EHS OutLoud Blog

Don't Pull an Office Space -- Keep Your Workers Happy

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office-space.jpgIt's hard to say which part of the cult classic movie Office Space is my favorite. When Joanna stops putting up with her boss's constant demands for "more flare" and quits? When a relaxed Peter Gibbons wows the Bobs? Surely not when a disturbed Milton repeatedly threatens to burn down the office -- can we get some workplace therapy and stress management over here??

While Office Space undoubtedly is hilarious (at least to me), there's a reason it's so popular: Many an office worker (or waitress) has identified with some of the absurdities, challenges and frustrations faced by the characters in the movie.

Having more bosses than you can handle? Being forced to interview for your own job? Dealing with impossible coworkers? Suffering through depressing office birthday celebrations? Sadly, for too many workers, parts of this movie ring true. Which is a problem -- because as Office Space shows, unhappy employees are not exactly the most productive employees. (Unless you count cutting out to a restaurant on a Monday morning, destroying office property, desperately hiding from your boss, trying to sneak out early or stealing company funds as "productive," that is.)

The situations and characters in this movie are obviously over the top, but in real life, it doesn't always take that much to make a worker unhappy. If employees feel unappreciated, ignored, disrespected or reluctant to trust their supervisors or fellow coworkers, that's a big problem. Not only will workers' individual stress levels, happiness and productivity suffer, but a toxic work environment might be a breeding ground for safety hazards, as well.

To help ensure your workplace is healthy, happy ad safe, I've compiled some recent articles we published surrounding workplace bullying, abusive (and supportive!) bosses, and more:

You Don’t Have to Be an Undercover Boss (to Know What Your Employees are Thinking)

Bullying: Tips for Taming Disruptive Behavior at Work

How to Improve Your Working Relationship with a Difficult Boss

Is It Ever OK to Get Back at a Bad Boss?

Study: Supporting Employees Could Improve Absenteeism Rates

Suspect You Might Be Working for a Psychopath? Here’s How to Cope

Abusive Bosses, If Productive, Don’t Suffer Consequences

Study: Avoiding an Abusive Boss Not the Best Strategy

New ILO Publication Helps Identify, Prevent and Address Workplace Stress

How to Be Happier at Work (and Create a Happier Workplace)

If all else fails, remember: Peter Gibbons apparently found happiness in a construction job. Just something to think about.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on May 2, 2014

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EHS OutLoud blog provides a candid look at health and safety issues both at work and at home.

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Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...

Josh Cable

Josh Cable is senior editor of EHS Today, a Penton publication. In his nearly 15 years as a journalist, he has covered a wide range of topics, including banking and finance, occupational safety and...
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