordinary, like peak experiences. . . . It feels like it wasn't a job; it wasn't work. I was doing something really important, and as a bonus, I was getting paid for it."

 
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