Quality of life at work

Spirituality at work

Introduction :

More and more people are feeling tired and lonely at work according to the General Social Survey of 2016. Compared with 20 years ago, people are twice as likely to report that they are always exhausted.

Now, organisations are experimenting new ways to balance work and personal life through flexible working hours or teleworking.

These changes also aim to be more and more mind enriching, heart fulfilling, and spirit growing for employees.

Ashoms and Duchon have described spirituality at work as a "major transformation" where organizations will have to make room for the spiritual dimension (meaning, purpose and sense of community).

1) The main concept :

"Spirituality and performance in organizations : A literature review" is an academic article written by Fahri Karakas. It was published in 2010 in the Journal of Business Ethics.

The term spirituality comes from the latin word “spiritus” that means breath, air or wind. Spirituality as defined by Mitroff and Denton (1999), is “the basic feeling of being connected with one’s complete self, others and the entire universe”.

Spirituality is defined as a universal human feeling rather than an adherence to beliefs or practices of a religious institution or tradition.

2) Analysis and added value :

  • Perspective 1 : employee well being
For Mitroff and Denton (1999), employees suffer from a deep spiritual emptiness and many of problems in organizations result from this spiritual impoverishment.

A growing number of managers and employees are reported to use meditation, reflexion, wellness programs as well as fitness as methods to decrease the level of stress.

There is a growing evidence that spirituality programs have a positive impact on employees joy, serenity, job satisfaction and commitment (Burack, 1999).

Therefore, quality of life at work reduces absenteeism, turnover and burnout. According to Bento (1994), spirituality makes people more honest, courageous and compassionate.

  • Perspective 2 : sense of meaning and purpose
A large number of employees today often feel psychological isolation and alienation at work (Bolman and Deal, 1995) as well as a lack of meaning in their work.

The aim of spirituality is to develop sense in the workplace to find a purpose. When work is seen as a calling, it becomes more meaningful and this increase commitment (Reave, 2005).

  • Perspective 3 : sense of community and interconnectedness
A deeper sense of community will increase loyalty to the organization. A sense of connection and interconnectedness to something larger than oneself is a part of spirituality at work (Milliman, 1999).

These relationships will create intimacy, authenticity, altruism and integrity between teams (Burack, 1999). Then, quality work relationship will induce higher job satisfaction and lower turnover.

Conclusions :

Spirituality at work, can have lots of benefits for employees well being. It's important to remember to  accommodate needs and values inside the company.

It's key to consider people as whole persons with their emotional, intellectual, spiritual needs and values. Managers have to engage employees with their minds, hearts and spirits.

Meditation or grateful leadership programs have an impact on employees well being.

It's important to encourage emotionally intelligent workplaces, where colleagues practice gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. Emotional skills have to be valuable to build a new way of working.