A future that works: 2017 must be the year of workplace renewal

After a worrying 2016 for Australian workers, 2017 must be the year to embark on a major workplace renewal and reform agenda, according to Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher at HR think-tank Reventure.

“As we start a new year and Australian employers and employees get ready to return to work, we must start looking at what has be done to improve workplaces,” said Dr McMillan.

“The future that works campaign is all about improving workplaces for employees by providing research and strategies that actively tackle the challenges facing the workplaces of 2017.”

According to Dr McMillan’s research, 2016 Snapshot of the Australian Workplace, which explores the views of over 1,000 Australian workers, a number of worrying workplace results marred 2016.

“In 2016, we saw a number of really concerning results from Australian workers, including significant instances of verbal abuse and bullying, high levels of negativity, conflict with employers and health decline,” said Dr McMillan.

According to the research in 2016:

  • 10 per cent of Australian employees have experienced verbal abuse or bullying in the workplace;
  • 20 per cent of workers experienced high levels of negativity in the workplace;
  • 18 per cent experienced conflict with their boss; and
  • 14 per cent experienced mental or physical health decline as a direct result of their work.

Dr McMillan said it was incumbent on policy-makers and stakeholders to do more to support Australian workers and ensure workplaces are regenerating during this time of rapid change.

“It is clear that a range of issues, including the rapid nature of technological change, insecure working conditions and bullying, are having an extremely negative impact,” said Dr McMillan.

“A reform agenda focused on how employers can improve their communication with employees and establish new ways of working which respect employees and the changing nature of work is vital.”

“We are already seeing around the world different steps taken to ensure that the work-life balance is secured and that the constant shifts in work patterns are not negatively impacting on workers. It is time for all stakeholders to genuinely work together to pursue a workplace reform agenda that ensures Australian workplaces are renewing themselves, adapting to change and supporting employees.”

Inside Small Business

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