Does well-being have its place at work?

Does well being have its place at work

  • News
  • Posted on 04/01/2021

    2 min read

    Ping-pong table, nurseries for children and sometimes even a gym. Companies are increasingly taking into account the well-being of employees by providing them with places to rest and benefits in kind. Studies have shown that a happy employee is a more productive employee. But would defining happiness by the work environment be enough?

    Work happy to work better. According to a Harvard study published in 2018, feeling happy at work would increase productivity by 31% and creativity by 55%. The Covid-19 crisis supports this hypothesis. According to an Ifop survey unveiled last June, for 81% of employees, well-being at work is a priority issue.

    The importance of well-being at work is a recent process “, underlines Isabelle Barth, university professor and researcher in management sciences. “A century ago, it was not in the objectives of the leaders.”

    Before talking about the well-being of employees, companies first had to think about the “safety at their workplace”. The Workers’ Compensation Act of 1898 marked a first turning point. “At first, companies simply bowed to the law”, reports the professor. But over time, the expectation of work has grown. From now on, “we expect from work social status, recognition, salary”, emphasizes the researcher.

    Golden cage syndrome

    To achieve this well-being, companies mainly play on the quality of life at work (QWL). In an approach where “the employee would be passive“It would be up to the company to provide something to make the employee happy, at the risk of having a hold on the employees,” reports the professional. This hedonic approach, based on pleasure, has limits from a professional point of view. Well-being would be defined only by rewards and a feeling of comfort, so pleasure could be bought. Private life can then easily mix with the professional environment. The risk for the employee would then be “develop the golden cage syndrome and stay within a company for their comfort and not for the tasks to be performed”, reports Isabelle Barth. In the event of departure or dismissal, he would lose much more than a job, he would lose a living environment.

    With this approach, the work can only be summed up by the atmosphere of a company. In this context, the fundamental answer to the question “why are you going to work” would be “because I like my team“, a response based on affect. We then appeal to the irrational, we speak of emotion.

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    Empower and empower

    The researcher proposes a second approach by placing more emphasis on the responsibility of the employee who approaches a eudemonic posture, where the employee is active in his development. It was theorized in particular by the philosopher Aristotle. “Through this approach, well-being would be the realization of its full potential”, explains the professor. The employee is in a position of active demand and seeks a position that will allow him to be fulfilled in his work and proud of his achievements. In this context, he performs his tasks not with the aim of receiving an immediate reward, but to achieve his own objectives. It’s a “permanent self-building process“, reports Isabelle Barth, whose path made it possible to approach personal development.

    Some will respond favorably to the attraction of benefits according to their desires and needs while others will seek in the work values ​​such as autonomy, the values ​​of the company, the quality of the work carried out, as well as personal goals. The key is to know what their needs are and how to meet them.