Team building activities

What is Autonomy

It is crucial that one is able to feel comfortable sharing knowledge and new ideas in the workplace. However, if you feel like you are being harshly judged and micromanaged it is easy to feel like you are being suffocated. Who wants to be told what to do and how to do it at every single turn? Also, who wants to babysit all day long? This style of micromanagement could greatly hinder your creativity and productivity because of the culture of your company. One way to feel more comfortable within your work environment is to gain autonomy within your place of work. Autonomy is the power to shape your work environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.

Autonomy is defined as: the condition or state of having independence or freedom; self-government. It is a state that humans seek within their relationships, decisions, and work. Autonomy or the lack of autonomy plays a huge role in the level of satisfaction that individuals have with their current work positions. A worker’s motivation has a direct link to the quality of work that he or she produces. Motivation can be driven from the ability to make decisions for one’s self and the feeling of freedom to create and thrive within the workplace.

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What does autonomy mean in the workplace?

Autonomy in the workplace refers to how much freedom employees have while working. For some organizations, autonomy means that their employees are allowed to set their own schedules. No matter which concept is being applied, higher levels of autonomy tend to result in an increase in job satisfaction. Job satisfaction leads to less turnover, less negativity in the workplace and it motivates workers toward higher performance levels.

What is autonomy for employees?

Autonomy is the ability for employees to control their own work situation. This might mean that they have the freedom to choose which projects to work on or what days of the week they work. It might include the independence to work from home instead of in the confines of the office. In an autonomous situation, it is more about WHAT gets done that matters, not HOW it gets done.

What is an autonomous work environment?

An autonomous work environment will encourage employees to grow independently. This might include allowing employees to give their opinions and input on projects or aiding in the decision making process. In order to create an autonomous work environment you have to eliminate micromanagement. Instead of focusing on small minute details, focus more on goals and strategic objectives for each employee. Encourage employees to set their own goals.

What does manage with autonomy mean?

Managing with autonomy is the opposite of micromanaging. To manage with autonomy gives the employees opportunities to make their own decisions and contribute in the way that they feel is best. A very important aspect of managing with autonomy is to never tell your employees how to do their job. Give them goals deadlines and let them use their talents to do their job. You did hire your employees because you had faith in their ability to work, so let them show you. You’d be surprised how much this style of managing works. It motivates people to show their skills and independence.

The Benefits of Employees Achieving Autonomy Within the Workplace


Obtaining a level of autonomy among employees has the ability to promote:

  • A higher production level within the office.
  • Motivation for employees to see satisfaction among clients. They will feel more of a sense of pride from their success.
  • A greater desire for workers to perform at their best ability.
  • A lower turnover rate.

Autonomy can happen when these elements are eliminated from the workplace:

  • The anxiety from feeling constantly monitored.
  • A notion of inferiority that is associated with the inability to make decisions for oneself regarding their work.
  • The belief that one’s actions and ideas do not matter or are meaningless.

Autonomy is one of the most important elements in building true employee engagement. Without it, your employees may become bitter, negative and ultimately not push themselves to use their skills. This would not be an enjoyable workplace for employees nor managers, by any stretch of the imagination. Trust plays a big role in autonomy. Management should be able to trust their employees to do what they have been hired to do. Once an autonomous workplace has been achieved, everyone will be happier and more confident which will lead to more productivity and many more smiles!

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