Branchefællesskabet for arbejdsmiljø

Meaningful work

Meaningful work is work that makes sense and has purpose. Read more here about meaningful work and what you can do as an employee, a manager or a member of the health and safety group.

VIDEO - INSPIRATION FOR STAFF MEETING - watch this video and talk about how you can make the meaning and purpose of the individual jobs more visible (in Danish with English subtitles).

Understanding meaningful work

Meaningful work helps improve job satisfaction and wellbeing at the shop.

Making work more meaningful

You can contribute to a more meaningful workday as an employee, a manager or a member of the health and safety group.

For employees

For employees

What makes your work meaningful?

Think about your work and consider:

  • What is meaningful work for me ideally? Is my current work meaningful?
  • Does my work have purpose and is it consistent with my personal values?
  • Can I do well at work?
  • Do I make a difference?
  • What can management, my colleagues and I do to make work more meaningful?

Here is what you can do

Know what makes work meaningful to you

Consider your work situation and ask yourself what you can do to make your work more meaningful. What can your colleagues do, and your manager?


Your situation may change, and if your perception of meaningful work changes, you should be aware of this and react.

Be well prepared for your tasks

When you feel well prepared for your tasks, the work you perform will often also make sense to you. Therefore, it’s good to be ready to learn new skills and to be aware of your own skills and development.

Support your workplace community

Many people find meaning in the social aspects of the workplace. You create a good social community by being aware of how you communicate and behave, for example.

Social activities are also about participating in meetings and joint events, and perhaps even organising events yourself.

For managers

What makes work meaningful for your employees?

  • Do you know what meaningful work is for each of your employees?
  • How can you make work meaningful for your employees? What can colleagues and the individual employee do?
  • Can complaints and dissatisfaction be due to lack of meaningfulness?
  • Do your employees lack motivation, show signs of boredom, aggression, apathy and helplessness? Could this be a sign that they lack meaningfulness at work?
  • Are your employees clear about how the individual contributes to the overall results of the shop?
  • Is there a good social community at the workplace, and what can you do to strengthen it?

Here is what you can do as a manager

Tools and links

Related pages on Det du mærker

For health and safety groups

The work of the health and safety group

The health and safety group does not have a clearly defined responsibility in ensuring meaningfulness of work.  Through the health and safety risk assessment (APV), the employee satisfaction survey, surveys of your psychosocial working conditions, or through some other channel, you may receive feedback from employees on topics such as:

  • The meaningfulness of work
  • Involvement and motivation
  • Job satisfaction.

Any positive reports can help you capitalise further on your good experiences. If there are negative reports, meaningful work can be a good way to improve things.

Here is what you can do

The quick method

If you want to address the subject of meaningful work at a small workplace, a simple staff meeting may be a good place to start. The meeting will help you put in words your experiences and thoughts about meaningful work.  At the end of the meeting, you can all assess whether there is a need to launch initiatives.

  • Watch the film about meaningful work together.
  • Talk about the film: What is it like at our workplace?
  • What can we do to make us feel more informed and to get a more meaningful workday?
Initiatives based on a health and safety risk assessment

You can conduct a health and safety risk assessment (APV) with special focus on the psychosocial working conditions and examine the factors that affect the experience of meaningfulness at work.

There are several ways to conduct a health and safety risk assessment:

  • The dialogue method by which you identify the problems at a staff meeting and discuss causes and solutions together.
  • The questionnaire method by which you collect employees’ opinions and experiences in writing, and then find causes and solutions either in the health and safety group or at a staff meeting.

Tools and links

Related pages on Det du mærker