Workplace: The Wonders of Your Environment – Interview: Susanne Brown – Part 1

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Career coach and i3 profiling lead associate, Susanne Brown talks about how she uses the i3 profiling productive environment tool in her work as a career coach, successfully supporting individuals through career transitions.

1. Can you describe how you use the i3 profiling productive environment tool in your work?

As a career coach I find a lot of people have been made redundant or are in crossroads in their lives, not sure what direction they are going. That could mean it’s their first entry into the job market or they’re unfulfilled and don’t know what to do and aren’t happy.

I use the productive environment tool a lot to get people to describe their current environment and consider, at work and out of work what impact this may be having on them. It’s amazing how many times the productive environment is not conducive to their current settings, especially when it comes to unfulfillment.

An example is, a client who worked in an open plan office. He found it very difficult, he was distracted all the time and found it hard to concentrate. He was an extremely diligent man and because the environment he was working in did not align with his most comfortable zone of productivity he was feeling very unfulfilled in his role. Until we explored this awareness, he had never considered how the environment was impacting his ability, placing blame on himself as simply no longer being cut out to do the job.

2. This clearly means the adverse environment was impacting on his well-being, as well as his performance at work?

Yes, absolutely because his performance at work had fallen below his own expectations, he was no longer performing to his level of perceived ability, which went on to influence his self-esteem, and impact on his family and home life, which is common.

3. Out of the workplace was his environment helpful in terms of reducing stress?

Thankfully, he got his release from his hobby, cycling, which gave him the quieter head space he needed to focus and relax. This compensated for the fact that the workplace environment was more challenging for him and ensured his well-being did not drop dramatically. Without this release it could have been very different for him, as I’ve noticed with some other clients who lacked awareness around their environment outside of work.

An example was a client who again required a more quieter and isolated space but worked in an open plan office which she found difficult. At home she had three children, so again being around lots of noise and distraction. This combination had a huge negative impact on both her performance at work and also on her well-being.

4. What are the benefits of using the productive environment tool, for an individual who is going through a career transition?

When people are looking for new roles, in preparation for an interview, I ask them to write a list of questions, taken from the awareness of the productive environment tool to ask the potential new employer, to ensure that the role is right for them. For example, what does the office space look like? Are there opportunities to have quieter or interactive time? Is homeworking an option? I get them to formulate quite a lot of questions from it which works well because many people struggle to ask questions in an interview as they think it is a one-way process.

The biggest benefit, when someone starts a new job, if they feel the environment is right for them, they are more likely to feel better in themselves, more fulfilled, feel happier, more comfortable in the role which means their performance will increase.  For a company this is great because it also means they are more likely to stay, saving them £1000’s. Unfortunately, most people and employers don’t think about how important it is to consider the environment within this process, often leading to wrong decisions being made.

Keep an eye out……. There will be more insights from Susanne’s interesting work in part 2, where she tells us about working with employers to improve the working environment for their staff.

Feel free to connect with Susanne on LinkedIN:

Many thanks

David Charlton, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Mental Toughness Coach & HCPC Sport and Exercise Psychologist

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0) 7734 697769