The Great Gloom phenomenon is a collective sentiment within the workforce, characterised by an omnipresent feeling of despondency and disillusionment. So yes, the ‘great’ here is far from being a positive adjective as it describes a condition where employees, regardless of their roles or industries, find themselves grappling with a profound sense of discontent and uncertainty in the workplace.
This trend can manifest in various ways, such as decreased motivation, declining job satisfaction and a general lack of enthusiasm among the workforce.
Factors contributing to the emergence of the Great Gloom can range from external economic pressures, such as inflation and job-market instability, to internal dynamics within organisations, including management decisions, layoffs and a shift towards in-office work arrangements. This trend underscores the importance of addressing not only the professional aspects of the workplace but also the emotional and psychological well-being of employees to foster a more positive and productive work environment.
“Employee happiness diverges across different industries, with the healthcare and education sectors feeling the greater impact, while the technology and finance sectors are grappling with declining happiness, primarily attributed to factors such as layoffs, closures and the return to in-office work”
Sriharsha Achar, CHRO, Star Health and Allied Insurance
Sriharsha Achar, CHRO, Star Health and Allied Insurance, comments that the workplace, undergoing significant changes due to the pandemic, is characterised by a sense of ongoing uncertainty.
“Employee happiness diverges across different industries, with the healthcare and education sectors feeling the greater impact, while the technology and finance sectors are grappling with declining happiness, primarily attributed to factors such as layoffs, closures and the return to in-office work,” shares Achar.
Subir Roy Choudhary, CHRO, Satin Creditcare Network, draws our attention to one prominent aspect — the aftermath of the pandemic and the resulting changes in the way people work. “The transition to remote work and the uncertainties it brought, along with the economic effects, including job losses and inflation, have played a significant role in fostering this sense of gloom among employees,” he points out.
Choudhary further adds, “There is a sense of disillusionment among workers in the commercial sector. Many have been exploring alternative career paths and considering the prospects of freelancing or entrepreneurship. This shift in mindset, though not widely disclosed, reflects a desire for more autonomy and flexibility, as well as a longing for a lighter-hearted and less corporate work atmosphere.”
One of the primary factors contributing to the Great Gloom in the workplace is excessive workload. When employees are consistently overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities, they can experience stress, burnout and a sense of hopelessness. Long hours and unrealistic expectations can lead to a pervasive feeling that their efforts are never enough.
“There is a sense of disillusionment among workers in the commercial sector. Many have been exploring alternative career paths and considering the prospects of freelancing or entrepreneurship”
Subir Roy Choudhary, CHRO, Satin Creditcare Network
The demands of modern workplaces often generate high levels of stress. The pressure to meet deadlines, achieve targets and perform at a consistently high level can take a toll on employees’ mental and emotional well-being. Chronic stress can lead to feelings of exhaustion and frustration, ultimately contributing to a gloomy atmosphere.
Poor work-life balance
A lack of balance between work and personal life can lead to a profound sense of gloom. When employees are unable to disconnect from work or are constantly expected to be on call, it erodes their quality of life and can strain their relationships and overall happiness.
Lack of job satisfaction
Employees who find their work unfulfilling or meaningless risk falling into gloom. A lack of job satisfaction can lead to disengagement, decreased motivation and a sense of being stuck in an unfulfilling career.
Toxic work environments
Workplaces characterised by bullying, harassment, or a lack of support from colleagues and supervisors can quickly become breeding grounds for gloom. Employees who feel unsupported or mistreated are likely to experience emotional distress and anxiety.
Micromanagement by supervisors can be a significant source of frustration and gloom in the workplace. When employees feel their autonomy is constantly undermined, it can lead to a lack of trust, resentment and diminished job satisfaction.
“These solutions should be put into action (deployment of programmes), and the organisation should pay close attention to how people react and the results achieved (dedicated focus on reactions and results). This approach helps companies improve and create a more positive workplace.”
Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm
Lack of growth
A lack of career growth opportunities can be demoralising for employees. When they perceive a limited chance for advancement, they may feel trapped in their current positions, leading to a sense of stagnation and despair.
Lack of appreciation
Feeling undervalued and underappreciated for one’s efforts at work can be a powerful factor contributing to a sense of gloom. When employees believe their contributions go unnoticed or unrewarded, it can erode their motivation and job satisfaction.
Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm explains that to tackle the corporate gloom factors, organisations need a step-by-step plan. “First, they should figure out what’s going wrong in their company (diagnosis). Then, they should pinpoint the specific areas that need help (domain identification). After that, they should come up with solutions to fix those problems (design intervention).” suggests Malia.
He further adds, “These solutions should be put into action (deployment of programmes), and the organisation should pay close attention to how people react and the results achieved (dedicated focus on reactions and results). This approach helps companies improve and create a more positive workplace.”
Additionally, Achar emphasises, “The presence of disengaged employees poses a notable threat, adversely affecting revenue and the global economy, ultimately impeding growth and contributing to the prevailing sense of gloom in the workplace.”
The Great Gloom at the workplace can have significant consequences, not only for individual employees but also for organisations as a whole. It can lead to reduced productivity, higher turnover rates and a negative impact on employee morale.