“The Future of Work is Human” This was the title of the morning session at the annual CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development ) conference in Croke Park conference centre, Dublin last week. There were some encouraging views and ideas around the need for a more person centred view of relationships in the workplace. Equality, inclusion and recognition were proposed as the way forward and no longer can employers see wellness for staff as an occasional lunch time talk or indeed walk. Instead we were told that companies need to prioritise their staff and their wellbeing and incorporate a more person / employee centred approach to work relationships.
Peter Cheese CEO of CIPD spoke about stress being the biggest cause of absenteeism in the workplace and that well-being in the workplace now has to be a priority! Good to hear and also specifically that in his view the other priorities, obviously linked to wellness are concerned with equality and opportunity, meaning and purpose and utilisation of skills and talents. That its important to employers that their employees are feeling in alignment with their company ‘s values and that they are happy at what they do.
This is why I thought the idea that the “Future of work is human” is a progressive and relevant one. If companies and large organisation can hold and implement this philosophy we will have a happier, more effective and connected workforce. If employees are feeling connected to themselves, feeling better about themselves in their work, they are going to be more connected to their job and to their colleagues -so its “win-win” .
Mr Cheese approach to “rules” was also refreshing, he proposed that regulation in the workplace ideally should be more about principles rather than rules; rules can take people away from being accountable and standing over their actions. If we act solely according to rules, we can tend to disassociate from taking responsibility for our actions. I am sure we all have encountered people who adhere rigidly to rules rather than stand over and be accountable for their actions.
As a psychotherapist and Employee assistance counsellor I was once again reassured about the emerging and developing need people skills in the workplace and that well being in its broadest sense needs to be ensured . That its not just stress management or building resilience but about employee engagement, building trust, good communication and flexible working hours.
My own list of ideas for improved well being in the workplace would include:
Engaging employees and identifying their strengths and talents.
Ensuring the employee’s views are heard and that there is good communication in the workplace.
Employees are encouraged and supported in having a good work /life balance
Well being is prioritised and the work setting has built in mindfulness classes, talks etc
Physical environments need to be attended to-open plan offices aren’t always conducive to effective working -have “break out ” rooms and other spaces to work.
As we become clearer that work is about people first and foremost then we can prioritise employees and their needs.
One comment I heard from a HR manager at the conference was that “Isn’t it amazing that we are talking about all of this, a few years ago it was all about job descriptions and performance measures”