25% of employees say that they suffer from excessive stress linked to their job according to the corporate consultancy firm Stimulus. Focus on the principle causes of suffering at work.
1- The lack of recognition
Fulfilment in the workplace is not possible without professional recognition! This can depend on several factors: salary, position in the organisation chart or the nature of the projects undertaken. In addition to these specific criteria, a mere “thank you” from a colleague or a line manager is an expression of gratitude which is greatly appreciated. What is essential is the feeling of being recognised for the work accomplished!
2- An ineffective organisation
The causes of suffering at work include organisational problems, which make accomplishing professional assignments difficult. There are numerous situations: unclear or conflicting instructions, illogical schedules or a lack of communication. So, what’s the solution? A frank and calm conversation with your line management in order to optimise work processes in the best way possible.
3- The pressure of results
When the dictates of numbers and productivity replace human relations, stress insidiously arises in the workplace. It is one of the causes of suffering at work. If employees consider that the objectives they have been set are not realistic, they must not hesitate to inform their line management about the situation. A successful exchange will allow you to find an acceptable solution.
In terms of management, the setting up of SMART objectives, which are first and foremost realistic, is necessary to ensure that employees can create a sense of purpose again in their job. Many tools exist to monitor SMART objectives to improve the performance of each employee: at United Heroes, for example, we use Javelo.
4- Difficult work conditions
Sometimes, suffering at work stems from the very nature of the assignments. Staggered hours, night shifts, noise pollution and physically-demanding tasks: these work conditions can be detrimental to the employee’s well-being. This is the case for example in industry or in construction, when employees are confronted with a difficult work environment.
Ensuring the ergonomics of a workstation avoids physical suffering for an employee
5- The lack of ergonomics
Whatever the sector of activity, the lack of workstation ergonomics can result in physical suffering. A desk that is too narrow, a badly designed chair or an ill-adapted computer screen increase the level of employees’ fatigue. The service industry is of course not the only sector concerned. Ergonomics are the indispensable condition for well-being at work in a kitchen, on a construction site or in a classroom.
6- The lack of cohesion
Corporate culture should encourage collaboration and sharing between teams, in the interest of employers and employees alike. However, this is not always the case. Team spirit wanes as a result of daily priorities and cohesion is weaker due to a lack of time or a long-term vision. Employees no longer feel united around a shared project. They have the feeling that they no longer share unifying values. This is a common cause of suffering at work!
At United Heroes, we have adopted the OKR method which allows us to regularly get together to redefine our shared objectives and then break them down into small tasks that are easily measurable. In this way, we never lose sight of the company’s key mission, and we work collectively to achieve it. By the way, are you aware of this mission? Okay, as we’re nice, here you go: "Encouraging everyone to be active".
7- Repetitive tasks
Making the same item hundreds of times a day, repeating the same movement continuously or reciting the same speech over and over: monotony in the workplace is detrimental to the employee’s well-being and his personal fulfilment. Hence the importance of being able to organise leisure activities outside of work hours! The objective? To revitalize yourself and clear your mind by doing an activity that will allow you to recharge your batteries.
8- Insufficient income
What could be harder than throwing yourself into your work when you have the feeling that you aren’t reaping the benefits of it? To give the best of yourself and to realise that it is uncertain if you’ll manage to make ends meet? Insufficient income is a cause of psychological suffering generated by work. With, in many cases, an underlying feeling of resignation...
9- The future of the company
If the company experiences losses, all the employees feel threatened by the uncertainties that may have an impact on their future. There are numerous and sometimes complex situations: losing a market share, excessive competition from other stakeholders in the sector or cash-flow insolvency. In such cases, it isn’t rare for a company to try to minimize its difficulties to maintain a certain degree of cohesion. But communication which is not open can create doubts in people’s minds and develop a form of malaise in the workplace.
Offer future prospects to your employees to avoid malaise in the workplace
For a long time, harassment in the workplace was taboo. There was no acknowledgement of a phenomena which wasn’t easily put into words. Many employees preferred to remain silent and deal with a difficult situation on a daily basis, as they were embarrassed or worried about losing their job. Although things have changed with the recognition of harassment in the workplace, there are still issues that haven’t been resolved. Here again, vigilance and communication are paramount.
As you can see, suffering at work is multiform. It is in everyone’s interest that it is not kept a secret. Line management, human resource managers, professional organisations or company doctors: for an employee who is suffering, there is no shortage of people to contact! It is up to professionals to be attentive to the smallest of signals, to avoid it becoming an inevitability.