Hope in the Workplace

What is the role of hope in our offices? How can we create workplaces that inspire hope in ourselves and in our coworkers?

Bean sprout growing in an office window with a view out to the parking lot.

Bean sprout growing in an office window with a view out to the parking lot.

We have been experimenting with growing things in our offices—both growing plants and growing our sense of hope through focused art processes.

Personal Hope Book was originally a therapeutic group Dr. Partridge facilitated at a state hospital. She has adapted it for several different populations, including classrooms and offices and will be presenting about this work at an upcoming conference: The Expressive Therapies Summit in Los Angeles. For the months of January and February, employees in a non-profit support center had the opportunity to create images in response to quotes related to hope. Their creations ranged from complex mixed-media responses to simple additions of words with colored markers. Adding these elements help people to take ownership over their feelings of hope.

After the two months of groups, employees were given the opportunity to bind their pages into a simple book form.

So why hope (or any emotion) in the workplace? A new book suggests that we need to question our assumptions about allowing emotions into the office or work setting. Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy’s new book No hard feelings: The secret power of embracing emotions at work is filled with reasons to embrace our whole emotional selves. The book includes discussion of emotions we feel comfortable with like belonging and happiness as well as those we might want to squash like jealousy or anger. Creative projects like Personal Hope Book help to bring emotions to our desks and into our relationships with each other at work.