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职场倦怠受到更多关注,科技能否成为解决之道?

Gwen Moran 2019年06月30日

倘若职场倦怠程度加深,公司必将面临更大的后果,例如生产力下降、人员流失等,甚至可能更糟。

尽管由科技进步催生的“永远在线”文化被认为是职场倦怠加重的部分原因,但该现象背后的原因要复杂得多。图片来源:PeopleImages Getty Images

2019年5月,世界卫生组织的《国际疾病分类》第11次修订版(ICD-11)对职场倦怠进行了更加详细的描述,此后这个词越来越多地出现在了新闻头条上。新定义称,倦怠综合症是由于工作压力长期未得到妥善管理造成的。世卫组织用三个维度的特点来定义职场倦怠:感觉能量低或精疲力尽、对工作感觉消极或有距离感、工作效率降低。

但世卫组织没有将倦怠归类为一种医疗状况。相反,它被列为一种“职业现象”,被归为人们寻求健康服务的一种原因,但不是疾病或健康问题。英国一位持证临床心理学家及组织发展顾问罗素·萨克雷博士表示,对个人而言,这是个好消息,也是可能引起雇主担忧的一个领域。

“在我看来,世界卫生组织此举承认了精神健康问题的严重性。长期以来,由于缺乏实物证据,精神健康状况一直未得到充分重视。”萨克雷说,“比如说,断了一条腿,证据就摆在那里,所有人都能够看到。然而,任何更偏向于‘精神上’的东西,往往会被归结于喜怒无常、懒惰,甚至被认为是一种策略。”

一个常见问题

洛杉矶雇佣关系诉讼律师、阿克曼有限责任公司(Ackerman, LLP)的合伙人米歇尔·李·弗洛雷斯说,权威的世界性卫生组织对职场倦怠的承认,会让人们意识到对这个问题的误解,同时可以为解决该问题提供进一步的支持。但她说,人们对职场倦怠的认知提高,也给雇主带来了新问题。

“我认为(大多数)雇主都意识到了,能够被请假政策、《美国残疾人法》(ADA)和特殊住宿要求覆盖的严重医疗状况可以有不同的形式,职场倦怠也包括在内。”李·弗洛雷斯表示。弗洛雷斯还说:“通过将这种对职场产生直接影响的问题及其症状记录在册,世卫组织还向雇主普及了职场倦怠为什么不容忽视。”

职场倦怠也因为其普遍性引发担忧。盖洛普在2018年的一项调查发现,44%的受访者表示,他们“有时”会在工作中感到倦怠。与此同时,23%的人说他们“经常”有这种感觉。

“这给人们敲响了警钟,因为职场倦怠可能进一步导致员工面临其他已知风险。”萨克雷表示,“需要在公司生活的各个领域把职场倦怠的因素考虑进去,同时还不能对这个话题‘歇斯底里’。”

科技:既是病因,又是药方?

尽管人们认为科技进步催生的“永远在线”文化是导致职场倦怠加重的部分原因,但其实该现象背后的原因复杂得多。Kronos Incorporated和Future Workplace于2017年开展的员工投入度系列调查发现,引起受访者职场倦怠的三大原因包括薪酬不公(41%的受访者)、工作量不合理(32%)和加班时间过长(32%)。

“过度纵容也同样会导致倦怠,因为企业不敢给员工施加挑战,促其发展。”萨克雷说,“因此,领导层和员工之间需要进行合理的、成年人之间的对话,才可以取得成效。”

一些公司正在认真对待这些理念。2018年9月,在斯科特·舒特担任领英全球客户运营副总裁六年多后,成为了该公司主管正念和共情工作的高管。在这个职位上,舒特专注于改善员工健康和参与度。他发起了为期30天的冥想挑战,制作了和冥想有关的内容,并于2019年6月与Wisdom 2.0在加州山景城共同主办了共情与领导力峰会。

“如我们所知,大量研究表明,善念能够帮助我们拥有更好的人际关系。”舒特说,“这对我们减轻压力、焦虑和抑郁都大有裨益。我有兴趣做一些研究,看看善念长期会如何影响生产力等核心指标。”他补充道,这一角色属于新生事物,相关计划的影响力目前主要是通过消耗来衡量。

萨克雷说,越来越多的健康类应用程序可以帮你监控自己方方面面的健康行为,比如喝了多少水,睡了多少觉,做了多少运动等,或许也能够帮助员工更好地照顾自己。

除文化因素外,接受Kronos调查的人力资源主管中,20%的人认为员工在工作中缺乏足够的科技工具是导致他们职场倦怠的另外一个重要原因。在雇员超过2500人的公司,27%的受访者有这种感觉。

一些组织正在向Glint等平台求助,这些平台可以帮助组织获得反馈,监督员工的参与度、表现和成长。Glint软件平台的联合创始人、首席执行官兼主席吉姆·巴奈特说,此类科技工具可以帮助组织查明导致职场倦怠的原因并加以解决。

弗洛雷斯和萨克雷都认为这种意识很重要。如果职场倦怠程度加深,公司必将面临更大的后果,如生产力下降、人员流失等,甚至可能更糟。

“如果现在不采取行动,很容易导致未来出台一系列严苛的新法规。”萨克雷说, “这对企业而言,是一个滑坡谬误,所以需要现在就着手解决问题。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Ever since May 2019, when the World Health Organization’s 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) included a more detailed description of burnout, the term has increasingly made headlines. The new definition calls burnout syndrome the results of chronic workplace stress that have not been successfully managed. WHO characterizes it as having three dimensions: feelings of low energy and exhaustion, negative feelings toward or disengagement from the job, and reduced professional effectiveness.

But WHO stopped short of classifying burnout as a medical condition. Instead, it’s listed as an “occupational phenomenon,” and included it in a chapter of reasons for which people contact health services—but are not considered illnesses or health conditions. That’s good news for individuals and a possible area of concern for employers, says Russell Thackeray, Ph.D., a U.K.-based licensed clinical psychologist and organizational development consultant.

“The move by the WHO represents, in my view, an acknowledgement of the seriousness of mental health conditions, long under-appreciated because of the lack of physical proof,” Thackeray says. “For example, break a limb and the evidence is there for all to see. However, anything that’s more ‘in the mind’ can often be attributed to being moody, lazy ,or even a strategy.”

Shining a light on a common issue

Having a respected world health organization recognize burnout brings awareness to the issue’s misconceptions and provides further support for it, says Michelle Lee Flores, a Los Angeles-based employment litigator and partner with Ackerman, LLP. But burnout’s higher profile also raises new questions for employers, she says.

“I think [most] employers are mindful that serious medical conditions that can either trigger coverage under leave policies, or coverage under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] and accommodation requirements can also come in different forms, including this,” Lee Flores says. “By documenting the condition and its symptoms—which directly affect the workplace—WHO has also helped employers understand why burnout isn’t something to be ignored,” Flores says.

Burnout is also a concern because of its ubiquity. Research from Gallup in 2018 found 44% of people surveyed said they “sometimes” experience burnout on the job. Meanwhile, 23% said they felt it “very often.”

“This is a wake-up call and can lead to further areas of defined employee risk,” Thackeray says. “Companies will need to factor in burnout into all areas of corporate life without becoming ‘hysterical’ about the whole subject.”

Technology: A contributor and a cure?

While the “always-on” culture fueled by technology has been partially blamed for increases in burnout, the reasons are more complex. The 2017 Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace found that the top three reasons respondents for burnout included unfair compensation (cited by 41% of respondents), unreasonable workload (32%), and too much overtime/after-hours work (32%).

“Burnout can be produced from being overly cosseted, because organizations are frightened to challenge and develop people,” Thackeray says. “So a proper adult conversation needs to be had between the leadership and workforce to deliver results.”

Some companies are taking those conversations seriously. In September 2018, Scott Shute became LinkedIn’s head of mindfulness and compassion, after having served as the company’s vice president of global customer operations for more than six years. In this role, Shute focuses on programs that improve employee wellness and engagement. He’s launched 30-day meditation challenges, produced meditation-related content, and co-hosted The Compassion and Leadership Summit in June 2019 along with Wisdom 2.0 in Mountain View, California.

“We know there’s tons of research that shows that mindfulness is great for our ability to have better relationships,” Shute says. “It’s great for our ability to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, reduce depression. I’m interested in doing some research over time on how it affects heart metrics like productivity.” The role is relatively new and the program’s impact is currently being measured by consumption, he adds.

The rise of well-being apps that help monitor everything from how much water you’re drinking to how much sleep and exercise you’re getting may also help employees take better care of themselves, Thackeray says.

In addition to cultural aspects, 20% of human resources leaders who responded to the Kronos research cited insufficient technology for employees to do their jobs as another primary cause of burnout. At organizations with more than 2,500 employees, 27% of respondents felt this way.

Some organizations are turning to platforms like Glint to enable feedback and monitor engagement, performance, and growth. Such tech tools may help organizations spot areas that contribute to burnout and address them, says Jim Barnett, co-founder, CEO, and chair of the software platform.

Both Flores and Thackeray think that kind of awareness is important. As burnout levels climb, companies stand to face greater consequences in terms of lost productivity and turnover, and possibly worse.

“Too little action now could easily lead to more frequent and onerous legislation in the future,” Thackeray says. “This is a slippery slope for organizations, so start fixing things now.”

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