Written by: Sabrina Brawner, Consultant
In the world of business, employees are often expected to come into work, leave their emotional and personal life at the door, and produce. Traditionally, professionalism in corporate culture has meant a cool, and stoic demeanor. Still employees are facing emotional challenges at work. The issues don’t always have to be personal, they can be work based. Employees deal with conflict with other employees or management, stress, anxiety and fear, and low morale at work. Simply put, employees have emotional issues in both their personal and professional life and have to somehow balance work challenges and being productive. The result has been a need for the workplace to make attempts to address these challenges in order to keep employees happy, and producing quality work. In response to this need, the landscape of the workplace has changed, and there are several key factors at work currently, that are impacting change on an emotional level. As the workplace continues to evolve, these changes provide both new emotional benefits and new emotional challenges in the workplace.
1) Many businesses have shifted from a manufacturing, employee-to-employee relations structure, to a service based, employee-to-customer relations structure. With clients being the most integral part of business operations, employees have to handle them with care, whether they are being easy to please and amicable, or challenging and offensive. Anyone who’s ever been in any type of customer service position knows that the client is not truly always right, although many companies follow this policy, making it almost an expectation in customer service etiquette. Having to deal with trying or disrespectful people on any level is difficult, and it doesn’t get any easier just because it is your job. Now that more employees are now directly interacting with, and servicing clients, it is imperative that their training includes instruction on client relations and customer service at whatever standards the company expects. This along with supportive management, helps employees learn to cope with stress, and successfully handle all clients.
2) More women are obtaining Master’s and Doctorate’s degrees than men, and taking on management, and CEO positions like never before. Women are also changing the emotional landscape of the workplace. Women are more educated and are heading more companies than ever before. Women make up more than half of the nation’s college students and are more likely to go on to get Master’s degrees and doctorates than men. This makes them prime prospects for management positions. Women also make up the new face of today’s CEO. There are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the US and they employ 35% more people than all of the Fortune 500 companies combined. Women also generally have a higher level of emotional intelligence than men, allowing them to both serve and lead their employees. More women in charge, means a more intuitive workplace, with more awareness of the needs of all employees, especially other women. Women are better at reading body language, detecting emotion and are considered more nurturing than men. This gives women an advantage when using their EQ to navigate complex situations and conflict in the workplace.
3) Businesses are becoming more conscious, meaning a shift from being wholly profit focused to being humanity focused, as evidenced by sustainability programs, more employee incentives, and concern for work wellness. Lastly, businesses are becoming more conscious. Companies are more of aware of how their actions, management, organizational structures, products, and business practices affect people and the environment. Traditionally most corporate business models have been bottom line focused. A business’s status has solely been based on profit and production, without much in-depth concern for people, whether they worked in the business or were a consumer. Today, businesses that want to remain competitive now have to think about the triple bottom line, which consists of people, profit, and the planet. This shift to more conscious companies is evidence of a growing population of aware employees and consumers. People are not only wanting a wellness-based lifestyle, they are demanding it for their personal and professional lives. People don’t just want to work for a company to make money, they want to work for a company that cares about their employees, and that has a culture employees can embrace and be proud of.