Corporate Social Responsibility – part 1: The state of our working world

Corporate Social Responsibility – part 1: The state of our working world

Corporate and social responsibility has given us the state of our working world today, and the picture isn’t great.

Currently, the condition of our workplaces and workforces is a changing landscape as nations and economies continue to shift for competitive advantage. Talent migrates across country borders bringing new ways, attitudes, cultures and ideas about how we should now be working smarter, harder, faster and cheaper. Our working days, hours and shifts are elongating as the ‘24-hour-a-day-employee world’ surges on to produce even more goods and services to improve business scale, efficiencies and profits.

In coping with the everyday pressures and demands as workers, our intake of:

  • caffeine
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • anti-depressants is escalating every day,

and work-related:

  • job stress
  • workplace conflict
  • mental health
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • diabetes
  • cancers
  • heart disease continue to rise.

The 2013 State of the American Workplace Report estimates that widespread disinterest & unhappiness in the office is not only affecting company performance, but is costing the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion a year[i]

Gallup: The 2013 State of the American Workplace Report

This is matched with the corporate disease of corruption that continues to infiltrate workplaces and working practices at all levels, is in every size business, corporations, governments and nations. Where we see corruption being played out in all sorts of ways from ‘turning a blind eye’ to self-serving and where self-interest and gain are put before the needs of others.

So, in the context of the above, how is it really for us at work? And are we as workers happy?

We continue to press on, typically regarding our work and jobs as mundane or drudgery and something we have to do to earn a living. We move, change jobs or careers, take sabbaticals, travel and take holidays to create variety in life and to avoid feeling the discontentment. But how often is it that we come back to the same drudgery, and within 24 hours, the ‘benefit’ of the holiday or sabbatical etc. is long gone?

Our ‘working world’ is operating far from any of the efficiencies, or economic definition of the progress and advancement it promotes based on finance via the fast production of goods, services, infrastructure and technology. The above facts demonstrate clearly that these so called advancements are only being made possible at a cost or expense i.e. the abuse of the worker’s wellness and well-being.

We call our work efficient and we say we are advancing, but at what cost? Is it possible that the cost we are paying is all at the abuse of the worker’s well-being?

Isn’t there something totally wrong with this picture of ‘advancing’?

Deep down – or perhaps not even so deep down, is it not easy to agree and admit that if we can feel and do experience such tension every day on a personal, business and also governmental level, that actually, we are not okay with this situation? Because it’s affecting each of us all so much through the way we work; the relationships we have with our colleagues; the environments we live in; our places of work.

We’re being pushed as employees and workers more and more into a 24/7 non-stop and multi-stimulatory world, where for most gone are the days of a 9-5 job. Emails and texts from work colleagues on projects come through 24 hours a day – instant responses are the norm.

So what is really going on here?

Are we victims, resigned to a working system as being ‘it’s just the way it is’, OR do we have a part to play here?

For instance, could it be that the draining inefficiencies that result in our daily job stress, conflict, and absenteeism across multiple industries, professions and countries are actually only because WE are allowing and accepting this push and drive to always ‘do more’?

And that engaged in this continual push and near constant state of stress or anxiousness, it’s no wonder or surprise that our physical bodies and relationships are equally then placed under immense strain and compromise.

We have to agree and admit that living in stress, exhaustion and under constant pressure takes its toll – such that every-thing else also suffers including our sense of harmony or well-being. Yet the reality is that in this inefficient and depleted way, we continue to work, driven to produce (even more) goods and services; manage teams, lead or run companies.

It seems there is no stop, or is there?

Happiness Index

Today and in spite of such governmental efforts including David Cameron’s ‘plan to measure happiness and GDP’ or ‘Happiness Index’, our working population is far from happy and continues to suffer from any real sense of well-being. Research conducted by the ‘New Economic Forum think-tank’ shows what people worldwide say they want: Happiness, followed by Love, then Health and lastly Wealth. (TED, Nick Marks: The Happy Planet Index, 2010).

So, why are we so unhappy?

Could it have anything to do with our choices and that the unhappiness that looms when we feel our choice is being taken away? OR is it possible that we actually give our choice away and that when we do it leaves us feeling as if we have nothing, not happy, deflated; and even disempowered?

Could any of us really admit that the current state of our working world, where we are working and living constantly on the go under such pressure, is really something that we honestly enjoy and want out of life?

If we started to make some different choices about the way we work, what could this look like?


Filed under

Work stressDepressionHealth conditionsAccountabilityCorruptionAnxietyCaffeineAbsenteeism

  • By Zofia Sharman, MA Communications Policy, BA Economics

    International Recruiter and Career Counselor who sets a living standard in work/life that observes: when it comes to a job or career direction our only direction is the one taken back to absolute truth.