Understanding the need to beat workplace blues

The UAE has been an 'early adopter' of templates that factor in well-being and employees’ happiness, and, in fact, the matter is part of this country’s national agenda

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Published: Thu 16 Feb 2023, 11:01 PM

A recent McKinsey Health Institute report, that surveyed more than 4,000 employees in the GCC — the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — indicates that a sizeable number of employees appear to be in poor mental health due to work- and workplace-related issues. The UAE, the report added, has been an “early adopter” of templates that factor in well-being and employees’ happiness, and, in fact, the matter is part of this country’s national agenda. The entire region is also aligning itself with strategies that promise to give a better quality of working life to professionals and workers.

But one doesn’t really need to look at this particular study, and this particular region, to figure out what’s happening at workplaces in most markets — especially after the pandemic: too many professionals are not happy, either because they cannot cope with the pressure or because they believe they are in a toxic environment. Add to this the fact that technology is upping the game for the human race, and ushering in a different set of insecurities.

There is a contrarian school of thought vis-à-vis this. A certain segment of society believes modern-day employees — specifically younger ones — are too “woke” and therefore less likely to be on the same page with certain processes. Small things can push their buttons, and make them disgruntled. Let’s take one example. ‘Work from home’ became a given during the Covid period, and while many people couldn’t wait to get back to work, an equal number got used to working from home. When the second lot returned to work, they were at odds with certain rigours, which got to them much more than they would have ‘normally’. There were cases reported of unhappiness as a consequence, and it was obviously attributed to the workplace not being accommodating.

Whatever may be the case, when findings like these come out, we realise how forward-thinking the UAE government has been to have incorporated workplace happiness as a welfare measure. And how it’s proactively working to ensure that workers’ well-being is not compromised.


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