A good work environment enables people to realize their full potential, helps them to cope with the normal stresses of life, to work productively, and to contribute to their communities. In such work environments, staff enjoy good self-esteem, they have positive social interactions with colleagues and their productivity is enhanced. Thus, it is a win-win situation which allows a happy employee to also improve earnings thus leading to a happy employer.
A toxic work environment, as we see with Tunde and Musa above, on the other hand, is very unfriendly, enforces rigid working hours, has poor remuneration with irregular salary payments, no job security, high levels of mutual suspicion, and bullying behaviour from superiors – sometimes including sexual harassment. These conditions ensure that the staff will not be motivated to put in their best.
What can you do?
This year’s theme (as at the time of writing) is pertinent to encourage us to discuss these issues. Since mental health challenges can affect anyone, including the head of human resources, or the Chief Executive Officer, should we sack anyone who suffers from these disorders? We all need to raise awareness about mental health in the workplace and its effect on productivity.
Even more importantly, we need to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and encourage people to seek treatment. We should provide support and encouragement for persons with these challenges, and not be seen to make fun of them publicly or behind their backs in private.
Every work environment should make effort to reduce work-related risk factors. Speak nicely to people and promote good inter-personal relationships. Don’t insult, harass or threaten people as a habit, in your work place. Recognize and praise people when they do things well, and correct them in a humane manner, when they err. We all have a role to play in our respective work places. Will you play your part?