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If You’re Happy at Your Work Clap Your Hands

Between waking up early, negotiating traffic, juggling multiple tasks and working late to complete them, there’s also your life. And, for many, this means complex relationships, unbalanced finances, emotional baggage and an irregular fitness routine.

This is the life of an average corporate South African. Add to it sociopolitical pressures and it’s enough to sap the strength out of even the most capable person. Something’s got to give and often it is productivity, performance and the company’s bottom line. So, inspired by Corporate Wellness Week (1 to 5 July), the Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA) has taken a closer look at what workers can do about it. There are many elements to modern work culture that impact on our wellbeing and productivity.

Three major elements of modern work culture

  1. Presenteeism

Presenteeism is the act of coming to work, despite an inability to perform at your best due to illness (Hemp, 2014). And, according to PwC’s Nanie Rothman & Melissa-Anne Boschmans (2015), this accounts for a loss of about six working days per employee per year.

  1. Telepressure

According to research by Barber & Santuzzi (Feintzeig, 2014), “telepressure is the urge to quickly respond to emails, texts and voicemails, regardless of what else is happening or whether one is even at work.” They found that people with higher levels of telepressure:

  • Agree with statements like “I have no energy for going to work in the morning”.
  • Struggle to think clearly.
  • Are less likely to engage in challenging tasks.
  • Have poorer sleep quality.
  • Are more likely to take sick leave.

To address this, Candice Lee Reeves of envisionme.co.za (2015), suggests managers demonstrate that hard work is smart, balanced work – not non-stop work. And that being permanently available could indicate a lack of time management during work hours.

  1. Stress and burnout

Cumulative stress is stress compounded over time. Traditionally, it was experienced in jobs like firefighting, police work, and trauma hospitals. But these days, heavy workloads, long hours and poor communications mean people in other industries are suffering too (Kerstin McSteen, 2012). Symptoms include apathy, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, poor appetite, migraines, heart problems and even ulcers (Kerstin McSteen, 2012).

How to be happy at work

SMASA says relying solely on your organisation to improve your work life isn’t enough to achieve real wellness. Your happiness also depends on you. To keep you smiling:

  1. Keep a positive mind and cut yourself some slack. Focus on the positive things and point them out to others. Your warm outlook could rub off on your colleagues, too.
  2. Look after yourself. Slow down. Eat well. Exercise. A strong body and mind make you the best you can be.
  3. Take time to reflect. Ignoring your own symptoms of stress and burnout will land you in more trouble than you need. Figure out what triggers your own negativity and work on ways to improve this. 

Ready to spread the happiness within your organisation? We hope so. Who knows? It could improve your productivity and/or your employer’s bottom line.

Source: SMASA. Image: Pixabay

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