Forum: It’s not the work, it’s the work environment that causes stress

I read the article, “Quitting is the wrong way to deal with burnout” (Jan 26), and the Forum letter, “Tackle the root cause of workplace stress at company level” (Jan 28), with great interest.

From my 38 years of corporate life experience, more than half in senior management, I would venture that people generally do not fear work, even hard work, if they operate in a conducive and supportive environment. 

This has to do with the corporate culture of an organisation.

In many companies, stress and anxiety, which can lead to burnout, stem from factors like office politics, bickering, gossip and jealousy.

This may be exacerbated by the boss busy playing his own political games to ensure his career longevity, at times breaking rules he set, and leaving his subordinates to clean up the mess. 

Then there are supervisors who, instead of working themselves out of their jobs to give subordinates a chance to move up, feel threatened by good performers and drive them out of the organisation.

So burnout is not the product of stressful work. Rather, the stress arises from an unconducive, unsupportive, or even hostile, environment.

Employees are more likely to stay if they are happy, do not feel threatened and value the organisation as a place worth working in, where they can grow and thrive.

The whole organisation, led by management, must believe and work to achieve this.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.