With many of the world’s employees working more than 40 or even 50 hours per week, it’s time we start thinking about what we are truly investing our time in.

Historically, humanity’s relationship with survival has always been pretty straightforward: Grow food if you want to eat, sew clothing if you want to dress, and trade with members of the community for the things you don’t have. Technological advances and cultural shifts have led us to a greater dependence on money as a medium of exchange. In turn, we are less directly connected to the essentials of survival and instead, we invest our energy and attention into this moderator: that is, money.

Wait! Don’t go. This isn’t a protest of money, okay? Let’s call it a thought experiment.

Imagine your workplace

Imagine your workplace. You arrive, settle in, get to work. You know just what to do, what needs to be done, and you do it. You talk to your fellow employees here and there. You take a short break or two, the hours pass, and it’s time to go home.

How do you imagine you feel? Do you leave feeling accomplished? Valued? Do you leave feeling as if you’ve grown?

What about the way you feel right now? Did playing out this work day in your mind bring you down, or did it lift you up? How do you think these feelings impact the success of the business in which you are investing your time and energy?

Around the world, people are working long days– but this is nothing new. Our homesteading ancestors woke up with the sun and worked hard to supply themselves with life’s essentials. But this clear shift in how we are spending our work hours–what we often call “progress”–presents a good question: What are we getting out of it?

Many businesses are turning to team-building

Many businesses are turning to team-building activities and leadership training programs simply because their leaders have posed this question. These leaders recognise that the road to success depends on investing in their employees, fostering ambition and teamwork.

It’s time we start thinking about the work week in a new way. Leadership training is a valuable tool for empowering individuals and encouraging personal growth. Whether you’re a top dog at work or a more modestly-titled team player, your personal successes and those of your workplace go hand-in-hand.

You’re investing so much of yourself in a business: a means to an end, the end goal being the medium for life’s essentials and pleasantries. But the question is, who ever said that the means should be anything but gratifying in itself?