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A lot has changed over a short period of time during the past decade. In the Western world, burnout and stress are worrying trends. Mental health issues comprised more than one third of all sickness benefits paid out in Finland in 2019. In particular, this phenomenon can be seen among young people, and the need for youth mental health services has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) defined burnout as resulting from work-based stress.
Companies need to take this trend of exhaustion seriously. With less and less workforce available, companies need to be able to build a corporate culture that supports a positive work experience. The current pandemic may increase stress, as there is great uncertainty related to people’s everyday lives, work and finances.
How is good company culture created? The importance of leadership is emphasised when changes are no longer projects and we are instead constantly living in change. It has been established that the work of immediate supervisors is the most important in preventing work exhaustion. This means being seen on the individual level and correct prioritisation at the community level.
Another answer to creating meaningful company culture could be co-direction, which strongly links autonomy to common goals, suitable supporting structures and a continuous dialogue that also involves learning together. Co-direction requires a company or organisation to have a clear vision of the relevance of its existence and a common direction that everyone is committed to.
You need to have a clear, shared vision of what you are doing and the common values that the workplace culture rests on, and you need to accept that co-direction requires continuous communication and dialogue among the entire organisation. In co-direction, it is extremely important that the organisation’s culture supports raising difficult issues and discussion on them. This means transitioning from stories of hero leaders or heroes of self-direction towards identifying mutual dependency and working together in genuine dialogue. These matters are especially emphasised in remote work.
Change projects are often carried only halfway if they are met with implicit cultural obstacles: fear, assumptions, biases, beliefs and unwritten rules. We are the partner-in-change in every challenge you may face with corporate culture.
Company cultures, communications, storification
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