Forum: Tackle the root cause of workplace stress at company level

I refer to the article, “Quitting is the wrong way to deal with burnout” (Jan 26).

It raises a pertinent issue currently faced by many of us at the workplace: the risk of burnout as a result of heightened stress levels at work.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to higher stress levels, which are now being exacerbated by the current economic conditions.

With inflation remaining high, a lot of businesses are now struggling to stay afloat. Employees are being asked to do more with less, and to do it faster.

Companies have tried to address these higher stress levels at workplaces by putting out messages on mental wellness.

They are reminding their employees to prioritise their mental health, and organising talks on stress management, emotional regulation and relaxation techniques.

Are these individual-level solutions enough? Should we instead address the root cause?

We should create workplaces where people can thrive and experience positive mental health, where they can work for years without facing burnout or illness due to myopic management practices in the workplace.

We must avoid reinforcing what the article calls “the dangerous narrative that employees simply need to be more resilient”.

Companies have developed elaborate mechanisms to track their progress on environmental sustainability. How about tracking the sustainability of companies’ treatment of workers?

We should care more about people, not just endangered species, as we think about the impact of companies’ activities on their environment.

Workplace stress and its health consequences affect everyone, including the companies themselves. Stress has an adverse impact on employee engagement, satisfaction, turnover and performance.

Jude Ang Hock Guan

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