A strong sense of purpose is key to improving well-being at work

well-beingI recently read an article in Time Magazine titled, “New Ways to Improve Well-being at Work.” While this is an excellent topic to explore, unfortunately, I believe that this article really misses the point.   After acknowledging correctly that alienation and stress in the work place is a significant problem, the author makes three completely incorrect and misleading statements. People should:  

  1. 1. “Accept that work is the pits sometimes”
  2. 2. “Find ways to detach” from work
  3. 3. Use various “tricks” to reduce stress (and the article defensively states that “learning to meditate at your desk”      isn’t one of them).
  The article goes on to list eight “tricks” for making the work day and work place less stressful. But, that is the heart of the problem with this article — these are tricks, nothing more.   While I agree that some of these tips are healthy and can be effective in the short-term, they only address the symptoms and not the underlying causes of alienation and stress. As a result, these short-term fixes have limited impact and value.   Typically, the underlying cause of alienation and stress in the workplace can be linked to deeply dysfunctional corporate cultures that need to change if people are actually to prosper – not just survive.   The problem here is that by providing short-term tricks, people get distracted from addressing the real problems and doing the work to fix them. I guess if you are working in a dysfunctional culture and you’ve given up, then these tricks are better than nothing –but not much better.   However, for leaders who are truly interested in making changes that will have significant positive impact and add value to their organizations, we recommend that they take a hard look at their corporate cultures and work with an experienced group like Cerebyte to fix the problem once and for all.   Once again, the star performers in your organization are a great benchmark for how to do this without tricks. Star performers are consistently completely engaged in their work and experience less stress.  The reason for this is that they have a purpose and mastery (which are the best “tricks” possible). When everyone thinks and acts like a star performer, then the organization as a whole experiences less alienation and stress.   If leaders of organizations want to create better places to work, they need to focus on ensuring that their corporate cultures are highly functional, supportive to employees and communicate a strong sense of purpose throughout their organization.   Taking a good, hard look at your corporate culture and working to fix it will open up a world of opportunity and much better ways to live and work.   How would you describe the corporate culture at your organization? Does it need improvement? If so, then please contact us.  We would like to help.]]>

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