The relevance of employees’ tasks to their performance and wellbeing

Employee well-being at work is essential to ensure greater productivity and performance. According to a Harvard University study it was revealed which jobs make people unhappy and how certain work factors can significantly affect the emotional state of employees.

Find out more about the importance of the relationship between employees' tasks and their performance and well-being.
Graciela Ares

Graciela Ares

Reading time: 5 min

Personal well-being and work

This university undertook an investigation to find out which jobs make people the unhappiest. This study was conducted by Robert Waldinger, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine, and was carried out over a period of 85 years.

The analysis, which began in 1938, involved the participation of 700 individuals where medical data were collected. In this way, professionals followed up with questions to the participants every two years.

What were the results?

According to the study, the main causes of unhappiness are linked to loneliness and lack of social interaction with other individuals. “Social interaction is a critical social need that must be met in all aspects of our lives,” said Waldinger, adding: If you are more connected to people, you feel more satisfied with your work and do it better.

It is clear that the world of relationships is extremely important in social and work spaces and it is essential to generate contexts that take care of the people who are part of it.

Most of us spend a large percentage of our day at work or engaged in our work task.

Even outside working hours, we tend to think about the tasks we perform, to come up with solutions to some questions, or to have an innovative idea that we can then apply to a requested task. We also often tend to answer an email outside working hours. Because of these details, research tends to focus on the well-being of the people who make up organisations and presents key practices for the most important care, the human one. Such care helps people and companies to thrive together.

Factors that help strengthen well-being at work

There are several factors that contribute to facilitating people’s well-being in their work tasks, which I will detail below:

Discovering personal strengths

We all have our own characteristics, e.g. curiosity, creativity, perseverance, etc.

The question is, do our organisations discover them or provide the right climate for them to be expressed? When the strengths of each individual can be brought out, people feel a strong sense that they are part of the company’s mission, and it also gives them a clear motivation and sense of satisfaction.

Strengths have been studied to affect positive coping with stress in the workplace. 

It is important that trainings contribute to learning how to use them, and they have a positive impact on people’s job satisfaction, affecting productivity and work performance.

Self-efficacy

It is the ability to feel self-effective (to believe in oneself and in one’s ability to do one’s job well).

It was observed that as people felt more effective in their tasks, they were also able to achieve a better balance between their work and personal lives, as they had leaders who accompanied them to feel more competent, and allowed them to manage their tasks organised according to their needs, providing flexibility in their working day to attend to family needs.

Work has value when people feel that their work is important.

When employees feel more satisfied and motivated in their jobs, they transfer this satisfaction to their personal lives, with lower absenteeism and greater commitment to the company.

Relationships with peers in the work space and friendliness in communication help to develop a work environment that makes people feel important, as well as their role.

While individuals can give their own sense of importance to their task, interaction with their peers is necessary to validate it.

Feeling committed

Commitment occurs when the members of an organisation feel part of it and are able to fulfil their tasks with dedication. This motivation generates a desire to carry out tasks and complete them.

Wilmar Schaufeli, professor of work psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, believes that companies need to boost employee engagement.  He identified several resources such as reducing unnecessary stress, taking care of the work and team climate, recognition, participation in decision-making, trust in management, alignment of values, among others.

Kindness and respect

We are social beings who enjoy spaces in which our needs are considered as such.

Kindness, respectful treatment, perspective-taking (understanding how others think), appreciation, constructive conflict management should be pillars of organisations. These foundations build trust and help people feel that they belong and can develop in their jobs.

I invite us to think about the importance of these results in these studies, and how necessary it is for organisations of all kinds. Beginning to consider the value of the wellbeing of the people who make it up will be our most relevant objective.

A wellbeing project that is sustained over time is crucial to carry forward in an organisation, be it an entrepreneur, someone who partners with another person to carry out a new plan or project.

We can think and reflect on all of the above in a more profound way, considering that these factors contribute to the well-being of people in all the organisations in which we work, affecting positively their performance for the company, and also influencing the working environment of each team.

Taking care of our well-being is no longer an alien topic in our lives, on the contrary, it is a central theme for our UCCM. (Brain-Body-Mind-Unit), being the generator of our sensations, perceptions, emotions, feelings, creations, thoughts or mental images, which, as a whole, make up the content of our mind.


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