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What does good work mean for you?

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I’m leading the Review of Modern Employment for UK Government and I am determined that the Review will be bold and offer a comprehensive strategy for a better work future.

I decided early on that tackling exploitation, confusion and perverse incentives in work would only be likely if we all care as much about the quality of employment as about its quantity.

Good work is something the RSA cares about deeply.

We need a good work economy because

  1. Most people in poverty are already in work.

  2. Bad work is bad for people’s health and wellbeing

  3. Bad work is more likely to be low productivity work and thus bad for the economy

  4. Automation will impact the future of work 

  5. Bad work – with no choice or voice for workers – just feels wrong in 2017

But if good work for all is to become a reality, I need to show that there is strong support in civil society and the wider public for this goal.

The RSA wants you to talk about what good work means to you.

We have a few weeks to persuade whoever wins the next election that good work matters.

Post a video on Facebook or Twitter using #GoodWorkIs to tell us what good work means for you

Or comment below to share your conversation about good work

Join the discussion

77 Comments

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  • My principles of 'good work' are about feeling valued - encouraging people to grow and to realise their worth in whatever role they have and whatever their background is. It's about establishing a culture of mutual giving on the sides of employer and employee - "what do I bring to this?", not just "what do I get from this?". 'Good work' doesn't unfairly judge someone's level of ability or commitment just because they have other responsibilities, interests or needs, instead it harnesses what is contributed in the working day and supports wider balance and perspective. It enables people to have to room to step up and give that extra bit willingly and happily at times when it's genuinely needed. 

  • Good Work for me means: being respected, flexibility, quality and fairness.

  • There has been a very good project on 'Good Work' at Harvard which I would highly recommend. I think good work is about having a sense of respect, purpose, satisfaction and achievement. The conditions should help us to flourish and collaborate not just perform to the best of someone else's judgement. We also need some control and be able to participate fully and authentically in key decisions about our work and workplace. In my longish life this is the area of life that has deteriorated most.


  • Good work is desiring to achieve something positive, to enjoy being part of a team and to live in the absence of fear. It is about being your self at work and able to be flexible and adapt what you do to fit the needs of the employer.

  • Thee is always a potential danger is what appear to be neat, logical lists. At the same time any debateon a topic as complex as this requires some degree of clarity and consistency of definition. So, with some caution I offer the follwing as an agenda for debate.


    Good work:

    … is ethically rooted and expressedthrough consistent moral practice that recognises and respects the values ofindividual workers.

    … is appropriately profitable andcontributes to international, national, local and community economic health withappropriate recognition for investors, innovators and shareholders.

    … requires explicit criteria tojustify pay differentials that recognise weightings for different levels ofknowledge, expertise, experience and accountability with optimum ratios for therange of rewards.

    … contributes to the personal,social and psychological well-being of workers as part of an explicit duty ofcare and a commitment to social entrepreneurship.

    … creates opportunities for theenrichment of work through training and development, the development ofalternative working practices and work that is intrinsically challenging andrewarding.

    . . . is environmentally sensitiveand responsible and moves from a culture of restitution to one based onprevention in responding to environmental issues.

    … contributes to social justicethrough employment practices designed to secure equity for all and respect forthe dignity and value of all workers.

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