Stress at work. Stress at home. It seems that our company is in overdrive. The numbers for burnout are higher than ever. And it is often against the employer that an accusing finger is pointed out. People can no longer follow, the rat race takes place both at work and in private life. The government asks companies to bet more on flexibility and to pay more attention to the balance between work and privacy. Nowadays, a large supermarket chain puts the traffic of e-mails at rest after office hours. But is it really a good idea? Would not it be better to take more responsibility as an individual for our choices?
Standard solutions too strict
Let it be clear: I do not think it's a good idea for the employer to use the pause button after hours for e-mail traffic. For some people it can give some mental peace. But I also know people who would like to watch their e-mails on Sunday evening to see what awaits them the next day. These standard solutions go too far for me. For me it is a plaster on a wooden leg that does not solve the problem. It is not this measure that will help to fight against burn-outs, stress or disproportion between the time spent on work and private life.
A matter of corporate culture
Obviously, the goal is not to, as an employer, turn a blind eye to the level of stress and burnout that is rising among our employees. But the causes are much more complex than reading an e-mail or two after work. The company culture, the sense of responsibility and the training of the employees also play a role, as does the support that the company provides to the staff. Employers who invest in these aspects achieve much more.
Give and receive
Nowadays, work and privacy are more and more intertwined. We do not know traditional working days like twenty years ago. At that time there was a very strict division between work and private life. But with the arrival of the internet and later smartphones we still respond in the evening to e-mails from work or we still work on files. But during working hours we are also on social networks, we take a look at our private mails, we order an online gift for children, etc. This freedom must be possible and employers have to give it to their staff. It is a matter of giving and receiving. Companies allow private life during working hours, employees open their laptops for one hour at night. How it is organized, it is up to each employee to decide for themselves.
Employees, make your own choices!
Most importantly, it is not just a matter of "taking" and "receiving". Because that is where it crashes: the individuals, in this case the employees, become less and less resistant. They want everything at the same time and preferably as quickly as possible. But they do not know how to overcome setbacks or how to answer a simple "no". It seems that we – parents, teachers, the government, the society … – did not pass on enough during their education. It's a pity, because in real life we have, or rather, we can make choices, both private and professional. And it is exactly the responsibility of the individual. Even if it is not what someone prefers, someone sometimes knows a failure or needs to process a "no". We really have to learn how we can "bite our pause" when something does not bring what we hoped for, when an ideal image that we wanted to have was not 100% realized. As an individual, patience has become something very complicated. Young people sometimes change jobs after two or three weeks, because this is not the work they had hoped for, because they had to do too much paperwork or repetitive work for their taste, or because they already knew everything. do and want to evolve into something else.
Employers, empower your staff!
Of course it makes sense that you can not stop thinking about private things, such as problems in the relationship, money problems or health problems of your parents in the workplace. It is part of the "hybrid" world in which we live.
We must also continue to take seriously the problem of burn-out and stress at work. The employer must find good solutions for the employee, taking into account both the employee and the employer. The responsibility lies not only with the companies. Indeed, the pressure on employees can be strong. But everyone has to decide how far he wants to go and shoot in time to give the alarm.
Employees must give their staff a greater sense of responsibility. Teach them to face failures. Coach them individually. Draw a path with them for their careers and set goals. But above all: help them make choices and show them the impact of these choices. Explain to them that they themselves are responsible for their choices at the end of the race. Only in this way can we equip our employees to properly monitor the balance between work and private life.
So intervening before it goes too far is the responsibility of both the employee and the employer. The employee must of course be supported, but with tailor-made initiatives to make it more resilient. With some general rules such as placing e-mails with pause, we will only pamper employees. And that is exactly what we have to avoid.