THE LATEST INSTALLMENT of Gallup’s annual State of the Global Workplace report is out, and it paints a pretty grim picture about the enthusiasm and outlook average worker, with most saying they “don’t find their work meaningful, don’t think their lives are going well or don’t feel hopeful about their future,” the study found.
In Canada and the U.S., only 33 per cent of employees say they are engaged at work; half of all workers regularly experience “a lot” of stress at work and only 10 per cent say they were treated with respect at work ― although 71 per cent say there’s a healthy job market for those looking to make a change. But these are not, on the whole, great numbers, and experts are urging business leaders to look inward, lest these trends get out of hand.
“The last two years have been stressful as people around the world dealt with social isolation, economic shocks, education disruptions and serious health problems, including long-term illness and death,” writes Gallup’s Ryan Pendell. “If leaders aren’t paying attention to their employees’ wellbeing, they’re likely to be blindsided by top performer burnout and high quit rates.”
Looking beyond the immediate crisis of the pandemic for explanations, analysts see more deep-rooted issues with workplace culture that could be to blame. Studies have found that work has “intensified” considerably in recent years, but without a corresponding rise in either productivity or wages, which have each stagnated to one degree or another.
“While working harder doesn’t seem to be making us richer, it does appear to be making us sicker,” writes FT’s Sarah O’Connor. If nothing else, for O’Connor it makes a strong case for exploring shorter, more productive work weeks, such as the four-day pilot underway in the U.K. “If we can’t work less hard,” she writes, “perhaps we should just work less.” Kieran Delamont