Is There Such Thing as Work-Life Balance in Pharmacy? - Pharmacy Times

Summary

Since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified work-life challenges for many work from home employees as boundaries between work and home life became blurred. These difficult times highlighted the reality that we need to make a living, but also need to make sure that we are still “living” to avoid becoming burned out.

To address these challenges, many companies are increasingly focused on employee wellbeing and have associated a work-life imbalance with excessive work demands. Efforts to improve wellbeing include initiatives such as bring your pet to work day, wellness days, hiring consultants to coach staff on work/life balance, encouraging a healthy diet, and practicing yoga and mindfulness.

Since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified work-life challenges for many work from home employees as boundaries between work and home life became blurred. These difficult times highlighted the reality that we need to make a living, but also need to make sure that we are still “living” to avoid becoming burned out.

To address these challenges, many companies are increasingly focused on employee wellbeing and have associated a work-life imbalance with excessive work demands. Efforts to improve wellbeing include initiatives such as bring your pet to work day, wellness days, hiring consultants to coach staff on work/life balance, encouraging a healthy diet, and practicing yoga and mindfulness.

However, these approaches treat the symptoms of work-life imbalance and ignore the root causes of staff burnout. It is usually not work demands that result in burnout, but a lack of passion for what we do on a day-to-day basis, as well as psychological safety.

The Wall Street Journal notes that more than half of American employees are not content with their jobs. According to Gallup’s World Poll, 63% of the global workforce is “checked out” and “sleepwalking through their workday.”

Additionally, 78% of Americans are starting to report work-related anxiety and panic attacks, whereas 48% are actively seeking alternative job opportunities. In corporate America, there is a large discrepancy between what employees want from work and their actual work experiences. This discrepancy has created a workforce in which approximately 88% of workers lack passion for what they do every day.

Gallup’s World Poll found that the most common reasons employees are disengaged are due to lack of opportunity for development, not feeling connected to the company’s purpose, and not having a strong relationship at work. Loneliness has gone up by 300% in the United States alone.

Loneliness happens to have a comparable risk of mortality to obesity or having 15 cigarettes per day. According to Harvard’s Very Happy People’s Study, deep social connections have a 0.7 correlation with happiness at work.

Work-related stress and burnout are rooted from lack of passion for the work we do. Lack of passion often happens when employees are assigned projects and job tasks, not because it serves the greater cause but because it provides more revenue for the company. Over time, this lack of passion results in boredom and unhappy employees, who act out their unhappiness at work with their coworkers and those they serve.

Many companies overlook the power that workplace culture can have on employee wellness and instead, focus relentlessly on financial metrics. We human beings will never be part of those financial metrics.

We can only be part of the culture that is created for us. As a social species, a positive culture can be deeply soothing for our human body. It creates a sense of belonging and harmony with those we work with.

When we feel that we belong at work, we then feel our contributions have value and meaning. So many companies fail to understand that, regardless of their rank, their team is the biggest asset they have to help them achieve the financial metrics. Money or financial gains should not be the end results, but instead be a resource or fuel to get the company a step closer to achieving their mission.

Another cause of work stress and burnout is a lack of psychological safety. Perhaps the best way to explain psychological safety is through the circle of safety—an idea proposed by Simon Sinek. Leaders who create a circle of safety develop an environment in which people can work at their natural best.

Through this circle of safety, leaders nurture a positive work culture where employees feel safe to collaborate and develop a sense of belonging. This circle of safety is what gives birth to innovation, growth, and ultimately success for both the company and the employee.

Is There Such Thing as Work-Life Balance in Pharmacy? - Pharmacy Times
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