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Whether you’re a contractor, a full-time employee, or thinking about your next career move, it’s important to think about what you need from your employer and workplace. Having a solid set of workplace ‘non-negotiables’ will enable you to be happier in your career and daily working life.

Considering the time spent at work, non-negotiables are the key to managing your workplace boundaries and can create a happier and healthier working life. After all, did you know that, on average, we spend one-third of our lives at work? Keen mathematicians equate that to about 90,000 hours over the average lifetime. And that doesn’t take into account commuting, travelling for work, or the time spent thinking about work in the evenings, over the weekends, or even on our holidays.

Non-negotiables are not a new concept. Yet, it’s only been in the past few years that they have come into play. Nowadays, skilled professionals have more benefits and flexibility than in the past. Many people have taken time to re-evaluate their careers, the company they work for, and their job titles. The Great Resignation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and opportunities for hybrid work have created space for people to consider what they want from both their employers and their job roles. Workplace ‘non-negotiables’ fall into this category.

What are workplace non-negotiables?

Workplace non-negotiables are the things that you are not willing to compromise on in your job. They are the values, principles, and standards that guide your work and define your success. These values are not characterised by job title, and you can create your own set of workplace non-negotiables regardless of your job role.

Your workplace non-negotiables outline what you expect from your employer, work environment, and culture. This also includes what you will and won’t accept from colleagues and managers.

Why are workplace non-negotiables a good thing?

They are important because they enable you to understand what you want from an employer and your working environment. In doing so, you will feel more motivated and happier about what you do. This, in turn, can enable you to excel in your role. If you are looking for work, non-negotiables can help you find a job that aligns with your personal and professional goals and your skills and interests.

Workplace non-negotiables are a good thing because they can enable you to:

  • clarify your expectations and priorities
  • communicate your needs and preferences
  • negotiate your terms and conditions
  • make better decisions at work and for your career
  • evaluate your happiness and performance

Examples of workplace non-negotiables

Workplace non-negotiables can include:

  • the type of work you do and autonomy over workload
  • a culture of honesty, openness and mutual respect
  • working for an organisation that aligns with values
  • your salary, commute, and/or benefits
  • opportunities for learning and development programmes
  • a work-life balance that may include remote, flexible, or hybrid working

Other common areas for workplace non-negotiables can also include:

A healthy company culture
A toxic workplace where blame and criticism come into play on a daily basis can be destructive. Receiving criticism on a regular basis can be demotivating, impacting motivation, happiness, and productivity. Many employees won’t compromise on wanting to work in a culture that delivers feedback in a constructive way. Working in an environment where the feedback has helpful points, makes for a happier and more productive team.

A respectful workplace
When there is mutual respect between colleagues, it makes for a healthy work environment and lets staff know that they are a valuable part of business growth and success. This means that there is mutual respect between colleagues and managers and that everyone is valued and appreciated for their contributions to the company.

An environment free of micromanagement
Micromanagement is a management style that involves excessive control and supervision of employees, often focusing on minor details and interfering with their autonomy and decision-making processes. If a manager is sending hourly emails and reminders asking for constant updates, this is a clear sign of micromanagement. Many professionals prefer to not work in this way.

Non-negotiables can and will change
Workplace non-negotiables are not rigid or fixed. As we transition through roles and stages in our lives, values and non-negotiables may change. They can vary depending on the context and situation. They should reflect your core values and career aspirations. Workplace non-negotiables can help you find a job that suits you best and makes you happy.

If you’re all set with your workplace non-negotiables and looking to enhance your IT career, register your details with us today or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will help you to find the right employer and the right role for you.