Our work intervention blog this week completes the series of three common causes of misery in the work place. The first was co-workers and the second reason was the managers / leaders who lead the team. We said that every second person is unhappy and miserable at work. This negativity has dire consequences for companies in the form of lost productivity and revenue because the unhappy mood filters through and affects others. It can result in a very negative team as well as individuals’ health both on a physical as well as a psychological level. People become unwell through the escalation of stress, burn-out and depression and then it also filters through into their personal lives. The cost and impact of misery is often much larger and more severe than we would like to acknowledge.
The last cause of misery is tools and systems we use to get our work done. We need to highlight that the physical work environment does matter, but to a much lesser extent. Having funky office furniture, beautiful buildings and a comfortable kitchen is of great value and certainly appreciated; however people become accustomed to it which means they do not notice it every day. Tools or systems that do not work when they should, are a much more intense frustration for employees and customers.
Other things that can lead to employee dissatisfaction are:
- Changing systems too often and perhaps without understanding the reason behind the change. Evaluate if that upgrade or latest system version will add efficiency and effectiveness to your employees and customers.
- In contrast, get rid of outdated tools. Remain compatible with technology and systems that can support employees to apply themselves.
- Not fully understanding tools or systems leads to doing things the hard way. Ensure that people are adequately trained and can share within groups – often we learn from each other.
- Non-compatible tools are common and lead to doing things manually and duplicating work. Companies add one system on top of another which results in the flow not being interfaced. Information has to be recaptured or a process repeated, which means that staff don’t “work smarter”.
Calculating a precise figure on the cost of misery is extremely difficult because there are so many variables that influence and impact this. We can get very close with certain data and statistics; however we are able to clearly identify what makes people unhappy and miserable at work. These are areas we can focus on and are in our control to change. We purely need to make that choice to trade misery for happiness not because we have to but because we want to… because our people genuinely matter and we care for them!
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