Latest research from King’s College has shown that conscientious employees who go up and beyond the call of duty and fear letting their boss down also feel emotionally drained and “used up”. Their family lives are affected the most.
Performing exceptionally well at office and going one step ahead of others may win you the “employee of the month” title but going extra miles and being bombarded with extra tasks and responsibilities comes at a cost.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Stephen Deery, professor at School of Management and Business at King’s College, London, studied 79 employees in a UK customer call center ata bank. Questionnaires on work performance and emotional wellbeing were distributed among the employees.
Surprisingly, they found out that most loyal employees who went an extra mile were most exhausted.
Employees in the study reported that they felt “emotionally drained”. These employees were conscious workers and were motivated, however, they were faced with the problems of increased pressure, competition and extra work from the managers.
“At the moment,individuals are faced with balancing the benefits of a better appraisal against the cost to health and family time. Companies designing the people management policies need to ensure that short term gains made by encouraging employees to go the extra mile are not outweighed in the longer run by personal costs of this behavior,’”Professor Stephen Deery said.
Increasing market pressure and the struggle of companies to make big business has put tremendous pressure on the employees to “up their game”. Employers look for people that can go extra mile to bring revenues for the company.
Employees, particularly in customer services environment, have to outperform colleagues to prove their worth. Improving performance at work naturally elevates the employee’s rank and puts them in good stead with the management. It also improves their chances of grabbing a promotion, bonus and pay raise.
However, what looks like a “win-win” situation for both the employer as well as the employees, is a perfect reflection of capitalism. There is an ugly side to it. The improved performance, the agreeable attitude and extra work cost employee their personal health, physical and mental wellbeing as well as family life.
The researchers studied other aspects that could affect the employee’s wellbeing, such as interpersonal relationships and management of workplace conflicts but it was evident that nothing played a role as big as their “conscientiousness to perform well at work”.
Such workers do not want to let their bosses down. They literally throw themselves in the job and consistently make extra effort so that when they go home, they feel exhausted and emotionally drained. They experience a burn out which is damaging for their health as well as family life.
The study was published in Human Resource Management on January 26, 2017.
On-Job Stress Is The US Workers’ Biggest Complaint
Americans are mostly unsure about how they feel about work. A 2010 Gallup survey – US Worker’s Satisfaction with Aspects of Job – shows that while 78% Americans are “okay with their jobs, they are not completely satisfied.” When asked about their biggest complaint at work, the employees reported unanimously – job stress.
Other surveys – for instance one from Staple Business Advantage – have indicated that employees who work more than the standard 40-hours per week are burnt out and drained. They surveyed 3,000 employees, majority of whom complained they were spending all the time catching up and getting ahead on work and had little time for themselves as well as for the family.
Telltale signs of an employee being stressed include demotivation, unresponsiveness, anger and irritability, tiredness, low quality work, and increased sickness complaints.
It’s Illegal In France To Contact Employee After Work Hours
All is not dark and gloomy in the enterprise world though. The new “Right to Disconnect Law” prohibits employer from contacting employee after working hours. The law is applicable in all companies in France that house more than 50 employees.
The rationale behind this law is to give freedom and the “right to rest” to the employee. Being bombarded with the boss’s orders and emails after working hours only adds stress to the life of the worker.
Studies indicate that work-related stress has spiked tremendously in recent years. Employees leave the office physically but they are not able to completely detach themselves from work. Even their off-hours are not saved from the professional texts, emails and other forms of correspondence. All this extra pressure colonizes the life of the employee to the point where they eventually break down.
Ever since its enactment, the law has rescued thousands of overworked and overstressed employees in the country.