I’m prepared to participate in Bring YourSELF
to Work Day. What can I expect to get out of it?
For those of us who have worked for both large and small
organisations for more than 30 years, it is often shocking
and I am shocked even today by the degree to which many
companies fail to recognise the talent and creativity of
their workers. If we could only fix this problem we would
all enjoy our work so much more; we would be more productive
and more valuable and our companies could afford to pay
us more. Who doesn’t want this?
Today, many of us go to work just so we can pay our bills.
Work is necessary but we don’t expect it to be particularly
fulfilling, and we do only as much as we need to. We put
in the hours and we collect our wages, that’s the
deal. If we want to be creative or inspirational, loving
or self-expressed we do this outside work. This leads to
a predictable future of “getting by”; our productivity
is low, our pay is pretty low and our jobs are being lost
to cheaper overseas competition.
But suppose we don’t just “turn up” for
work with the bare minimum to get the job done. Suppose
we arrive one day with all our resources: with our passion
and our creativity, with boundless energy and a dogged determination
to get a better result. Suppose we are prepared to challenge
old methods when we can see a better way; we are prepared
to champion new thinking and new solutions; we are prepared
to address old grievances in new and constructive ways,
we are prepared to empathise with customers and colleagues
and ‘go that extra mile’ to make them feel good.
Could that lead to a better, more productive and more fulfilling
day’s work? Wouldn’t that be more fun? This
is what you can expect when you become more self-expressed
in your work place
I’m a coach. How can I use
Bring YourSELF to Work Day to help my clients?
Coaches are incredible people, standing for the best part
of their clients which often nobody else can see (including
often the client). At its best coaching can be truly life
changing and transformational. But too often, some of the
most powerful change remains hidden from colleagues and
employers because the client lacks the “permission”
to change too much.
This suppression of growing self expression inevitably holds
back the client’s development and can even result
in a successful client leaving his or her employer without
thoroughly testing what the newly emergent self could do
with the current role, or what other roles might come to
be offered. This creates the attrition paradox for coaches
and clients: a successful outcome leads to the loss of the
very people the employer most wants to develop. This problem,
which is always present, holds back employers and sponsors
from making the investment in people that coaching represents.
I’m taking this out because I think introducing this
issue is a potential distraction
What if there was a way of giving all of your clients “permission”
to be fully self-expressed at work, on a day when others
are also being encouraged to express more of themselves?
This would make their “coming out” so much easier
and would lead to precisely the conversations with colleagues
and bosses they need to be initiating. “Bring YourSELF
to Work Day” is that day, a day when all of us are
being encouraged to express more of our total selves in
work. You will find lots of ideas and suggestions on how
people are using this opportunity to express more fully
who they are and what they stand for in work elsewhere on
I’m an employer. If I get my people to engage
in Bring YourSELF to Work Day, can I realistically expect
to see any return?
We know how discouraging it can be for employers striving
to create a decent place for people to work when they are
constantly frustrated by the lack of initiative and commitment
of their people. Too often people turn up but they aren’t
really present. They go through the motions and the job
usually gets done but it’s fairly joyless. Where’s
the enthusiasm, where’s the caring? Every employer
wants their people to ‘Add Value’ – whether
that be in terms of being creative, coming up with brilliant
solutions, being productive, being responsive to the customer.
It’s only through this that companies can differentiate
With competition getting tougher every year, and costs under
unprecedented pressure, the future is all too predictable
if nothing changes. Neither the unions nor the workers they
represent will be able to prevent this unless we can find
ways to unlock new levels of productivity in our workforces.
But what if we could find ways to transform the engagement
of our workforces? One way to do that would be to invite
our employees to exercise more of their talent at work;
to engage more of their brains, and hearts and minds too.
A realistic place to start would be to invite them to let
you and others know about their talents and skills outside
work, and to look for ways to use this talent on the job.
This will do as much as anything you can do to transform
their attitude to work, to release discretionary effort
and to raise productivity permanently.
You can expect all of these to be the start of long-term
benefits from taking part in “Bring YourSELF to Work
Day”. This is the national day when you and hundreds
of other employers across the country can give their workers
“permission” to bring the whole of themselves
to work and be more self-expressed about who they truly
are, what they stand for and what their lives are about.
You can find lots of ideas on how to encourage your people
to participate on the website. If you embrace the programme
enthusiastically you will be amazed by the talent you have
working for you and you have created the opportunity for
your people to shine at work as they may never have before.
In this pilot exercise we will be gathering stories and
evidence about the effect this has on the individuals and
teams who take part
I’m already fully engaged in my work, it takes
all I have already.
Many of us have demanding work these days, but
for some people bringing yourself to work will be about
‘doing more’. For others (like you maybe) it
might be about ‘being’ a different way, or maybe
even slowing down and doing less, but achieving more. We
are certainly not asking you to cram more into an existing
agenda that is creaking at the seams.
Some questions to consider – When you go home at the
end of a busy day, do you feel fully satisfied, or do you
just feel exhausted? Do you feel like you get as much energy
back as the energy you put into your day? How do you think
you could improve the quality of your working life in order
to increase your level of satisfaction, feel less exhausted
and get more return for your effort? What do you think it
would take from you to make that change? Do you need help
from those around you?
I work alone, so how is this relevant to me?
Even if you’re working alone for most of
the day, you can involve people you speak to on the phone,
or contact by email. Also bringing yourself to work is not
just about human interaction, you can put more of yourself
into your work through being creative in the way you do
things, adding a human touch, going that extra mile, making
the decision to be your own best self today.
I’m part of a team, what if my colleagues
don’t want to play?
In the end it is up to them, and of course you
can’t force anyone to take part. We do recognise that
even broaching the idea with some people might take a bit
of courage. Why not start with the individuals in your team
that you think might respond best to the idea and go from
I’m a coach/trainer. Do you have special
tools and resources that I can use with my clients?
You’ll find a list of useful questions on
the website. More will build up as coaches become involved.
Please feel free to email us with any additional suggestions.