Can Work Make You Healthy?
I truly believe that work as a medium is the purest way and perhaps the only way to think about actually discovering health. I'm Dan Smolin, and this is the tightrope podcast we tell the stories of people who are defining the future of work. Our guests walked the tightrope away from meaningless toil, and towards work that has profound protects the planet and Powers People and is fun to do meaningful work. The stories that our guest tell and the insights that they provide will inspire you to connect with work and experiences that stoke your passions and make the world. A better place for the future of work is meaningful work. This week we need Denise Ruder. She is the founder of sway workplace, a professional community and career platform that enables overworked people to transition to and succeed in a flexible workplace to that end, Denise helping lead people to the meaningful work of their dreams and this episode you will discover the why moment that led denise along a journey to help others get more enjoyment and fulfillment out of work. She also describes how work today which sixty six percent of US find somewhat to very meaningless, can be reimagined to make us healthy. We spoke with Denise Bruder earlier this week on sue. Denise Bruder welcome to the tightrope. How are you I'm doing well today. It's a little hot outside ready, but we'll salter through. We'll do this. We will, and we have an older houses. One's on air conditionings were all hugging the same zone. Oh my goodness! Well, let's get to it. You are the founder of sway workplace. What is that and what is your mission? So, sweet workplace is a community of people that are mastering flexible work, and what are intended is way is to bring together people professionals that are intent on working smarter and not harder and together we see the collective tool as being that of flexibility, because if you can adopt a flexible mindset, no way working. We think that is the ultimate way of finding balance in life, which allows you to find meaning in work, which is also another way a future proofing your career. So, how do you do that? How do you get people to thrive doing the work that they do want to enjoy doing? I think big way that we do it. Is You know if you were to boil down our product platform? It is a learning and development solution set some dates recognizable, and within our learning development solution. We offer a lot of skills, training and techniques, so you can learn something, and you can learn technique to develop something, and you have our community, which is a space to grow, and that to me is the ultimate former progress, but the greatest thing that we actually look at and private is the idea of helping. People see that there's another way being. There's another way of looking at yourself and how you approach work, and it is the idea of helping people. Break the feeling of Nur Sha. So this is always the way we've worked as always. We've done it always. We are thought to seeing the light that they you do options and how you see yourself and how you approach work, and how you evolve, so a lot of that is actually is the flexible mindset which we think will lead to a sense of the dougherty and was judy. You have the ultimate tool to finding purpose amounts. So I got to the why question. How did you get to sway workplace and I guess by extension. What's your origin story into discovering this path that I am taking to towards helping people get to meaningful work. A lot of times when you find something that is very purposeful for you. It oftentimes feels like a bit of a life long mission. I would say that for me, so I grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland and Irish people and Arlen as a culture have had a very long history of immigration over centuries it always centered around work or the absence of work, and then when you had worked value in work so for me. The idea of work always played a significant team in everything that I did by the people that I was around. And like most people, I had an opportunity fortunate opportunity to go to university. I came to the US to work in finance, and after several years of working in corporate job I had started family so very traditional pather people. A couple years ago I had this kind of point in time where I was at a juncture in life, and I had young children to take care of and I wanted to be in their life, and I had an opportunity for this great job that I knew we kinda helped my career along, but to take that job. I had to be in the city I live about an hour an hour and a half away. And had to make a decision between what what goes McKenna's and had this point in time where I was. Why do I have to make a decision to for to forgo or sacrifice some part of my life? What I know I can do couldn't do a great job here in this new role and I WANNA be participating my family, and at the same time I observed my husband who loves his job, but he spends up to three hours a day commuting back and forth treated. It's not the job at exhausts him. They actual commute. That really drinks energy. And the the real flexible lose two points on like there's got to be better way. I'M A. Tesla is floating speaks as we speak, and we can't seem to collect a league move forward in the world of work to a modern way thinking about things so that point in time that I was at what else is, there must be a better way. I think snacking time I started studying the future of work which is turned. People become a little more aware of and when I started. Looking at the idea of how technology is influencing how we work how we consume are. I understood that there was a massive opportunity for change in modernizing work so in solving my own pinpoint IQ mcdaddy of sway to a platform. We kind of at its core is a future of work readiness platform for the everyday person. We can modernize work step into an ultimate elite humanize it I simply taking a little step to the left or a little step to the right and incorporating flexibility the way life. Step to the right step to the left of swing. We call the company. Sway because we don't think this is monumental change. We think that he just a little Shimmy to the left Sch- image of the right could unlock huge amount of human potential in our workforce. I think you just got onto something because and you and I both been in situations where the work had some meaninglessness aspect to it and the idea of changing. It is just so overwhelming. If we had known then what you and I know now that just a little nudge slept a writer backer fourth could get us to a better place. We probably feel better about changing our circumstances I. Think a lot of people for whatever reason aren't able to imagine that little amount of movement can make great strides of progress in your life. While you know I, think that most people that are in the world of work. They see delighted into the Thanh. They know the new. There's more there and I think there's a huge disconnect between people, subconscious and conscious. which is this idea that I know? I feel like I'm stuck. More here I just can't see it because consciously. I'm GONNA boxes and boxes traditional model you know so. We have a model work today that is literally one hundred years old, and stemmed from the factory system and one hundred years ago, we were manufacturing economy that suited the a nation wonderfully, because we developed common standard of living the American dream, our ideals and our values all grew from the idea of work in a box, but one hundred years later. We've evolved to be a knowledge economy very very very very different, so. So we're expecting people to be creative and be collaborative, and beyond a bettine orientated for making them work in a box and this to speak huge disconnect to people's lives. I'm busier and busier and busier, so I think that people intuitively know that it changes, do and had such a desire to make it happen but I. Don't think people have the confidence to know that they can actually make a change at. They actually owned their career and the decisions that they make because they're so used to being put in a box. Well that idea that you mentioned about the workforce. You know we talked about that in pre interview and she gets it. Henry Ford is probably the object lesson of creating that idea of a job where you transact, you work really hard, and you get paid and alongside of that, and also alongside of the fact that a lot of people suffered in work, we ended up building a union movement in this country without came workforce protection, but it also provided what they call the safety net. So that you you work hard. You weren't going to fall into despair. Despair, economic despair, and lose your house or lose your car or something, but we're at a point right now. Where all those workforce safety nets are falling apart there unraveling, so how does making the work that we do more meaningful? Get affected by the fact that some of the institutional structures that we put in place with the union movement and with government and other stakeholders that those things are not as enduring as they used to be. So I think that I've always been fascinated by the past history like Ozzy I had a fight a wish I really a time capsule and go back like one hundred years and just experience. Life was like I've always been history, and I think I've come to the realization. Why and I think that is because to understand where we are today, you must understand or Or have a view on the past. The greatest thing we can do is look back in the nineteen thirties in response to economic difficulties, Moose vaults hired on Francis Perkins as Labor Secretary and she said to him I can come on board, but if I do, I'm going to change things. We're going to entity so what hundred years ago the government and the? The working bodies and companies came together. We actually created social safety net. We created a forty hour work week. We created unemployment insurance at all these other benefits that are tied to traditional work. We need that up with we design that and put that in play because you were coming out of such disorganized Lieber Movement, so to solidify increased shock around Labor, we designed. Designed those innovations that we put in place a hundred years ago. Because as soon as the comment time, so your point, there is so interesting fast forward one hundred years later here today and I think we see that social safety nets structure of work, which played a significant -nificant part in economic foundation of this country is do another level of just significant innovation. So. Where does that put us right now? We know we've done it before. Making do it again. Which is wonderful the ideas? How do we come together and collaborate on this and my personal view is the future of work is no longer a top down mechanism, so we used to be very hierarchical. Start at the top and a trickle down I. think that real true meaningful change innovation is gonNA come. Come from the bottom up in a community type setting so I think people's collective voice is going to be the source of change as stem to future, because I think our sub-conscious going to connect our conscious. We're GONNA see that there's a path lowered well amen to that because that's really where I'm at, you mentioned you know the things that happened that created the workforce of the twentieth century and. I think I mentioned to you that my grandfather emigrated to this country from Ukraine in nineteen, thirteen with lintas pockets big was very very hard worker. He had pushcart, and the move to New Haven Connecticut, and then he opened a dry goods store. Well, the point of this all is that he just was focused. You weren't really hard, and then he met my grandmother and. And she worked really hard and twenty five years from his arrival, so in nineteen thirty eight, this guy who arrived basically penniless in the United States twenty five years later was a successful business owner, during the depression built a custom house for my grandmother and him, and my dad, and my aunt to live in, and then he sent on to Wellesley and exclusive college. This is the American dream literally. It was upward mobility and he was like a rocket ship. I mean I'm just astounded that. In twenty five years, he went from nothing to lavish circumstances. The American dream now is not that and I think the things that you are working to address deal with a much different set of circumstances. People end up. In the workforce already encumbered with debt. Usually student loans may be revolving. Credit loans credit cards. As the Pew Research Group had indicated. The American dream is no longer about upward mobility as much as it is about economic stability, do I have the financial means to weather some big event some big tremor. My spouse gets hurt and my health insurance isn't enough to cover it now. My spouse is out of work. How mega cover my monthly cash flow needs of a flood in the basement trigger? You know most Americans don't have the means to withstand trimmer in their lives and I think the American dream now is about economic stability, but it's also about much more. What do you think it is now about denise? That in two ways. I think that you know the idea. The American dream. It's such an attractive I. Mean I myself am also product American dream having moved Marland to the US and been able to achieve things being in the back of hard work. Because that's what the American dream was. You know it was the currency of currency of economics. Currency been able to have opportunity to put in hard work and receive values. You could give your feed your family and create a source of stability. And diverse American dream worked for so long and create America's such a prosperous nation, because there's a lot of equality involved meaning. We were all dealing with the scene. We seem variables to work with. Nobody was more nobody was less. You were dealt. Cards and made of it, which made of it as a lot of quality evolved, and that's how we're able to nation to extend spare rise most of the nation, but today's interesting I honestly think that there is a huge I think. Our culture of consumerism plays a significant role in where we are. Today is the idea that the value that I have internally in the value I feel which oftentimes has come from work, because if we step back working simply a paycheck, it's source identity right? To source of pride myself, expression legacy to my children and provision in huge, the of work is so significant to the being of the person we beyond a paycheck think we cross lines culturally in this consumerism culture that we live in. We consume consume consume consume that it fills. A void art provides a sense of value and I. Think we just through nature. We tend to put ourselves in difficult financial positions, which makes it because nothing's changed right, if works till the currency of economic value, why are we so much harder off today and wire on the precipice of could be Nesta full door, or you're saying personal. You know mass in financial implosion. If one thing goes wrong in your life I had we get there? I think we got there through this consumers and culture that allowed us to cross wires. What's really a value in your day to day life and that's really hard, because it's saturation media everywhere you turn. This pre faces pretty bodies doing pretty things. Schmead is not going to help. It's been a hindrance in that way so I think he's departure. From the BBC Value System that we've had led us to perse these positions not out of. ill-intended bedwell out of course but trend. So what you've described as very unhelpful, the very thing that made the American dream what it was was upward mobility, but also upward reward, a second car vacations, and then my age cohort, just buying stuff all the time stuff we didn't need so now we're at a point where again as Pew mentions two thirds of us are to some degree, disengaged or unhappy, doing something meaningless at work, so the question we posed in this episode is a provocative one as a result and we ask can work. Make you healthy, so my question to you is. How can we make work healthy? Well I look of questions that gives out that brings out some great conversation and ideas, and I thought about this question a lot the last couple of days and a true belief, and I guess the reason why I've got a dry for sway and the things that we work on is I truly believe that work as A. Is the purest way, and perhaps the only way to think about actually discovering health. That's how significant I think it is. Okay, but just knocked me off my pegues. found. Out. When you lie! So! My theory is that there's four parts the being of your mental, your emotional, your physical, and your spiritual on their quadrants, and together they come together to meet the person. And work as a medium because it's what we do I work doesn't necessarily mean you may not get paid for work. It could be homework. Be House where it could be a hobby. You're working at a hobby predominantly volume and a lot of time and work through to get paid for. It's all work what we do. What I was struck by. If you've taken physicals and example, we just did a big piece of market research sway in UN trying to uncover the real problem that people had and desire solutions, way solve that problem and one of the things that we uncovered is that people are so entrenched in their perspective on work, and how they approach that they will be the first thing they're gonNA forego. Forego to spend an extra couple of hours in the office on a commute, it's going to be working out and that might seem kind of quite trivial like maybe your class or run, but over time as a trend, and that's a trend towards physical health, people are foregoing. Their physical health were knocking out one quadrant here because my perspective is I, must spend more time on facetime at the. The office or putting up news media, fires or low valued tasks, because that super important and their forego the working out component when the reality is, your physical health is a source of energy, and it's a sort it's a source connects. The quashes all connect, and if went out of bounds off balance, so what if you were to work flexibly an integrate some kind of a workout routine maintenance. Maintenance once a week or a couple times a week you will earn the energy back tenfold over that will make you way more productive in the work in the value you do Penin that's the difference between energy and time we often think about it can be in the office twelve hours a day. But what if you work for eight hours a day? You much more productive and successful. But that's your perspective on work right and that's ultimately in that one. Krajicek how it absolutely fundamentally affects everything that you do just by prioritizing the physical aspect working out, and how does it relate to your energy levels, and how you approach everything that's one side of it, and the other side is the emotional side, the other qualities your emotions. How do you feel about the? How do you fit in your life? And how do you see things and again go back to work three hours on a commute three hours? You could spending with your family members. Or doing a hobby or something that adds value to you outside of your nine to five job. And again that's a source of energy, which is a source of balance which meaning. And then what does that do? It comes back to you and it electrifies you a lousy way more productive in your work life spirituality is the same thing that looks different every person and mentally it's the same thing what you could be stressed and freaked out. or You could produce in a balanced way so to wrap it up what I would describe this as we talk about its way is that there's three things in the equation of war is the worker it's you I is the work being done in the workplace where the war cabins. The workplace and the work being done there inanimate. They don't live in the brutal breathe. They don't make decisions. They're things that we choose to move around to create value so the only thing that you had there is the worker I'm a person on the being a body and way interact with work and the work being done the workplace to my perspective. So to sum that up in my crease, wait I. Look at this your perspective. You own it your filter how you approach work and totally under your purview. 'cause your personal filter. And, if you look at that filter and see what's in there and take control and responsibility for it, you absolutely. Think about how you approach work in a way that brings you health in many many ways so for me for those reasons is the purest medium and four cheating, health and life should absolutely make you healthier. I WANNA. Go back to something that you said earlier because we talked about how we kinda mechanized work, one of the aspects of the workforce that we created in the in the United States in the early twentieth century, was the idea of the or used to be the sixty hour week, and then it became the fifty, and then the forty hour work week in the forty hour workweek was sort of the standard you had put in time. A lot of people got paid hourly, but then that same paradigm a paradigm, but that same model affected people who are non exempt. Who in salaries. As a result people like me in the advertising business. When I was in my late twenties, early thirties was to work more fifty hour weeks sixty hour week some weeks. I put an eighty because I felt like that's what my worth was. About was squeezing out as much energy, inasmuch, creative benefit as I possibly could well guess what it made me sick. It made me physically ill. I lived at the chiropractors office for about a four year period. Because we're. Did that stress go. It went to the lowest part of my body, my Sacra ilyaronoff joint and when that flared up, I couldn't walk. I think you're onto something here and I think one aspect of the empowerment. That's going to happen. Is We're GONNA blow up this forty hour workweek so that we get rewarded for the output of our work and not the hours behind the output of our work. What do you think of that? I think that you really hit on something very important there, which is the idea that your body? It's your greatest signaling system. You know it is literally your greatest singles. Are you sleeping? Well, you eating well. You resting. Ailments, your body is I think we. We tend not to think about it, or we tend to discard it as the other, but paying attention to your body in the way that you just described is it is the number one source for information and data on how you're doing in life is to pay attention to your body. That's how significant it goes back to out. quadrant the fiscal side, and why we must put in you put, you'll get out what you could end. That's why so significant. the forty hour workweek. I gotTa tell you something. We see up the forty hour work week. I don't think I you could have somebody working sixty hours a week. That is far more. Happier and balanced and found meaning versus someone forty hours a week meaning. I don't think it's the number of hours that you put in the the qualifier where the variable to look at. It is. For us, I think it's about the principle of choice meaning reflecting back on our idea research. Should we just did? There was nobody that we spoke to sway that, said men the forty hour workweek. If I could treat it for twenty I would be, it would solve all my problems or I don't WanNa work for our forty hours. I want to work eighteen. Not One person said that to us what we heard from the research that we did is that people are like they love their jobs the low what they're doing. But they're suffering from him. Absolutely overworked because of working in a box of choice. The majority of people like man, if I could get up in the morning, get a couple of hours in early. Maybe take kids to school. Get back into work. Maybe take a break in the afternoon. Jump on at night. That would be ideal for me, so I want to work less. I think people just want to work on their terms. Have some semblance waste because that's if we're gonNA unlocking potential s what we have to Dennis. We mean by flexibility. Where's the other? Is that lever for each individual person, so people want? People are hard workers. They want in. They want. They want skin in the game. They want to get something out. They want to work. They find the value in, but working in a box longer fits because it's not the human experience and that's we're trying to evolve towards. My good friends Mike Hayes and morally win a Grad who write a lot about millennials in the United States, but in politics and in the work world have said that millennials are leading the way so that. Work becomes something you do during the day it's not the day and I love that because in my I I'm a late baby boomer and this idea was pretty much chain to your work from the time you arrive to the time you left. What happens if your kid who you adore is playing soccer, and you want to be present in your child's life, and you can't because you're in a meeting at a certain point. I think the idea of empowering people as you said from the bottom up to manage how they get their work done in a way that still allows them to balance out all the other parts of that mentally emotionally spiritually and physically. Everything's in tune and if you do that. You got somebody who's going to be loyal to you. Who's going to increase your lifetime investment of your higher of that person? As opposed to knowing that if you don't do anything, they're going to grow resentful and start looking for a new job in eighteen months. That is one hundred percent the case, so that is what we consider the evolvement of the mindset. Towards you know, we want to humanize work I. Think we all want. We all want to be human at work. He's in one of our big things at sways your one Parson living one life, you can put on a suit, and you can only show up as part of work, but you're never going to be one person working person at home or anywhere else you only one person one person one life Meka count. And too often want to humanize way. People approach work that we can all feel like that because feeling that is internally when you feel your fire on all cylinders. The ultimate objective. I will tell you are interesting things. My research that Lens Conversation. This point of the conversation is that to evolve, even though we all know, we want to get there, and it's not just a moral issue or a societal issue to like ease family problems that have more present their lives I mean the economy is calling for like the this EC two economy are calling for people have your skills, which is, that's why the Amazons of the world and Walmart the world putting aside like almost billion dollars to retrieve their people, because if he they're going to be outdated in three to five years in relation to technologies, influencing people the. The C. Suites on management are asking people to become more agile and flexible and an skill, but the reality is. It's all on paper and saw talk the talk, but we have to actually change in their to change that had made. There's the change in the company signs in the worker side Guinea good example, both which is currently a barrier to the evolution of work on the company side is the fact that companies will talk a big talk and a big big game, because in PR perspective, it's amazing rates looks good, they're. They're hitting our social goals. They're tracking millennials. Their social media likes her up, but behind closed doors. Companies are putting out the fires that get them to their next court. Earnings revenue target. We are now we as a country me at the decision the seventies when we opened up the idea financialisation where the government rim bad economic way the got the banks to come in to ease up the finances and prosperity grew as an income inequality, which could be a whole `nother show, but the reality is that companies good Pizza Philo. People just like you and I right. They're all good people intentions the behold. Behold into the quarterly earnings number, which is a couple of guys in pinstripes, suits sitting in a room that set a number each quarter and accompanies rush to meet it at the expense of advancing social goals are like Corbu like we're talking about here, so there is a disconnect happen between what a company says they WANNA. Do and what you true. They WANNA. Do to allow people to find meaning and purpose work. is about how help companies bridge that gap, but then on the other side accompanied person, the worker side we want for free to. We're afraid because people are influenced by the way the group, so one of the things we talk about we want to help. People work smarter not harder. Very, interesting capable what you just said that that that fear comes out of working working harder, not smarter. Because we have in our minds, the evolution of you know the last several generations. Just like your. Your grandfather came over e were tortured, he hustled, and he worked hard, and he built personal success for himself and in our psyche, maybe not as not as much the millennial generation, but all the generations. If you're not working hard, are you working at all right? And that is just an outdated notion. Denise Bruder this has been fun and we are going to have you back. You are alike my sister from another mother. We have so much. Symbiosis in our thought, leadership is going to be a pleasure to work with you and get you back on and talk about other aspects of creating a future of work around meaningful were. Thank you so much for being on the type Antique. Against? O.! Links to sway workplaces. Social media are provided in. The show notes for this episode at Dan Smolin Dot Com. Please join us again for more. Stories from people who walked the tightrope to seek and do meaningful work you can subscribe to us where he gets your podcasts or listen to current and past episodes on our website at the end Smolin Dot Com I'm Dan smolen and this is the tight rope podcast together. Let's walk a tight to find and do meaningful work for the future of work is meaningful work and do remember this our best days lie ahead. Let's connect again next week. Stay healthy and socially distant everyone.