Why work on energy at work?
Because insights into energy patterns and resources to help us use our energy in a better way can make our work lives and personal lives more energetic and productive.
How do you start your journey?
In a first important step, you primarily aim to convince those interested parties or stakeholders who make the decisions in your organisation. After all, they will be the ones who give you the time and resources you need to work on energy at work. To convince them, you can use the insights you have gathered within your own organisation. You can also draw on insights from external sources, such as scientific publications or research reports. A combination of both types of insights can result in a strong and inspiring case. You can use Appendix 1: Convincing management as inspiration to build your story towards your stakeholders
“By building your case well and by working towards the desired situation step by step, you can remove any resistance. That is how you evolve from resistance to wisdom.”
Kristien Tirez – Prevention Adviser on Psychosocial Aspects
Before you get a mandate to really work on energy at work, you can already take a number of exploratory steps. For example, you can draw on insights the organisation gained previously:
- Examine the number of (long-term) absentees in the organisation and check whether there is a burnout connection (energy disorder).
- Ask managers, prevention advisers on psychosocial aspects or confidential counsellors about the signs of increased psychosocial stress among employees.
- Look at insights from any previous staff surveys, such as well-being surveys or risk assessments of certain psychosocial aspects.
You can also conduct a first brief employee survey with a small questionnaire. Some example questions are:
- Which factors energise you at work? When does time seem to fly by?
- Which factors drain your energy at work? When does the time seem to pass very slowly?
Below, we offer some external insights that can help you to convince your stakeholders to focus on energy at work.
1. The downward spiral of energy imbalance and health, safety and performance
An energy imbalance at work can have a negative impact on employees’ health, safety and performance. This may in turn have a negative effect on employees’ energy, thereby causing a downward spiral. (2, 3, 4)
2. Employee health and safety comes first
The World Health Organisation cites three important reasons for working on employees’ health and safety (and hence their energy levels at work). (5)
- Employers have a moral duty to minimise the physical and mental health risks to employees.
- It is also a legal obligation to pay attention to occupational health and safety. This legal obligation originated with the European Framework Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989.
- Finally, paying attention to employees’ physical and mental health also brings economic benefits. For example, there will be fewer accidents at work and employees will be absent less often and perform better. (6, 7)
3. Tap into resources
The theoretical framework Job Demands-Resources model by Demerouti and Bakker states that our work environment is based on job demands (job characteristics that drain energy and motivation) on the one hand and job resources (job characteristics that energise and motivate) on the other hand. Resources increase employee engagement and enthusiasm and can also act as a buffer against the negative effects of impediments, such as stress and exhaustion. Consequently, it is important for employers to give their employees the opportunity to tap into as many resources as possible. (8)
4. Balance all batteries
There are different types of energy: physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy and spiritual energy (see also Practical guide part 2: Sheets types of energy at work). They all require attention and charging to promote well-being and achievements in different areas. It is also important to charge all these batteries on time. If there are peak times at work, it is important to ensure more peaceful times afterwards. (9)
“Energy at work will be an important factor in the future. There is more work for the future generation: this is positive in terms of job security, but it also increases the work pressure.”
Leonardo Van De Wiele – Prevention Adviser on Occupational Safety