HR Management & Compliance

Is the Modern Workplace Killing Us? (Part 2)

In yesterday’s Daily Advisor we looked at Jeffrey Pfeffer’s take on how the modern workplace is killing us. Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, just released a book called Dying for a Paycheck. Today we’ll look at some things that you can do to make your particular workplace a little less toxic.


Yuri_Arcurs / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Provide More Flexible Working Conditions

A lot of employees are stressed because they also have families at home who need their attention and other personal responsibilities. They can’t pick up their kids from school on time or attend their nighttime class to get promoted because of their work schedules and conditions. And so on.

By offering flexible hours or locations, you’re allowing your employees to work when they will be more productive, and you’re giving them a little more autonomy with their work responsibilities. They will be able to work when they’re not distracted by their other personal commitments or an arbitrary time on a clock. And they’ll be able to remain laser-focused on tasks that require closer attention in a quieter environment that doesn’t entail listening to their cohorts in the cubicle next to them all day.

Take Our Training Priorities Survey! 

Talent is the #1 priority for organizations, according to a recent LinkedIn survey of L&D professionals. And, over 25% of the L&D professionals polled said more of their companies’ budgets will be devoted to L&D. We want to know which L&D training areas you plan to invest training dollars into for the coming year. Click here to take a quick survey!

Offer More Paid Time Off

One of the main reasons the modern workplace has gotten so toxic is because employees aren’t given enough paid time off. They aren’t provided with enough sick days, personal days, or paid vacation. While it may seem like a huge upfront cost to bear to offer this to your employees, remember that the funds you’re spending on health-related and stress-related chronic diseases and illnesses your employees experience will be much higher, even and especially if you don’t offer a healthcare package at all, because regardless of their benefits, they’re human beings and will eventually need to call off work to get the break their bodies and psyches require or to handle personal matters.

Include Comprehensive Health Benefits

Along with physical health benefits and insurance, consider offering free physical exercise or yoga classes to get your employees moving, and consider conducting seminars on eating a proper diet.

Because stress and obesity in the workplace have become such an epidemic, along with drug-related dependencies caused by toxic workplace environments, you’ll want to seriously consider offering healthcare programs that cover how to cope with workplace stress in a healthy way. And you’ll want to offer mental healthcare options in your health benefits packages, as well.

Create a Positive Environment, and Encourage Managers to Set a Good Example

Encourage managers to be coaches and to lead by example. If your managers are advocating for their employees to take personal days when they’re stressed out, so should your managers. And train managers to monitor their employees’ workloads in a constructive and practical way so that it never gets out of control, leading to their employees calling in sick or not being fully present and productive while they’re at work.

Additionally, create a physical workplace environment that has green plants, designated quiet spaces, open collaborative spaces, and is overall positive and welcoming to each employee.

Be careful to heed Pfeffer’s warning (outlined in yesterday’s post) and implement some of the things listed above to stop the continuation of the toxicity that’s prevalent in the modern workplace.