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Art & Soul - The Art Of Well Being: Finding Meaning And Purpose At Work

Lisa Barry

Thriving at work is crucial to many people's sense of well-being.  People are spending more and more time in the workplace and Dr. Gretchen Spreitzer, faculty director for the Center For Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, says it is ever more important to who we are as individuals to feel fulfilled at work.  She says we spend so much time on the job now, it's about more than just earning a paycheck for many people.

Thriving at work has been researched for the past ten years, focusing on how people can bring their best selves to work without burning out over time.  Researchers determined people thrived at work when they felt really alive in their work and were growing and learning.

Dr. Spreitzer says "the work needs to be energizing to us and include creating resources, not depleting resources."

She adds it begins with taking care of the basic necessities to perform better at work.  That includes getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy food, and not sitting at your desk all day.

She also recommends creating high quality connections in the work place as a way to stay focused on thriving at work.  Dr. Spritzer says making small changes at work can help people find meaning and purpose in what they do.

Credit Positive Business Conference

Dr. Spreitzer says the responsibility for feeling fulfilled at work is in both the hands of the employee and the employer.  She says if you don't feel empowered by management, you still have complete control over how you react with customers or clients that give you sense of thriving on the job.

With the emergence of more information about positive psychology, Dr. Spreitzer says more and more organizations are realizing the benefits of a positive, fulfilling work place including better retention of employees, more creativity, fuller engagement from employees, and lower heath care costs because stress levels will be lower and employees will be sick less often.

The Center for Positive Organizations is having a conference at the Ross School of Business in May, and Spritzer says hundreds of people are planning to attend, and that's a sign that more and more employers are seeing the benefits of a positive workplace.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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