Compassion is essential at work. Sadly even workplaces which are by nature supposed to be compassionate are often not, especially when scratched beneath the surface.
The workplace can be a difficult area for many of us at times. We usually work in teams, may have deadlines or targets, we may be placed within a hierarchy, change could be forced upon us, we may feel under-stimulated or over stretched, we may be observed and judged, things may not be fair and equal and we don’t always feel in control. Phew! You can see why we need to be resilient in this modern age. Sadly we don’t always have huge reserves of resilience and may feel below par and not always handle such challenges well.
Problems at work can really knock people and there are huge costs involved – both the impact on people’s lives and financial consequences for society as a whole. People may suffer from stress (work) related illnesses and reactive depression.
It’s true that life can be complicated and often problems outside of work can increase our difficulties within the workplace and everything can get a bit mixed up. People may be dealing with big issues such as grief, chronic loneliness or perhaps struggling in a relationship. Lets face it; life is life, we all face difficulties from time to time. Employers need to understand this and cater for this with compassion, enabling employees to thrive rather than struggle.
Schemes such as the Mindful employer exist but often they fall short of protecting employees and don’t work. We need more than tick boxes, we need a culture which supports people rather than punishes people. We need ethical employers who act with kindness and understanding. We need real living, breathing compassion.
Managing Mental Health in the Workplace from the Mental Health Foundation.
Some people seem inherently more compassionate (it is active) than others, however the good news we can learn about compassion and we can strengthen and develop our compassion muscle.