Well-being in the workplace: Where do we stand in Africa?

Following the succession of suicides of some workers that shook France in 2007, the topic regarding quality of life in the workplace is not something that Management takes lightly anymore. People merely talked about it before but these dramatic event that occured, make them realise how well-being in the workplace plays a key role in motivating the worker. It is not a secret anymore that nothing great can happen if the worker is in a working environment where he is feeling down and is stressed out constantly. Actually, some companies have understood it very well. That is the reason why they put in place some mechanisms to encourage the well-being of their employees. The same is true for African companies. However it is sad to see that it underlines a deeper issue that doesn’t seem important. Many African companies have yet to find a way to deal with the matter effectively.

A wake of interest from the World Health Organization about the concept of well-being at the workplace.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is very much concerned with the issue of well-being at the workplace and gave an official definition to describe it. It is defined as “ A state of mind where there is a quite good balance between the skills, needs and aspirations of the worker and the pressure and opportunities at the workplace. Basically “well-being at the workplace”refers to all elements that could potentially have an impact on the working conditions of the employees. It includes security, hygiene of the premises, health protection of workers, the physical and mental effects of the tasks carried out, workplace ergonomics etc. According to the Administrator of Syntec and president of the consulting firm Stimulus, David Mahé who published a look out about stress at the workplace “there is 2 types of stimulation, one that gives meaning to what we do and another that is about duty. Being committed is about the meaning and the enjoyment.”Despise all that, in Africa, many companies struggle to adapt to that reality.

 A theoretical approach of the issue of well-being at the workplace for many African companies

Officially in Africa, many companies talk about the interest they have on the well-being of their employees. However, if we pay more attention to it, we notice that there is a gap between the declarations of interest and the reality. Progress is not for pretend anymore. African companies really need to commit themselves to finding ways to improve the working conditions. It is about, putting the human being in the center of the values of the company for its own sake and for the sake of the co-workers.

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