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Most people have an unhealthy relationship with work, study finds: ‘Huge opportunity’

Feeling that your work/life dynamic is misaligned? You’re not alone. 

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) announced its groundbreaking findings on Wednesday from its first HP Work Relationship Index, a comprehensive study that explores employees’ relationships with work around the globe. 

The study surveyed more than 15,600 respondents across various industries in 12 countries, and discovered how employees’ relationship with their work is at a breaking point — and the effects are pervasive.

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“There is a huge opportunity to strengthen the world’s relationship with work in ways that are both good for people and good for business,” Enrique Lores, president and CEO, HP Inc., said in a press statement. 

“As leaders, we must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness,” he also said.

burnout and secretiveness

“Based on information from 15,000 respondents from across 12 countries, HP’s recent study of workers across the globe revealed that just 27% of knowledge workers say they have a healthy relationship with work.” (iStock / iStock)

“The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work.”

What’s causing the disconnect between employees and their careers?

Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist, best-selling author and host of the popular “Dear Therapists” podcast based in Los Angeles, is collaborating with HP to share this research.

She said that the findings may seem startling — but that the data doesn’t lie.

“When we have an unhealthy relationship with work, our well-being takes a toll.”

“Based on information from 15,000 respondents from across 12 countries, HP’s recent study of workers across the globe revealed that just 27% of knowledge workers say they have a healthy relationship with work — which means employees and employers alike are on the losing side,” Gottlieb told FOX Business. 

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“When we have an unhealthy relationship with work, our well-being takes a toll. Over half (55%) of unhappy workers struggle with self-worth and mental health, 59% are too drained to pursue personal passions and 62% struggle maintaining healthy routines.”

office argument

“Expectations of work have changed big time in just the last handful of years — and now is the time to redefine, and improve, our relationships with work.” (iStock / iStock)

She further noted that when work relationships are strained, it’s bad for employees and bad for business. 

“When employees aren’t happy with their relationship with work, more than 71% consider leaving the company. When they’re not happy at all, that number rises to 91%,” she continued.

This is a major wake-up call for everyone, she suggested.

“Expectations of work have changed big time in just the last handful of years — and now is the time to redefine, and improve, our relationships with work,” Gottlieb told FOX Business. 

“I’m here to share that you’re not alone, and it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Even though the survey is a global and grand-scale, Gottlieb said the data is relevant and affects the general workforce.

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“I see so many of my patients struggling to try and ‘make it all work,’ grinding themselves down to the bone trying to juggle the 60-hour week, with multiple kids, a spouse, sports on the weekends and so much more,” she revealed. 

Business persons walking and working around the office building

If the employee keeps the focus on the job and productivity, a boss or manager might be more receptive and able to make a case to HR or other leadership for new workplace expectations or flexible arrangements, said one expert.  (iStock / iStock)

“Before they know it, they’ve completely lost their identity, their passion, their motivation and their sources of fulfillment.”

She added, “We’re all guilty of it — myself included — and I’m here to share that you’re not alone, and it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Tips for creating better wellness at work

Improving wellness in the workplace for yourself or for your office can start with a simple conversation, said Gottlieb. 

“Having a conversation with a manager or HR team member, particularly one from an older generation, about workplace expectations can be intimidating and challenging, but if you approach it the right way it can really pay off,” she said.

Here are tips for employees who are planning on having a conversation with their manager or HR team.

woman on computer call

“Before [some employees] know it, they’ve completely lost their identity, their passion, their motivation and their sources of fulfillment.” (iStock / iStock)

1. Walk before you run

It’s important to be realistic with yourself about outcomes if this is your first conversation with your manager about workplace expectations, said Gottlieb. 

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“You may not leave this first discussion with a new ‘work-from-home’ schedule, but if you continue to be consistent with your outputs at work, this can be an ongoing conversation that evolves to create more flexibility and autonomy for you in the future,” Gottlieb said.

2. It’s all about presentation 

Starting by positioning the conversation as, “Here is how you can get the very best quality of work out of me,” said Gottlieb.

By keeping the focus on the job and productivity, she said a boss or manager might be more receptive and able to make a case to HR or other leadership.

3. Know your worth

People shouldn’t be afraid to share some examples of their accomplishments and how flexibility, autonomy and trust can enable them to continue to produce high-quality work, said Gottlieb.

office argument

“It may sound trivial to some, but being able to bring your whole self to work can be incredibly beneficial to the employee experience.”  (iStock / iStock)

How bringing ‘your whole self’ to work can help

It’s incredibly exhausting to have to be one type of person when you’re in the office and another when you’re off the clock, said Gottlieb. 

“Our day-to-day tasks create enough stress on us — people don’t want to have to manage a façade on top of it,” she told FOX Business. 

“It may sound trivial to some, but being able to bring your whole self to work can be incredibly beneficial to the employee experience.” 

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She revealed that employees want to be trusted and respected — and they want flexibility. 

“If we can create a welcoming and inclusive workplace where everyone’s ideas matter and every employee feels seen and valued, their quality of life can be dramatically improved,” she added.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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