Motivation Beyond Money.

As the classic debate of Mr.Narayana Murthy’s 70 working hours per week is the talk of the town, let’s talk about what drives productivity at work and you should know, it’s not just the bonus and raise. 

Employees value Wellness at Work as equally as they value pay.

Soaring inflation rates, escalating costs of essential commodities like food and gas, coupled with a surge in mortgage rates, have created significant economic challenges for Americans. This predicament, marked by the daunting prospect of starting a family or acquiring a home, has contributed to heightened anxiety and stress among the population.

The aftermath of recent waves of layoffs has intensified the burden on the remaining workforce. As companies downsize their staff and curtailed new hires, existing employees find themselves grappling with additional responsibilities, exacerbating the strain on an already stressed labor force.

You must be thinking that if they’re getting paid more than usual, why is there a problem? The problem lies in pressure and chronic stress to deliver qualitative and quantitative efficiency to reach a certain target under a certain period of time. AND THAT LEADS TO A BURNOUT.

Now before you already jump into labeling yourself or your colleague to be dealing with a burnout, let’s get a complete insight on what are the signs and symptoms of a burnout. 

Burnout is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that affects individuals across various dimensions. It becomes evident through a constellation of symptoms that impact physical, emotional, and mental well-being. One of the hallmark signs of burnout is the overwhelming sense of exhaustion that permeates every facet of an individual’s life. This exhaustion is not merely physical but extends to emotional and mental realms, contributing to a pervasive sense of fatigue.

Diminished productivity is another key indicator of burnout. Individuals experiencing burnout often find it challenging to maintain the same level of output and effectiveness in their work. The tasks that once felt manageable may become daunting, leading to a noticeable decline in overall work performance.

A prevailing sense of detachment or cynicism toward work is a common emotional manifestation of burnout. Employees may find themselves disengaged, losing the enthusiasm and passion they once had for their job. This emotional distancing can create a barrier between the individual and their work environment, further exacerbating feelings of isolation.

Accompanying this detachment is a noticeable lack of motivation. Burnout saps the individual’s drive and enthusiasm, making it difficult to find purpose and satisfaction in their professional endeavors. This lack of motivation can create a vicious cycle, as reduced engagement and productivity contribute to further dissatisfaction, perpetuating the burnout cycle.

In addition to emotional and motivational challenges, burnout often brings about various stress-related symptoms. These may include physical manifestations like headaches or chronic pain, further adding to the overall burden on an individual’s well-being. The feeling of being overwhelmed becomes a constant companion, as individuals struggle to cope with the demands of their work while grappling with the internal turmoil caused by burnout.

Moreover, burnout is frequently associated with a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction or unhappiness with one’s job. Tasks that were once fulfilling may now feel burdensome, contributing to a decline in overall job satisfaction. This dissatisfaction can extend beyond the workplace, affecting the individual’s overall quality of life.

In more severe cases, burnout can lead to the development of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. The chronic stress and emotional exhaustion associated with burnout can take a toll on an individual’s mental health, further underscoring the importance of addressing burnout as a serious and multifaceted concern.

Recognizing these signs and understanding the holistic impact of burnout is crucial for individuals, employers, and healthcare professionals alike. Effectively addressing burnout requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both workplace interventions and individual coping strategies to restore well-being and foster a healthier work environment.

As per the State of Work-Life Wellness 2024 report conducted by Gympass, a comprehensive corporate wellness platform, there has been a notable shift in the priorities of employees. The report reveals that an overwhelming 93% of workers now perceive their wellbeing to be equally crucial as their salary. This marks a significant increase of 10 percentage points compared to the previous year, underscoring a growing awareness and emphasis on holistic employee well-being.

Furthermore, the report highlights that a substantial 87% of employees would contemplate resigning from an organization that does not prioritize the wellbeing of its workforce. This statistic reflects a strong correlation between an organization’s commitment to employee well-being and its ability to retain talent. The increasing recognition of the importance of employee welfare signifies a paradigm shift where individuals are placing greater value on workplaces that actively foster a culture of health and wellness.

This evolving mindset emphasizes the need for employers to acknowledge and integrate comprehensive wellness programs into their organizational strategies. Beyond traditional compensation packages, companies that prioritize employee well-being are likely to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive job market. As the workforce places greater emphasis on work-life balance and overall health, organizations that proactively address these concerns are better positioned to create a positive and sustainable work environment.

Now that we have established the NEED for wellness at work, let’s throw light on how we can go about it.

It’s the role and responsibility of the team leader/manager to put an extra effort to know their team members and employees well enough to be able to identify the factors that enhance the wellness quotient. The motto is not just to motivate the employees but also make them feel they belong to the firm and its vision and add their value to it.

So what are the steps one can take to make a difference?

Offer Flexible Work Style:

Why is that so? In the midst of the strong push for employees to return to the office, the survey highlights the significant influence of workplace preferences on employee wellbeing.

A notable ‘mismatch problem’ arises at the intersection of employee wellbeing and the workplace environment. This issue pertains to employees who find themselves working in an environment that does not align with their preferences. This includes those who prefer remote work but are mandated to be in the office, as well as those who prefer office work but are required to work remotely.

The survey underscores that employees compelled to work in a non-preferred environment are twice as likely to express that they are “struggling” or “really struggling” compared to their counterparts who work in their preferred styles. Surprisingly, over a third of the respondents reveal that they are not currently working in their desired work environment. This highlights the importance of recognizing and accommodating employees’ preferences to foster a work environment conducive to their overall wellbeing.

Offering a flexible work environment aka hybrid work culture (on-site and WFH) gives the employees the bridge towards building a healthy work-life balance, a moment to pause, breathe and rejuvenate and most IMPORTANTLY, the bandwidth to focus on physical, mental and emotional wellness.

Addressing emotional quotient at work:

Most of the time we have focused on physical and mental wellness as priorities which led to less/no light on emotional wellness. While there is a saying to not bring home affairs to work and vice versa, it’s human to get affected by matters and feel the need for it to be addressed. Keeping it suppressed in order to present as a professional may lead to a breakdown.

It is very important to have one-on-one communication with your employees directly and have a therapist onboard to whom the emotional matters can be expressed and addressed. This lightens up and raises the level of belonging to the firm.

Breaks in between: Short and long:

All work and no fun makes anyone dull. Taking short breaks for a walking spin and even having short discussions on a walk around the premises gives space for physical wellness and a break from the office environment. When talking about long breaks, travel leaves play a huge role in pressing pause, refreshing the mindset and rejuvenating back to work with higher levels of motivation.

Acknowledgement:

When setting targets, objectives, points of execution and strategy, it is definitely important to delegate work but it makes a huge impact when inputs are taken by the employees, acknowledged and tasks are delegated as per the input, knowledge and experience. This drives the zest in the team members to give their best.

It takes small but important steps to build a path of productivity that leads to growth and efficiency. It is the era of empathetic leadership, spanning from the upper echelons to the grassroots, and any organization failing to adapt may find individuals choosing more supportive environments.

It is crucial to reflect on how you are cultivating a company culture that esteems its workforce and places a premium on the wellbeing and happiness of its employees.

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