An Angst-Free Workplace

By Spicer Matthews

Like most people I ask myself regularly, “What is important in terms of my career?” Typical answers include salary, benefits, type of work, location, hours, and the like—but recently I concluded that angst is my top concern when it comes to crafting my career.

Often, working conditions cause a lot of angst. You might have a difficult client. You might be managing a difficult employee. Your coworkers might drive you nuts. Your workload might be too much. Your deadlines might be too tight.

Sometimes angst is minor and other times major, but angst in any form can lead to stress, lack of motivation, and unhappiness. Why would anyone want to spend 8+ hours a day working in any state other than utter delight? Of course, some might say that a workplace where everyone is free of angst is a fantasy. I respectfully disagree.

Removing angst from the workplace has to come from two places: management and employees. Management needs to foster an angst-free workplace, and employees need to stand their ground and not allow the work environment to cause them angst. That said, simply ignoring things that cause angst is not a solution I would recommend or tolerate at Cloudmanic Labs. Instead, you must identify angst and destroy it (carefully, of course).

How Do You Build An Angst-Free Workplace?

Every workplace is different. Every manager is different. Every employee is different. Therefore, no one solution that can work for every company. The best advice I can give is to encourage every member of the team to be the guardian of their own angst. For example, if the way tasks are assigned to you is causing angst, consider the possible alternatives and collaborate with your managers and coworkers to enact a solution.

As managers we need to set aside our dictatorial ways and work with each and every employee to figure out what is best for them. If an employee really likes to work at night why force them to be in the office from 9 to 5? Productivity is a function of motivation—not the result of all employees abiding by the same set of policies. So it follows that we should create an work environment that allows policies to be customized to the needs and strengths of each employee.

As an employer I have only two concerns: making sure our company’s output is as efficient and high quality as possible. I know angst has a negative impact on both my concerns. Why allow it to stand in the way of our goals?