Workplace Values Series: Autonomy at the office

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Workplace values: Autonomy at the office

Workplace values, like autonomy, are an essential aspect of any work environment. Whether you work from home or need to be in an office, employees need to adhere to certain unspoken standards of work ethics. 

In other words, workplace values can be considered as a set of guiding principles that will help to shape the way you and your colleagues work together. When specific values are shared to be expected in order to work together in a professional setting, fewer misunderstandings will occur. 

A happier, more cohesive and understanding environment will grow out of such a nurturing environment. And that’s got to be a win-win situation for everyone. 

With all that being said, what are some of these workplace values that can help to improve the overall quality of your work environment?

In this article, you will be able to find out more about the workplace value of autonomy and 3 ways you can practice autonomy at your office. 

What is autonomy?

Sure, you and I know what the term generally asks of anyone in a social setting. However, what exactly does it mean?

According to, autonomy refers to “the right or condition of self-government”. It can also refer to a “freedom from external control or influence; independence”. 

Let’s take a moment to let that definition sink in. 


When placed into the context of a working environment, autonomy can take on many forms at the workplace. As with any workplace value, we use autonomy as a guiding principle to help us make better decisions as a colleague, and more importantly, as an individual. 

How then we can apply it at the workplace? Read on to find out 🙂

How to practice autonomy at the office?

Practicing the workplace value of autonomy at the office doesn’t actually call for much effort! Meaning to say, that it does not need to be big or outlandish gestures. 

We practice autonomy through the simple, and daily acts of our everyday lifestyle. As such, here are 3 steps you can take to start practicing autonomy within your own office space.

Establish mutual trust

Establishing mutual trust is one of the first steps you can take to practice autonomy at the workplace. 

In order for employees to work together cohesively, it is important that co-workers entrust each other. However, when it comes to developing autonomy, trust is a no-bargain factor. 


And it most definitely has to be a two-way thing! An employee should be able to trust his or her manager. Likewise, the manager or supervisor needs to place trust in his or her junior too. 


This will help encourage both parties to take on more responsibilities without having to worry about trust issues at work. Additionally, it can also help one to feel more involved and engaged at the office too. 


As Stephen M.R. Covey once said, “Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate, or at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team”. 


And so, establishing mutual trust is one way to practice the workplace value of autonomy!

Emphasise ownership of tasks

One can practice autonomy at the workplace simply by emphasising ownership of their tasks. 

At work, each employee is assigned to a set of responsibilities, tasks, and projects. As such, we all have one or another item to take ownership for. When a manager or supervisor emphasises that their employees need to take up ownership of their work, it’s one of the best ways to practice autonomy at the office. How so?

When ownership is instilled, each of us will strive to produce works of the best quality. That is, work that we can take pride in. When one puts in his or her best efforts into something, he or she will naturally be especially proud of that work. 

He or she would want to hear their efforts being appreciated too. As employers, recognising and rewarding hard work whenever you see it is one way to motivate your colleagues. It all starts from one simple step.

Thus, emphasising ownership of tasks is one way to practice the workplace value of autonomy!

Set a vision collectively

The third, but perhaps, the most effective way you can practise the workplace value of autonomy is by setting out a vision collectively. 

Oftentimes, individuals work hard at the office without understanding the big picture. They do assigned tasks and call it a day afterwards. In such cases, autonomy on an individual scale may not exist. 

As such, it is important that employers and leaders at work sit down with their co-workers to set out a vision collectively. This will help everyone get a better idea as to what they are all working towards. 

The lack of a proper vision will result in individuals to be reliant on their superiors whenever they find themselves in doubt. Not a helpful strategy to build up autonomy at all.

Instead, take the initiative to set out clear visions. Encourage your colleagues to step back and look at the whole picture. They’d be practicing the workplace value of autonomy in no time!

What's next?

And there you have it – a piece on an absolutely critical workplace value of autonomy. We hope the information in this article has helped you get a clearer idea of how you can better practice autonomy at the workplace.

Instilling workplace values, like the above, at your office can rake in numerous benefits for every employee. Remember, a little effort can go a long way to ensure a happy and successful workplace for everyone!

Keep a lookout for other workplace values we will be discussing as part of this series soon! Searching for a new workplace that practices these workplace values? On the hunt for a new job?

If you’re on the lookout for jobs within other industries that are nonetheless located in Singapore, here’s an article that shares with you the top 19 job portals in Singapore.

No matter the industry or the position, remember to visit GrabJobs to find a job opportunity in Singapore easily!

Valentin Berard

COO at GrabJobs. Valentin leads strategic and operational activities regionally. Background in Business Development and Recruitment. Passionate about social innovation, he constantly strives to find solutions to real-world problems through harnessing smart technology. Read more: