The world of work is changing.
In fact it has been changing for some time, but only now, in light of a crisis forcing us to disconnect, import our entire livelihoods online and deconstruct the very assumptions that underpin our entire business ecosystem, are we realising just how fast these changes are taking place. The rapid globalisation of resources, information and ideas over the last decade has set off an innovation tsunami permeating workplaces around the world, with workplace democracy and well-being indicators becoming more and more popular, and their potential to generate human flourishing being seen as fundamental components of a long overdue revolution in our working culture.
Even before the pandemic – which has undoubtedly exacerbated the decline in our collective well-being – poor mental health was projected to cost the global economy $16 trillion between 2010 and 2030. Research carried out by Deloitte in 2018 found that 77% of professionals had experienced burnout in their current job. Real wages are eroding, more employees than ever before are struggling to find value in their work, and meanwhile the companies they work for are forgetting their most important asset – their people. Is that the kind of world we want to go back to when this is all over? A world where return on investment is more important that the return on people? It seems to me that such a return makes no business or moral sense.
I believe the emerging challenge for us as employers, entrepreneurs and innovators is to take heed of the lessons we’ve learned during the last few years and commit to making a very real and compassionate change to the work cultures we are responsible for. In other words we need a Work Reset Revolution. Here are some suggestions as to how we achieve that:
Before we can even begin responding to the unfolding crises affecting our workplaces, we have to gather information, without which we cannot tackle the issues, prove their existence and rally support to our cause. As an employer or leader in your workplace, do you honestly know how your employees are feeling? Whether they are run down? If your systems burn them out, or provide them with a healthy environment where they can flourish and grow? If the answer is that you don’t know, then it’s time to take your organisation’s temperature. Understand, consult and empathise with your employees, so that together you can discover what’s going wrong
Once we know how our employees are feeling, it’s time to take action – Burnout Training, Mental Health First Aid and structural policies that promote flexibility, creativity and promote employee well-being (volunteer days, four day work weeks, etc.) are all tried and tested ways of responding to the demoralisation in our workplaces.
Whilst not all of these policies are appropriate for all workplaces, the most important part of taking action is the participation of the employees themselves – it’s all but guaranteed that they will know better than you what they need to flourish at work. Collaborate with them and jointly develop tailor-make policies that enable them to truly flourish.
Lastly, revolutions are built on the enthusiasm and passion of people. Over the coming months at Softer Success, we will be interviewing doctors, scientists, chief well-being officers and experts who are at the bleeding edge of the Work Reset Revolution. We will be harnessing their collective insight so that we can create the catalyst that drives much needed change in the future of work around the world.
The time has never been more ripe to reboot our business ecosystem and inject it with the values of well-being, collaboration and creativity. We know it, our experts know it; the question is, will you join us on this journey?
Follow us on linked in @Softer Success and we will be sending out more on this very soon!
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