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Work Place Politics –Factors Affecting Employee Happiness
Impact of Work Place Factors on the Employee
Happiness in the work place can be dependent on several factors beginning with the individual. Certainly, it takes a very strong, resilient and self-motivated individual to remain invulnerable in the face of negative workplace factors such as a boss who is tyrannical, supervisors who are partial and unfair, poor relationships with co-workers, poor work conditions, burdensome workloads, unreasonable work hours, inadequate salary and lack of benefits.
These factors do not all have to come into play simultaneously to create unhappiness or discomfort for an employee. In fact, combined or singly, unfavorable workplace factors can create varying levels of stress for workers. For e.g. just one disagreeable co-worker in an office can poison the atmosphere and make it uncomfortable for many others with whom he comes into contact. Likewise, an unreasonable boss or supervisor can make the life of employees a living hell. The same goes for poor co-worker relationships, poor work conditions, and other such factors.
The impact of negative workplace factors on employee health and well-being is significant when one considers the fact that employees spend the greater part of every day at the work place. Some leave their homes before dawn to get to work on time and only get back home at night. This means that within the standard 8-9 hour work day many people spend more time in the company of co-workers than their families. A stressful and unhappy work environment can therefore have serious negative effects on the mental and physical health of employees and consequently, has the potential to affect even their personal/family life.
A closer look at the above mentioned factors will provide insight into the manner in which they can impact the lives of workers:
Workplace Factors Influence Employee Happiness
Do workplace factors greatly affect employee happiness and well-being?
Type of Boss
- Nobody, absolutely nobody likes to be tyrannized. It is assumed that every worker is an adult and deserves to be treated with the respect and dignity due this status. The ability of the employee to survive and function in an atmosphere of tyranny and disrespect depends to a large extent on his personality. The worker who is self-confident and assertive will refuse to be bullied or belittled and will establish standards within which he will operate. On the other hand, the worker who is timid will buckle beneath such a situation and be rendered miserable. The apathetic worker has little interest in the organization and probably thinks that he has nothing to gain or lose by responding or reacting to his dictatorial boss. He is probably just waiting for the end of each day and for payday.
A boss who is firm, yet respectful, empathetic and responsive to the needs of his staff will contribute significantly to happiness in his workplace despite other negative factors which might be impinging on it.
Attitude of Supervisors
- Supervisors ought to be impartial, but generally they are not. There is the tendency to pick on certain employees and to have favorites. This means that some employees are allowed extra privileges and their infringements are more readily overlooked. Such a situation easily becomes apparent to other staff and can create tension in the workplace. Also, there are supervisors who flaunt their authority by constantly breathing down the necks of their subordinates and keeping them on task. This can have the effect of frustrating the affected parties, stifling creativity and hindering independence and initiative.
A supervisor who is consistent, reasonable, supportive and exemplary uplifts the atmosphere in the workplace and makes staff excited about being there.
- Where poor colleague relationships exist, there is bound to be tension, anxiety and discontent. It sort of inhibits freedom and makes one feel as though one were functioning within a straight jacket. It causes division, hinders teamwork and is not good for productivity in the workplace.
Good working relationships among co-workers make for a salubrious atmosphere and enhanced productivity. On the other side of the coin, relationships which are too chummy can erode authority, create a level of complacence and bring about reduced productivity.
- The level of comfort or discomfort within which employees operate is bound to affect their productivity and efficiency. Poor work conditions make for grumpy, dissatisfied workers, poor work attitude and low output.
Conditions which are favorable motivate employees to give their best. If the atmosphere is conducive to 100% output, then 100% output can be achieved notwithstanding other less significant setbacks.
- The employee who feels that he is being abused will eventually become resentful and desist from giving his best. A conscientious worker does not like to be idle, to feel underutilized or superfluous, but by the same token he does not want anyone to take advantage of him by meting out burdensome workloads especially if the pay is not commensurate with the duties.
The old adage ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay' comes into play here. Work should be distributed reasonably so that despite one’s level, one’s duties do not become onerous on a continued basis.
Overworked and Overwhelmed
- Upper level workers such as CEOs, Managing Directors, Permanent Secretaries etc. sometimes prefer to work late when the office is quiet. Indeed, their days may be so packed with engagements that there is hardly any other time that they can attend to their busy board files. For the average employee, on the other hand, work is rewarding and enjoyable when it falls within the regular work day. However, when work hours exceed the norm or if extra time is needed on a continuous basis, even the conscientious worker will begin to frown. Most good workers will put the organization first and willingly, when necessary, stay overtime to complete tasks and meet deadlines. The work day is 8-9 hours and work beyond this is considered overtime. If overtime is not required on a continuous basis then it can be made to be part of the employees’ responsibilities, particularly in the case of middle and senior managers who are called to work extra hours to meet deadlines at specific times of the year. However, any extensions of the work day which become fixed are an infringement of the rights of the worker.
Work hours which are reasonable and fair encourage employees to give their best and to be willing to work extra hours when it becomes necessary.
- Essentially, people work in order to get paid. People are willing to go the extra mile to earn higher salaries; in short, a high salary is motivation to do more or better work. There is, however, no motivation to work hard or better if the pay is inadequate. Far from that, a worker who perceives that he is being exploited will, if he is ambitious, explore other possibilities so as to move on as soon as possible.
A good pay package is one of the greatest attractions to any employment position.
Wage/Salary is Key
- This is usually a more important concern for mature and established workers than younger persons joining the work force. Common benefits that are anticipated by the employee are social security/national insurance contributions, sick days and sick leave with pay, vacation leave with pay and gratuity and/or pension at the end of one’s tenure.These benefits are not unreasonable or burdensome to an organization or employer. In the public sector and in most large private sector organizations they are standard, however, in smaller private establishments they might have to be negotiated.
Every employee looks forward to some level of security for sickness, vacation and the future.
The Perfect Workplace?
There is hardly any workplace where all conditions are perfect. Similarly there are not very many workplaces where there are absolutely no negative factors. In seeking employment, in these times of widespread unemployment, it is not always possible to be selective; hence, one may find oneself in a position where one has to take whatever is available at the time. However, having accepted a position, it is not the end of the road. It is only a temporary measure while one continues exploring other options and searching for better opportunities which will allow one to find something which suits one’s personality and meets one’s standards and expectations.
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© 2016 Joyette Fabien