There’s not much that annoys employees more than a broken coffee machine — unless you’re counting the job itself. According to a recent survey by Right Management’s talent and career services, the majority of American employees describe their present work situation as unrewarding and draining.
Talent management expert Ron Sims attributes the workplace blues primarily to feelings of confinement. With drastic reductions in staff over the last several years, “companies are doing a lot more with a lot less people, so workers can’t afford to leave,” he says.
Though most employees would gladly take their unhappy selves elsewhere, “there’s a fear that there are no options available,” says Sims. “Folks used to have the option of walking in and walking out, whereas the lack of choice now drives disengagement.”
Despite the slump, companies can still incorporate optimism into the picture. According to Sims, the happiest workplaces are:
1. Appreciative: “People feel valued. What we have found critical is the importance of recognition and acknowledgement, even in gestures as simple as coming around and thanking people for their time and work.”
2. Honest: “Management is open and transparent. The company encourages everyone to discuss concerns.”
3. Proactive: “Though the situation is tight, there are still career management opportunities to learn and develop within the company.”
Always look on the bright side of work
It’s not as tough as it seems. “Folks who handle this the best are those that understand the context, though they’re not necessarily pleased, and try to make the best out of the situation. Instead of complaining, there may be something you can do in the job to make yourself more satisfied and, frankly, more happy.”