Hila Harary
Zeitgeist at your service

Simple Burnout solution Trumps Tech Band-Aids & Gov Innovation-Wash

Last week Bloomberg published that the number of people suffering from burnout has exceeded the number at the peak of the Coronavirus. According to a survey by the “Future Forum”, over 40% of white-collar workers feel burnout.
When populism overcomes brains: the Ministry of Innovation Science and Technology in collaboration with the Authority promoting women’s status (part of the Ministry of Social Equality) and the Accountant General, has issued a challenge to search for advanced technological tools for work-life balance.
The challenge states the following: “Life in the modern and technological age may often resemble an endless race. The high scope of positions used in Israel, the Israeli work week that is relatively long for Western countries, the possibility of the technological world, and sometimes even commitment to almost complete availability – all of which produce challenges for the workplace and the employee. Work-Life Balance is a broad concept, which refers to the balance system and order of priorities between career and progress in work to family, leisure time, and personal development. The need for “work-life balance” is not new but has received a renewed meaning in the current labor market, especially after the Covid pandemic.
As part of this challenge, the Authority is looking for advanced technological tools that will help the employer and employees in reaching an optimal work-life balance. Tools that can express a more balanced availability to the workplace, enable more effective hybrid work, enable control and measuring higher quality results for an employer who chooses a hybrid work, to be a platform for collaborations between employees, and to be directed to the government labor market.”
Seems like a needed challenge in light of the burnout that we have experienced (especially since Covid has burst into our lives), and certainly in light of being the startup nation. And in order to incentivize entrepreneurs/startups to submit solutions (in a crumbling capitalist world (I will leave it for another post) that only move if there is a financial reward at the end of the tunnel, or preferably – at the beginning), solutions that will be chosen for the demo will be given NIS 50,000 (taxpayer money of course).
In an interview with Calcalist last November, Hilla Haddad-Chmelnik, former CEO of the Ministry of Innovation and science, said that “there is innovation-wash in the government, it is usually very photogenic.
She has also been asked in an interview whether innovation is a buzzword and answered: “Yes. You don’t have to do innovation for innovation, and innovation is not a technological gimmick. When I try to define what innovation is, then this innovation solves an old problem in a new way. Many times people think innovation is cool, and looking for a ‘startup to solve the problem.
A smart woman, a pity they didn’t listen to her…
When technology is not the key to everything:
“Tech is the least important part of the next 20 years,” Paul Donovan, Chief Economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, said at Calcalist’s Meet &Tech event. “The economic transformation, the economic change, does not come from technology, but how we use it.”
And how do we use it? Bezeq’s (Israel’s largest communication company) 2022′ Internet report reveals some interesting data on our use of technology: Although the amount of time we spend on screens is on the rise, it can be seen that the increase is mainly personal uses such as gaming and streaming, while the communication angle (our availability to the wider world) brings more and more people for digital diet (or digital detox): 67% start the day without a phone, 83% do not use it during meals, more than half of the respondents do not put their mobile into the bedroom at night and the most interesting figure in my opinion in this context – about 38% are not using their mobile phones on Saturday, not for religious reasons.
A few other interesting data published in Bezeq’s report: 73% turn off the alerts from Facebook or WhatsApp, 19% prefer not to have read receipts on WhatsApp (blue ticks), 37% of them have deleted at least 3.5 time-consuming apps, and the same number of respondents are considering taking a break from social media and closing the profile.
Not easy to be simple: Remember the “Skin In The Game” owners from the previous post? So some of them have simple, applicable solutions that do not require any financial investments and resources (which when they leave out of your pocket, you think twice whether to spend each cent) and the construction of technologies (which have no need) for the treating their employees’ burnout. Sometimes it’s enough only to have common sense, humanity, and empathy. An example of it was given this month in Bloomberg:
The Italian Kashmir billionaire Brunello Cucinelli, owner of the fashion house named after him limits the company’s profits so that the employees and suppliers will earn well.
Quote from the articleIn Cucinelli’s factories, which was a pioneer in the ESG field, large windows are overlooking the rural area surrounding them and put in natural light. He encourages the workers to “look at the sky and listen to the church’s bells, instead of only sewn in the basement. He says he is proud that none of his 2,000 employees were fired, even when sales suffered during the Covid period. Nobody in Cucinelli – including the managers – is not allowed to stay at work after five and a half. In addition, the activity is on halt for an hour and a half during the work day for a traditional lunch. On weekends you must not send work-related messages. “People have to spend time with their families,” Cucinelli explains, and happily shares details about his two daughters and asks the interviewers about their children. His family still controls the company, which is now worth more than 5 billion euros, through a 50.5% ownership.
Cucinelli believes that slow and consistent development is the key to continuing the company’s strengthening in the future. “We want this company to be alive and kicking for another 200 years,” he says. “You can’t grow at a rate of 30% per year for 200 years.”
If the person established a company in 1978 and reached billions, it is likely that we can learn a thing or two from him about economics, corporate management, and leadership: to understand that employees are not machines, “turn off the lights” at the end of the work day (which ends in the afternoon and not in the middle of the night), respect employees’ meals’ and private time and that growth does not have to be at all costs, and certainly not at the price of the employees’ mental sanity.
Or, as Hilla Haddad-Chmelnik said: “Process innovation is a change of thinking.”
Simple, right?
About the Author
Hila is a trendologist (future forecaster) @ Tectonic Shift & a social entrepreneur. In parallel to building her own venture, she's helping b2b companies, governments, and organizations with their biz dev and creative marketing strategies, using trends and content, and has a great specialization on the German market.
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