Exercises: energy balance at work and job crafting – Work

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In order to be happy at work, it is important that the working conditions and tasks match your motivations, preferences and skills. A good fit will result in more energy, pleasure and satisfaction. Therefore, it is useful to investigate to what extent your work energizes you. The following exercises can help you to do so.

 

Exercise 1: Energy balance

Create a table with two columns in which you rate each work task on how much energy it gives (energy gain) or costs (energy loss) you. You can do this on a scale from -10 to +10 and use ‘0’ to indicate a neutral effect. This will give you more insight into which tasks give you energy and which cost you energy. Below, you can find an example of such a table.

 

Task Energy loss or gain
Answering emails -3
Supervising interns +6
Making plans 0

Exercise 2: Obstacles

There are many factors, other than work-related tasks, that can influence your energy, such as working conditions, personal characteristics or private circumstances. Make another table for these obstacles. You can find an example below.

Obstacle Energy loss
Annoying discussions with a colleague -7
Wanting to do everything perfectly -3
Combining work with raising children -4

 

Exercise 3: Helpful resources

Opposite to obstacles are helpful resources. These have a positive effect on your energy. Make another table for helpful resources. You can find an example below.

Helpful resources Energy gain
Short commuting time +3
Friendly colleagues +6
Possibility to work from home +4

Now, spread out all the tables next to each other. Is there anything that stands out or surprises you? What gives you the most energy? And what costs you the most energy? Is your energy balance in equilibrium? If not, what is causing the imbalance? Can you make a change? Below, you can find an explanation on how to tackle this.

 

Job crafting

Job crafting refers to making changes to align your work with your motivations, preferences and skills. There are a number of different strategies you can try. These are shown in the table below:

 

Adjusting tasks Adjusting relationships Adjusting thoughts Adjusting environment
Add Additional task:
Adding a task that gives you energy.
Working together:
Collaborate on the task with others.
Take a positive perspective:

Put more focus on the positive effects of the task for other people.

Decorate:

Brighten up your work environment with decorations.

 

Adjust

Adjust the task:

Spend more time on (part of) a task that gives you energy.

Different people:

Perform the same task with different people.

Reinterpret:

Pay more attention to the positive aspects of the task.

Re-locate:

Carry out your work in a different location or at a different time.

 

Remove

Remove the task:
Spend less time on (part of) a task that costs you a lot of energy.
Avoid:
Avoid the people who cost you a lot of energy more often.
Ignore
Stop thinking about the unpleasant aspects of a task.
Remodel:

Remove disturbing environmental factors.

 

Solve

Self-improvement
Improve your skills through training and practice, making the task more enjoyable.
Learning to cope with the situation:
Learn to manage conflict. Improve social skills.
Acceptance:

Accept that the task is part of the work and adjust your expectations.

Alleviate:

Reduce discomfort in your workspace with the right equipment.

Exercise 4: Adjustments at work

Pick a few of the energy-consuming tasks and difficult obstacles from the tables in exercise 1 and exercise 2. Write these down in the first column of a new table. In the second column, write down which job crafting strategy you want to apply. In the third column, specify how you are going to apply this strategy to the situation and write down the helpful resources you noted earlier in exercise 3 in the last column. An example of what this table might look like can be found below.

Task/obstacle Strategy Plan Helpful resource
Answering emails  Remove a task Starting next week spend no longer than half an hour on emails in the morning Come to an agreement with my supervisor on priorities
Meetings Acceptance:
Accept that meetings are part of the job
No longer complain about the length of the meetings
Annoying discussions with a colleague Learn to cope or avoid Improve social skills and engage in conversation with them. Or approach the colleague less often. Talk to other colleagues about how they deal with this
Wanting to do everything perfectly Remove Lower expectations Compare myself to colleagues who are less careful.

 

Source:

Keijsers, G.P.J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C.A.L. & Emmelkamp, P. (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.

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