Most of us are familiar with differing priorities among departments in an office and how that can impact the inner workings of a company. While management is more focused on developing practices that increase productivity and profit, Human Resources is often dedicated to employee well-being. Michael and Toby’s tumultuous relationship in the hit TV sitcom The Office demonstrates this dichotomy perfectly; it’s one we have seen time and again.
It isn’t without reason that this parody exists. Oftentimes, new managerial practices can have trade-offs that are detrimental to certain aspects of employee well-being, whether it be psychological, physical, or social well-being. Rather than argue one set of priorities is more important than another, it’s more important to recognize that happiness, health, and human relationships are related, and their optimization leads to better overall outcomes for company success.
For many people, the office can be an exciting and interesting place to work and connect with others in the process. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone, especially those who face discrimination due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Studies show that discrimination can lead to negative emotions like anger and fear, which in turn influence the overall satisfaction and happiness an employee experiences in his or her career. Although most of us try to avoid discriminating against others, the reality is that stereotypes and prejudiced thoughts are very much a social norm – one that we need to work actively against should we hope to reduce their damaging effects.
The people we work with have an enormous impact on our lives, both personally and professionally. So it’s no wonder that within the professional ecosystem, we manage different types of relationships that benefit us and our work in different ways. A Gallup poll on the state of the American workplace found that positive work relationships have an immediate and tangible impact: “When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business.”