Prioritizing Joy in Work

Guest post by John Hunter, founder of

Many lessons have been learned during the last year as the pandemic caused havoc with our lives and economy. During this time, we found new ways of operating our business that would have likely been deemed impossible before.

As we return to more normal lives, as vaccines allow us to be safer, we need to challenge ourselves to create a better future. Certainly we still have a long way to go on our path out of the pandemic, but we can now see real hope as vaccines are given to more and more people.

image of quote by Dr. Deming: People are entitled to joy in work.

The last year has caused many people to focus on what is most important to them. And they have seen that working from home is more possible than many believed previously. I worked from home part time for many years over a decade ago, but many people thought that was not practical. I knew that it was and that it offered many benefits by avoiding commuting to work everyday and working in environments that are often full of interruptions. There are also many benefits to working in an office (and in many cases work requires people to be on location). But working remotely is a reasonable alternative, and our organizations need to think about what is possible.

Recently, there have been several news stories about increases in retirements as people have learned “life is short” and people take the opportunity to prioritize what they value. This is good, in my opinion. We often get so focused on the day-to-day tasks that we fail to consider the most important long-term values. Individuals should indeed focus on what matters to them and how to systemically create a future where those values are actualized.

One of those values in my opinion (and perhaps more importantly in Dr. Deming’s opinion, given the blog this is written for) is joy in work. We spend a huge amount of our time and energy at work, and if we are not proud of the work we do it is a huge missed opportunity.

How can you create the opportunity for yourself to enjoy joy in your own work? How can you create opportunities for others in your organization to take joy in their work?

When you think systemically about creating more opportunities for joy in your workplace, you will find doing so ties together the aspects of the System of Profound Knowledge.

Related: Deming on Management: Joy in WorkRespect People by Creating a Climate for Joy in WorkCreate a System That Lets People Take Pride in Their Work

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