What is work-related ill-being?
Workplace ill-being affects a large number of people today, whether they are employees or managers. It is usually the result of unsuitable working conditions, inappropriate organisational methods, or the inability to find a balance between professional and personal life.
Manifestations of unhappiness at work include burn-out, which is related to professional exhaustion; bore-out, which stems from boredom and lack of stimulation; and brown-out, caused by a loss of meaning in daily tasks.
It is important to recognise and address these issues in order to safeguard the mental health and well-being of workers. As managers or employees, it is important to foster open communication, regularly assess working conditions, and put in place prevention and support strategies to combat work-related ill-being.
According to a study, only 1 in 5 French people would confide their unhappiness to their manager, which underlines the importance of establishing a climate of trust and benevolence to encourage communication on this sensitive subject.
What are the main causes of unhappiness at work?
Workplace ill-being is the result of a complex combination of factors that affect both employees and managers. These factors can be physical, organisational, personal and emotional, and vary according to the situation and the individual. Their impact on employee well-being is considerable, and it is crucial for companies to recognise and address them seriously.
There are many causes of work-related ill-being. These include
- High workloads
- Time pressures
- Physical difficulties
- Contradictory injunctions from management
- Budgetary constraints
- Economic difficulties
However, DARES data indicate that psycho-social risks are the main contributors to work-related ill-being. These risks encompass relational, emotional, interpersonal and value issues. These include the quality of relationships within the company, ethical and emotional conflicts, and expectations for emotional management.
Emotional demand, for example, has twice the impact on employee well-being as work intensity. Work-life balance is also a key factor contributing to work-related ill-being. Many employees find it difficult to balance their work and personal responsibilities and feel under constant pressure.
A major element to consider in understanding work-related ill-being is stress. Stress at work can result from the accumulation of several of the factors mentioned above and can have serious consequences for the physical and mental health of employees.
Interpersonal relations within the company also play a crucial role in well-being at work. Situations of conflict, bullying or sexual harassment can lead to acute ill-being. On the other hand, healthy and harmonious professional relations are essential for the well-being of employees. An OpinionWay study reveals that almost 9 out of 10 employees believe that their well-being at work depends largely on the quality of relations with their colleagues and the friendly atmosphere within the teams.
Finally, recognition and appreciation of the work done are also essential for professional fulfilment. Managers must be aware of the impact of their management of psycho-social risks and put in place appropriate measures to prevent and manage ill-being at work, particularly by addressing suffering at work.
Suffering at work, the signs that should alert you
- Physical and mental exhaustion: constant fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches.
- Stress and anxiety: irritability, nervousness, concentration problems.
- Disengagement and loss of motivation: lack of interest in work, reduced productivity.
- Feeling of isolation and relationship difficulties: withdrawal, tension with colleagues or management.
- Mood disorders: sadness, mood swings, irritability.
- Recurrent health problems: infections, digestive problems, muscle pain.
- Changes in habits: excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco or medication, changes in eating habits.
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem: feeling of incompetence, permanent doubt about one’s abilities.
- Absenteeism and presenteeism: increased sickness absence, presence at work without being really productive.
- Ethical conflicts: discomfort with practices or decisions that are contrary to personal values.
- Physical manifestations: musculoskeletal disorders, back pain, joint pain.
How to deal with unhappiness at work?
In order to take action on work-related ill-being, it is important to remain alert to the signs we have mentioned, which may reflect suffering at work.
Early and appropriate intervention, involving employees, managers and human resources, can help prevent the negative consequences of work-related ill-being and improve the well-being of employees.
Here are some steps to take in order to act in the right way:
- Identify the signs of suffering at work and encourage dialogue with the people concerned.
- Raise awareness among managers and employees about psychosocial risks and the importance of well-being at work.
- Assessing the factors of stress and ill-being within the organisation by involving employees.
- Implement concrete actions to improve working conditions, reduce sources of stress and strengthen social support.
- To ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of the actions implemented in order to adjust the measures according to the needs.
The aim is to accompany and understand the source, in order to solve the problem in depth.
Well-being at work, multiple gains
It is the reduction of absenteeism at work, when a QWL approach is implemented.
(Quality of Life at Work)
The employees are :
put more energy into their
in their work
*BLOOM AT WORK. “The impact of QWL (Quality of Life at Work) on performance”, 22 October 2019
Employer branding is the key to attracting today’s culture-focused candidates.
According to a 2007 LinkedIn study, 69% of professionals now recognise that employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire.
The quality of working life and the good atmosphere in your company are the key elements of your employer brand.
Turn your employees into
into ambassadors of your company
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the number of visits
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of reading its
*MSL GROUP. “infographic: Social Employee Advocacy”. Scribd. 11 December 2014
How to prevent psychosocial risks
psychosocial risks and promote health at work?
24% of French employees say they are in a “state of hyperstress
*STIMULUS. “Observatory of psychological health at work”, 27 November 2017
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