We are unhappy. Evidence points towards the increasing amount of anxiety or depression, but is this to do with the modern life, or is it to do with the modern workplace?
We are at a crossroads, partly due to the threat of machinery taking over many jobs, but also the working environment for the vast majority of us highlights the multitude of anxiety. What are these? What can we do to fix this?
Employees can do their job, but not necessarily feel an attachment to it.
On a superficial level, this is the primary reason so many of us are unhappy in our working lives, but employee disengagement can result in bad habits outside of work, but also inside work, not just issues such as dependence on substances, but also an increased amount of social media use, online shopping, and even watching Netflix during working hours.
Others take the opportunity to take naps. What does this tell us about employee engagement? It's at an all-time low. And the fact of the matter that people are willing to risk their jobs for petty offences like this highlights a grand epidemic of employee disengagement.
The anxiety-inducing aspect of going to work
The modern workplace has excellent facilities to help employees through troubled times. But this isn't exclusive across the board. Many employees struggle to acquire a permanent role that provides balance, but also support.
Many people are looking at zero hour contracts, part-time work, or temporary roles so they can achieve the balance they want. Perhaps this is to do a job that they care about, but not necessarily have the perks to go with it.
Fighting that battle of work-life balance is an ongoing one for many. And as the idea of a secure job appears to be fleeting, it's unsurprising that modern workers feel anxiety in numerous components.
Before we even get to the idea of expectation or work pressure, people can feel anxious about going to work because of the scenario they are in. And this is where the disparity between the old school breed of worker and the new school truly highlights some major differences.
It's not uncommon to gravitate towards multiple careers now, but also the idea of “getting a job for life” that the post-war baby boomers would extol is an approach to life that doesn't work anymore. After all, the consensus was that “you should be grateful you have a job in the first place.”
And this is something that breeds a culture of fear in the modern worker. The fact that we have to get anything, despite our lack of qualifications or experience, and we “should” be grateful for it, no matter how sick it makes us feel.
The continual changes
From the technological demands to the learning curves that grow ever steeper and modern workplace breeds so much stress for these two simple reasons. There doesn't appear to be such a thing as letting someone settle in.
After all, a lot of people are merely given a few months to show their worth, and how dedicated they are to the role. Part of this can be down to the hiring process, and the amount of employee referrals that make it easier for an employer to find the right person.
But this doesn’t disguise the fact that we now live in a sink or swim culture. Giving yourself a pat on the back for making it to the end of Friday appears to be something that can be done up to 52 times a year.
The working environment highlights how much technology changes, and the very nature of how employees can feel dispensable, and having to upgrade their skills on a constant basis, it's hardly a surprise that an employee feels they could be put out to pasture a year from now.
As such, it's inevitable that the trend in self-employment goes to show just how far people are willing to go to reclaim some sense of control over their working lives. Because if someone wants to go for the traditional “working your way up the career ladder” approach, it seems that the bottom rungs are even more difficult.
The way used to be, there was a certain aspect of hazing involved. Now you've got to be hungry and dedicated, pretty much to the detriment of your life outside of work.
The sheer weight of expectation
These days, we can't expect to be with one employer for life, as was the way with baby boomers.
But as the baby boomers are retiring, and the generations afterwards are looking for more diversity and development in life, this immediately equates to a lack of contentment, but this can mean that employees can feel a weight of expectation on the shoulders to deliver each and every time.
And from the perspective of an employer, if they've got it into their heads that this employee won't last long, it's hardly a surprise that they encourage hard graft because this is what will help the business. And if an employee can't cut it, especially in this 24/7 world, an employer has the right to make them move on.
What is the answer?
For all these negatives, there is a major focus on workplace wellbeing, company culture, and employers doing their best for the wellbeing of an employee in general.
But as there is the sheer weight of expectation, the work is harder, and the change constant, if an employer is to keep someone on board, not only do they have to find the right person to cope with the changes, but they've got to fight even harder to keep them.
The modern workplace means modern malaise, and if an employer is to keep a worker on board, there are so many components that the business needs to cater to. It's not just about the very act of doing business; it's about making it an environment for an employee to thrive.
While we are seeing this in places like Google, the smaller companies can certainly struggle to keep afloat, primarily due to a lack of money. Maybe there will be an answer, but in the meantime, the best thing an employer can do is work hard at keeping the right people on board.