A recent survey highlighted that professionals who are working from home are finding it hard to feel like they are making a difference, feeling that there is a gap between their work and their organization’s mission. If you don’t feel a sense of purpose, you risk not being engaged and undermining your performance and career growth. It is critical to find meaning in your work. Here are three ways to not waste this unique era and continue to feel a sense of purpose in your job while working from home:
1. Ask your colleagues why.
If you don’t know why you are doing something, ask. For example, your manager asks you to analyze a data set. If you are unclear why or how this will help your manager, your team or the company’s client, speak up. Ask your manager, “To ensure I am getting the results we need, would you please clarify the reasoning behind the analysis?”
Information has meaning and can give you meaning. Information and purpose will help you do better work. Don’t be afraid to inquire about the purpose behind requests, tasks or projects.
2. Appreciate what you have and your current situation.
Recognize the privilege you have now. Sometimes, being appreciative of your role, the work you are doing and the organization you contribute to gives sufficient meaning. That is, you don’t need to ask about the purpose of every particular task that you have been asked to do. You trust the mission. You trust that you are making an impact.
Let’s say you understand why you are putting together a business proposal but are unclear on a particular aspect that your manager wants included in the work product. This element of the proposal may be taking up a lot of your time or is uninteresting to you. There are times when you don’t need to understand or enjoy every aspect of your job. If you understand and appreciate the bigger picture, that can sometimes be enough.
3. Reflect, and make the connection yourself.
If being appreciative of your work isn’t enough or you don’t want to ask what the purpose of something is, determine the purpose on your own. To help you do this for a particular project element, consider the goals laid out by your manager or client. Read your company’s mission statement. You can find meaning in your work if you take the time to reflect and connect the dots.
When you understand why you are doing what you are doing, you will be able to more effectively communicate with your coworkers and connect with your clients. Companies and clients don’t want people investing time and money in work that has no purpose. There should be a reason why you are doing the work you are doing. If you don’t know the purpose, figure it out. Knowing the purpose of your actions will help you to succeed in your role.
Your career advancement can hinge on doing meaningful work. If the purpose is not apparent, make it clear to yourself. Ask your manager or coworkers the purpose of the work, appreciate where you are and take it upon yourself to identify the meaning of your work. Use purpose to propel your career.