When Did the Workplace Become a Combat Zone?
I can’t open my email, news services or RSS feeds without seeing a headline and link to an article about tyrannical bosses, worker stress or cultures of fear in the workplace. When did going to work become such a dangerous and unpleasant task? Haven’t businesses embraced the research, writing and consulting delivered by respected experts on the benefits of a positive workplace culture?
The simple answer is that organizations around the world would prefer to create pleasant work environments. However, as a result of the recession, they have been put under pressure to perform with fewer resources. That means workers must produce more with less, which translates into fewer people to get the job done, no budgets for new equipment, and tighter schedules. That is the perfect recipe for tensions to boil over and desperation to set in.
Or is the uptick in crazed managers and depleted workers the result of other factors? Could this be a backlash against collaborative work environments and a turn toward a need to assert control over employees?
Regardless of the causes, we also hear about organizations that are bucking the trend. They are creating first-class cultures in the midst of downsizing and cost-cutting. Even better, they are taking advantage of change to improve their businesses and their products. Those stories always make my day.