Work Stinks

Sep 03, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Has work got you feeling a little burned out? Are you working on tighter deadlines and putting in longer hours? Do your family and friends need to look at photos to remember what you look like?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to the latest Harris Interactive poll, nearly two-thirds of workers say they’ve seen their workload increase over the past six months. More than 10 percent say workplace demands have them putting in an extra 10 hours or more a week.

Mike DiPietro, a vice president of Kronos, the company that commissioned the Harris survey, told MSNBC that with so many people out of work and looking, it is easier for employers to hold the line on wages, ask more from employees and focus on other areas of the business.

Mr. DiPietro says this approach is shortsighted. “This is not just a touchy-feely, let’s-make-people-feel-happier issue,” he said. “This is a business issue. It will become even more so as the economy starts to turn around and these overworked employees start to look around.”

Moderator’s Comment: Are employers facing a backlash with valuable employees moving on to other businesses once the job market begins to rebound? Are
the current savings achieved by keeping wages down and other cost-cutting initiatives enough to offset the costs associated with recruiting and training new hires?

A Hewitt Associates study referenced in the MSNBC piece found employees of the most successful businesses were more likely to say their company was
“an exceptional place to work” than those employed at less successful ventures.

We saw a first-hand example of this last night. Stopping by a local chain grocery store to pick up some things on the way home we found a former crewmember
of Trader Joe’s working the cash register. Here’s how the conversation began:

Me: Hey, you looked better in a Hawaiian shirt.

Former Trader Joe’s employee: You got that right. Should have stayed there.

Steven Gross, leader of U.S. compensation consulting for Mercer Human Resources, however, told MSNBC not to read too much the employee unhappiness

“When companies are more profitable, there is less pressure on cost control. They are growing and there are more opportunities,” he said. “When the company
is shrinking, there is no room for career growth, and there is less money for reward programs. It’s just not as much as fun.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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