“Treat everyone as if you were the boss of your own son or daughter.”

That was the closing remark from Professor Cary Cooper at Robertson Cooper’s Good Day at Work (GDAW) seminar – a ‘hallelujah’ for that piece of common sense please! This simple code closed out discussions that tackled how we can make work better, how our professional and personal lives are no longer ‘balanced’ but ‘integrated’ and why work is just less fun than it used to be…

First up was Twitter VP and podcaster Bruce Daisley (his Eat Sleep Work Repeat podcast is a firm favourite).

The crux of Bruce’s thrust, so to speak is the New Work Manifesto. Another work of simple genius that sets out some basic changes we can make to ensure a good (or at least, better) day at work.

I am what I am

Lunch and laughter – I’m there will bells on, but the pledge that struck me most was ‘Got to be me’.

This article from Inc.com explains the research and science behind being yourself at work:

“People who bring their authentic selves to work are not only happier, they’re much more productive… I can tell you from experience that it’s very, very exhausting to pretend to be what you think others expect.”

Do you have a ‘professional’ mask? Do you feel a little part of yourself drain away each time you don your game face for the office? I’ve been there. It’s tiring.

I wrote recently about the depressing lack of diversity in PR. This blog focused on issues such as gender and race, but as the speakers recognised at GDAW it seems that there are many reasons why people not themselves at work.

Discussion touched on the effects of economic and political instability leading to a general fear that our jobs are so insecure we are forced to keep our heads firmly below the parapet. Or is it technology that’s the issue – easier to ping a passive aggressive email than to actually talk to someone right? Who wants to risk putting themselves out there when they can just be a generic presence behind a screen?

This seems a mighty shame. Surely it is the mix of personalities, and the relationships we forge that make work interesting. If we want true diversity, perhaps we need to think about homogeneity in attitude, humour, dress, accent, beliefs and beyond, as well as in gender, in race, in background.

If we can’t be our true selves at work are we at risk of creating a workforce of robots, even if they do all *look* different?

…companies that don’t try to encourage staff to express themselves at work, and instead try to force them to fit into some kind of corporate clone – doing what they’re told to do without questioning – will lose out – BBC

Work should be something you lose yourself in due to passion, not somewhere YOU get lost.

So… make your own good day at work!

I’m signing up to being myself at work – and that may yet become easier given that I have recently decided to take the plunge, quit the employed game and become my own boss!

Movements such as GDAW, podcasts such as Bruce’s and the support of other PRs, journalists, friends and strangers online and off have shown me that we all need to take charge of making our workplaces the places we do our best work. I’ve taken it quite literally and am creating my own.

We’re yet to see if this decision to ‘just do me’ will pay off – but I am confident that no matter whether you are a consultant, an employee or the boss, allowing yourself and others to be themselves will pay dividends that the latest tech or app simply can’t.

Being yourself will make work a little more human – a little more fun.