We All Struggled During The Pandemic. So What Can We Do To Make Our Working Conditions Better?
The pandemic has presented a great opportunity for corporations to improve trust in work environment. It was a very unique period of time for managers to take a closer look at their employees’ working conditions and make shifts for a more comfortable workplace.
However, the most problematic issues of presenteeism and glorification of overwork have persisted in most companies during the pandemic.
Why are they so difficult to resolve, and what can we do to make them disappear?
So What Is Presenteeism?
Presenteeism refers to working for longer hours than usual or working even when you are sick to be considered worthwhile by your employers.
The issue of overwork by employees to impress their bosses has been one of the most common and persisting problems among corporations for a long time. This is because overwork causes serious damage to our physical and mental health.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to stop operating, management experts saw the light within the tunnel of persisting toxic workplace culture. At the beginning of the pandemic, experts predicted that companies might be able to dismantle this issue, by making a big shift in their work environments.
FROM OVERWORK AT THE OFFICE TO OVERWORK AT HOME
However, the reality turned out different. Being in the middle of the global panic, employers were not able to tackle the issue of overwork effectively. Rather, a new challenge of working from home often intensified their employees’ toxic working conditions.
Since managers cannot physically see their employees working at home, some corporations decided to adopt surveillance software to monitor them online. Subsequently, presenteeism simply shifted from the office to the digital work platform instead of disappearing, as employees started working much harder not to be considered “lazy” by their bosses.
In fact, a survey conducted by HR consultancy Robert Half in 2020 indicated that 45% of respondents in the US admitted to having worked for more hours than they did prior to the pandemic. These conditions of overwork resulted in employees’ poor mental health. A study conducted in 2020 suggests that 41% of employees in the UK reported having experienced mental illness because of their workload.
Along with these statistics, experts told the BBC that the working conditions of employees might only get worse as companies adopt hybrid working styles where employees work in both online and offline environments.
So, How Can We Put An End To This Continuous Issue Of Overwork?
TRUST YOUR EMPLOYEES
While suggested solutions to this issue vary, many experts agree that building trust between managers and employees is the key.
Peter Cheese, professional of human resource management from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK, states that “managers need to trust their employees in the same way as they need to engage with employees to trust them.”
He explains how managers have often evaluated employees’ performance based on figures like working hours or profits they have made because those factors are easy to measure and compare. However, Mr Cheese suggests that employees’ contributions should be properly evaluated by “their output and outcomes” they have made for the company, as productivity and performance come out as different for each employee.
Therefore, managers need to trust their employees. They need to trust that employees are able to fulfil their duties and work accordingly without being monitored all the time.
When employees feel trusted by their superiors, their productivity and performance will be boosted as they also start to trust their managers’ judgement.
But how exactly do we build trust among ourselves in a workplace?
TEAM BUILDING TO DEVELOP TRUST
Conducting team building exercises and participating in team building programs can make the process easy for you.
We design and provide a variety of programs that are unique to your team to help you establish trusting and engaging relationships with one another. Through the experiences we provide, you can create an atmosphere where each member of your team can feel cherished and trusted to accomplish your shared vision as a company.
For the past two years, we’ve all had a difficult time. Whether we improve our work environment for the post-pandemic era or worsen our condition- by not taking action- depends on how we act now.