There has been a shifting focus on job control and autonomy in the corporate workspace. Managers and leadership positions are increasingly aware of the close relationship between autonomy and mental wellbeing. Furthermore, a study by Manpower Group reports that nearly 40% of employees worldwide are prioritizing autonomy in their career decisions.
Autonomy in one’s professional life can enhance job satisfaction, and allow innovation and creativity to flow. Organizations are now actively implementing work environments to deliver job control to their employees to foster a mentally healthy and satisfied workforce.
The empowering effects of autonomy
Job autonomy refers to the control an employee has over how they conduct their work. This can be how they approach tasks assigned to them, setting their own deadlines, and having the right to choose when and where they want to work. When providing job control, managers need to take a step back and let employees decide the best way they can deliver their work.
This autonomy greatly empowers your employees by providing them with a sense of control and agency in the workplace. This has been shown to increase motivation, productivity, and innovation, with a deeper commitment to tasks at work.
Providing autonomy also greatly improves the mental wellbeing of the employees. The flexibility and autonomy allow them to choose timings that work best for them which enables them to attend to obligations outside of work. Doing so, they receive the break and relaxation time as needed while also setting aside time to ensure their tasks are completed.
Job autonomy and mental health empowerment
Job autonomy plays a significant role in the emotional wellbeing of your employees. Work environments that actively promote and incorporate job autonomy have been shown to have a positive impact on the workforce. A study shows that job autonomy is positively associated with psychological wellbeing. Let us take a look at some of the benefits:
- Reduced stress: Individuals who have the control to choose how, when, and where they work have been shown to experience less stress. This is because they choose methods best suited to their work needs to deliver high-quality work.
- Increased job satisfaction: When individuals have higher agency over how they conduct their work, their sense of fulfillment becomes higher. This contributes to increased job satisfaction which increases employee retention.
- Enhanced motivation and creativity: Employees tend to be more motivated when working as job agency increases. This inspires employees to incorporate creative elements into their work.
- Improved work-life balance: Since employees have a say in setting deadlines and their schedules, there is a significant increase in work-life balance. They can set aside time for their family and friends without missing out on important events while simultaneously delivering their work on time.
Your team’s mental wellbeing should be a top priority as this will heavily determine your organization’s trajectory. Manahverse is an app that ensures your employees can overcome their mental health challenges. It leverages AI power to cater to your employee's wellbeing needs, regardless of where they fall in the spectrum! Download the app to get started on the wellness journey.
Autonomy vs. micromanagement
Many managers with insufficient training tend to mistranslate their job description as micromanaging their employees. They believe that it improves the efficiency of the workforce, whereas the contrary is true. It is extremely harmful to the team as employees tend to feel suffocated with reduced trust.
Autonomy can empower employees and build trust, encourage creativity, flexibility, and job satisfaction. Whereas when a manager micromanages, employees feel unvalued and distant, and creativity is stifled, with limited job satisfaction and growth. The manager’s job here is to provide employees with the agency they need while taking regular updates to stay in the loop and ensure work is progressing smoothly.
Building an autonomy-focused workplace
Building an autonomy-focused workspace is important for the team to thrive which will reflect on company performance. However, to ensure your team is still cohesive, the individuals in leadership positions need to know how to implement it correctly. Here are some strategies to get started in building an autonomy-focused workplace:
- Set clear goals and guidelines: As a person in leadership positions, it is crucial to ensure your employees are clear about what you expect from them. This can be a few set hours to collaborate, clear communication channels, and appropriate locations for remote work. Hold employees accountable for goals but include them in the decision-making process for deadlines.
- Allow flexibility: Once you have established these goals and guidelines, allow them to exercise free reign of how they choose to operate within them. This can be the order they work on their tasks or the hours they want to work.
- Reward good work: Employees need to feel valued and appreciated in their workplace to continue putting effort into their tasks. Reward and acknowledge the hours and quality they put into their tasks. Sometimes, simply a good job can be the reward itself!
- Be available to the team: Be clear with your flexible work hours to the employees. Ensure your communication channels are open for them to reach out. This will increase efficiency and smoothen their task deliveries. Holding regular meetings can also open paths for clear communication.
Job autonomy is an extremely crucial aspect of one’s professional life. This can determine job satisfaction which reflects on employee retention of the company. Prioritizing autonomy can greatly improve team mental wellbeing and encourage creativity when performing tasks. 52% of the employees feel an absence of autonomy at their work. Organizations and team leaders should work together to ensure this autonomy is incorporated appropriately in their workspace to create a safe and healthy work life for their employees.
Manah wellness offers the ACTS program to aid employees in their emotional wellbeing journey. ACTS can help identify and address mental health challenges and provide the right tools to empower employees. Take a look at the program to get started!