Taking a real look at employee wellness
It’s a year since the pandemic and its troubles hit us hard. It was late last March that the lockdowns were announced, hurtling all of us into unimaginable change, chaos and uncertainty.
Overnight millions of working people had to make tremendous adjustments and transition into working from home. And soon the realities and pressures of work from home coupled with the fear of the contagion and fatalities made people, specially women, buckle and experience burnout. Many women continued working without realizing that they were burning out.
Well-meaning organizations and human resource departments went out of their way to support their workforce by setting in place different wellness programs…. great initiatives for employee wellness, including yoga, meditation, diet, fitness and employee wellness counselling. Many women employees welcomed these into their lives, hoping to work through their difficulties and overcome their experience of fatigue and burnout.
But is that all to managing and more importantly preventing workplace burnout? Are we addressing only part of burnout problem with these measures?
Is it time we realized that we need to go beyond these initiatives to manage such a serious concern, that affects not only employee wellbeing but also their creativity, productivity and loyalty? Is there a more wholesome approach to address burnout?
If workloads continue to be high, deadlines continue to be stringent, extended work hours continue to be appreciated, competition between employees and best performers continue to be applauded and rewarded by our systems, will these well-intentioned employee wellness initiatives really be able to calm the distressed employee and bring down their cortisol levels?
Will wellness initiatives be able to fully address these important contributors to workplace burnout? Are we bypassing some good attitudes and workplace practices and triggering burnout?
Should we be changing the game plan and start being more reasonable as we demand quality and quantity work from the workforce? Rather than hiding behind employee wellness programs, is it time we acknowledge and address some of the real causes of employee stress and burnout?
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