Workplace Burnout – The Impact of Social Anxiety

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Feb 212018
 

We live in a culture of so-called achievement, in which our jobs and our life experiences are accounted for in terms of the impact that they have and the results that we get from what we do. This can be measured in terms of cash that we earn, research papers that we produce, or the number of students who pass our modules. The pressure is on for us to do more with less, to move up league tables and to raise the standard for what we do. The problem, however, is that more of us are suffering from social anxiety and burnout as a result.

This increasingly common problem is discussed in some detail in this article by Moya Sarner writing in The Guardian. It’s well worth reading:

Beyond the workplace, we live in an age when society itself seems to be burning out, with austerity, rising poverty and the uncertainty caused by Brexit pushing people to and beyond their limits. “Burnout could be seen as a condition of our times,” Andrew agrees, as cuts to services are making it harder and harder for people to cope: “Alongside cuts to social care, there are cuts to the voluntary sector, projects around domestic violence, for parents, for older people. Stopping a group for carers of people with dementia might seem like a tiny thing, but we have reached a critical point of extremely limited support, and if you’re in that situation, over a period of time, it makes complete sense that your body and mind would shut down. I see strong, capable, independent people who have reached a stage where there is no other option.”

There are certain factors that protect a workplace from burnout, says Vesey – a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, and a management style that finds “a balance between clarity and presence, but also offer people autonomy to allow them to get on with what they need to get on with”. Without these, a business and its employees are more vulnerable. Rock is realistic that businesses need to prioritise performance, but says: “It’s about thinking how you get the best performance out of your people. We should not move the way a charity operates into the financial sector – it would lose its competitive advantage very quickly – but there are things managers can do to support their staff, such as creating an environment where people can talk about what’s happening in the organisation, what’s happening for them.” What Cox suggests a boss should say is: “We recognise you’re having a tough time. What can we do to help you?”

I suppose the question is, what can we change about our own working practices that will help to avoid or minimise this sense of burnout? This is one of the reasons I actively minimise the use of email at work, because there is nothing more depressing than full email in tray. A face to face conversation, maybe over a cup of tea is so much more effective for building and sustaining relationships. It’s just a pity that the modern workplace strips away these opportunities for social contact and pushes less-human forms of communication on us.

It would be interesting to explore how we can turn the essential tasks that we have to do in our working lives back into something that is creative and empowering. Anyone got any ideas or example of how this is being done? Moya cites the Thriving at Work report, which might be a good checklist for assessing how we need to rethink work-based practices and how social media can contribute to well-being and not just leave us with techno-stress?

DIY-DMU Podcast 009 #SDGTeachIn

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Feb 202018
 
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Another vibrant and absorbing podcast again this evening, with a range of views and opinions from Mike, J, Ben, Tina, John and myself. The theme tonight was the UN Sustainable Development Goals, that is being promoted by the National Union of Students across the UK, and what we might do to incorporate the sustainability objectives into our courses and learning opportunities.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 023

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Feb 202018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3501-18 Lecture Summary 022

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Feb 192018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-second lecture for TECH3501 Community Media Leadership.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 024

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Feb 192018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-fourth lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

TECH3022-18 Lecture Summary 023

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Feb 192018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-third lecture for TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

DIY-DMU Podcast 008 #WorldRadioDay

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Feb 132018
 
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It was an entertaining and engrossing discussion tonight, when Laury, Aidan, Jagger and Ben joined John Coster and Rob Watson to talk about what we like about radio. This is our contribution to UNESCO World Radio Day.

TECH1002-18 Lecture Summary 021

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Feb 132018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH1002 Social Media Innovation.

TECH1502-18 Lecture Summary 021

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Feb 132018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media.

TECH2503-18 Lecture Summary 021

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Feb 132018
 

This is an overview of the topics that will be covered in the twenty-first lecture for TECH2503 Community Media Production.