New Social Compact
Social Matters: Valuing Employee Well-being
Authors: Birger Kydland, Ynna Abigail Olvida, Yuanda Pangi Harahap*
Highlighting the “social” aspect of ESG
As the world becomes more aware of the need for sustainable and responsible business practices, the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework has gained significant traction in recent years. While the importance of environmental sustainability and good governance is widely acknowledged, the “S” is often overlooked or underestimated. Based on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, it talks about promoting well-being for all at all ages while SDG 8 aims to promote the protection of labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers.
So, in this article, we will focus on the social aspect of ESG, specifically on employee well-being in the workplace. We will explore its importance and the strategies that companies can adopt to promote employee well-being. We aim to raise awareness about the importance of social matters at the corporate level and encourage companies to prioritize employee well-being in their sustainability agendas as well.
Importance of well-being in the workplace
Studies reveal that employee well-being has a significant impact on productivity, engagement, and overall success. By promoting employee well-being, businesses can create a positive and supportive work environment that fosters employee satisfaction and ultimately leads to a more engaged and productive workforce. It helps reduce workplace stress and mitigate the negative impacts of mental health issues on employees, resulting in reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs for employers.
Main indicators related to employee well-being
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) identifies several main indicators of well-being in the workplace, including physical, psychological, social, and financial well-being. Physical well-being involves creating a safe and healthy work environment, offering healthy food options, promoting physical activity, and providing ergonomic designs. Psychological well-being includes mental and emotional states such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Employers can support psychological well-being by creating a positive work culture that values open communication, offering resources and support for mental health issues, such as counseling services, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. Social well-being is another main indicator of well-being in the workplace, which includes factors such as relationships with colleagues and social support networks. Lastly, financial well-being as financial stress can have a significant negative impact on employees’ well-being, leading to increased anxiety, poor physical health, and reduced productivity. Employers can support employees’ financial well-being by offering competitive salaries, bonuses, and benefits packages, as well as providing financial education and resources for personal finance management.
By addressing physical, psychological, social and financial well-being in the workplace, employers can help improve employee well-being, leading to better job performance and increased productivity.
Increased well-being to improve mental health in the workplace
The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that creating a supportive work environment that prioritizes employee well-being can help reduce work-related stress and improve mental health. By promoting employee well-being and providing resources for mental health support, employers can reduce the negative impacts of mental health issues in the workplace and improve employees’ overall well-being.
The importance of well-being in improving mental health is supported by Champion Health’s research. Their report found that employees who rated their well-being as high reported significantly lower levels of stress and anxiety, indicating a correlation between well-being and mental health. Furthermore, organizations that prioritize employee well-being have a 63% lower rate of workplace stress, indicating the positive impact of well-being initiatives on employees’ mental health. By providing resources such as mental health support programs, flexible work arrangements, and training on stress management, employers can help reduce workplace stress and promote employees’ mental health, leading to a more engaged and productive workforce.
Effective strategies for promoting employee well-being in the workplace
Fortunately, there are several strategies that can be used to prevent, protect, and support well-being in the workplace. Prevention is a crucial strategy for promoting well-being in the workplace. Employers can take steps to prevent workplace hazards and risk factors that may impact employee well-being. This can include providing training on how to recognize and manage stress, reducing workloads and managing deadlines, ensuring adequate rest and recovery time, and creating a safe, open, and supportive work environment. For example, employers can offer flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, to help employees manage their work-life balance.
Protection is another key strategy for promoting well-being in the workplace. Employers can take steps to protect employees both physically and mentally. This can include providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring that work equipment is safe and well-maintained for workplace hazards that cannot be eliminated entirely. Employers can also provide resources for employees to help them manage their mental and emotional well-being, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) and access to counseling services.
Finally, support is critical for promoting employee well-being and it goes both ways. On one end, employees can take steps to support their own well-being by practicing self-care, such as getting sufficient sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in physical activities. They can take an active role in advocating for workplace policies that promote well-being. This includes advocating for fair wages, flexible work arrangements, and adequate rest periods. They can also work with management to implement policies and programs that prioritize their well-being. Employers can also offer support to their employees by creating a culture of openness and support, providing opportunities for feedback and input, and fostering a sense of community and belongingness in the workplace. By taking a proactive approach to well-being, employers and employees can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.
Employee well-being for organizational success
This article highlights the importance of employee well-being in the workplace as a key social aspect of ESG, which can have a direct impact on the success and sustainability of an organization. The focus on employee well-being is becoming increasingly crucial as it can boost productivity and increase employee satisfaction and retention. The article explores the main indicators of employee well-being, which include physical, psychological, social, and financial well-being, and offers strategies for promoting well-being in the workplace, including prevention, protection, and support. Ultimately, prioritizing employee well-being is not only the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, but it is also an essential aspect of a company’s long-term success.
*Yuanda Pangi Harahap from Indonesia, Birger Kydland from Norway, Ynna Abigail Olvida from the Philippines are studying for the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management, a dual degree program from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia and the University of Agder, Norway.
New Social Compact
Welcome to Dystopia: A Society Where No One is Paying Attention
What if I told you that the social media platforms were the real Big Brother in society, that social media platforms currently have the power to manipulate an entire population. Sounds a bit crazy, right? Indeed, a conspiracy like this is crazy. However, we are in fact living in a time when people have stopped paying attention, in a society where social media gets more attention than our planet. How did we end up here?
“The Social Dilemma”
In the digital age, smartphones have become an essential part of our daily lives, connecting us to a new world of unlimited information and opportunities. Interacting with the rest of the world has never been easier. The rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have played a significant role in transforming the way we communicate, share content, and consume information. However, a lot of people have developed a toxic relationship to their phones in recent years. Personally, I consistently keep my smartphone either in my pocket or on the table in front of me, a habit I find quite problematic. “The Social Dilemma”, a documentary about the dark side of social media, expose how social media nurtures addiction to maximize profit and examines the hidden impact these platforms have on the society.
The New Society
Focus is a rare skill to find in the new digital era. No one is paying attention anymore. You should think that the internet, smartphones, and social media would make our life more efficient, leaving more time to focus on the real important things in life. However, the endless opportunities that follows with the world online is leaving us on an unorganized path full of distractions. The biggest distraction of them all is hidden in our pocket the whole way. Social media platforms are designed to capture and retain our attention. An average employee is estimated to pick up his phones 30 times a day during working hours, or every 16 minutes during a full eight-hour shift. Constant disruptions caused by our smartphones is fragmenting our focus, preventing us from engage in deep work or sustaining attention on important tasks. A lot of people think they are doing more if they multitask, but the truth is that behavior like this is leading to decreased productivity and a shallow understanding of the information we consume.
We are stuck in the Matrix. No one looks up from their phone anymore. People find themselves constantly checking their social media feeds, driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the anxiety of being without their smartphones, a phenomenon known as nomophobia. Social media platforms are built on a reward system that triggers the release of dopamine, capitalizing on keeping their users on the screen for as long as possible. The anticipation of receiving likes and comments fuels our desire for validation, often leading to addictive behaviors. Engineers are constantly working to find new ways to enhance addictive behavior, implementing streaks on Snapchat, infinite scroll on Instagram, and autoplay on YouTube. At the same time, we are told that lack of willpower is the source to our addiction. It is time that the social media platforms take some responsibility for the product they have made.
Is Virtual Climate Activism Enough?
While social media platforms have played a vital role in raising awareness about climate issues, it is important to differentiate between virtual activism and real-world impact. Reposting a story on Instagram is easy, do the work that is required to make a change is not. A lot of people demonstrate their concern for the climate on social media, few people implement actual lifestyle changes that benefit the environment. Awareness is great, but there is not enough to talk the talk. We must walk the walk to make a significant change. We can start by taking a break from our digital lives and start paying attention to how our own lifestyle is affecting the environment.
Virtual activism has emerged as a powerful tool in the digital age, enabling individuals and communities to raise awareness and advocate for social and environmental causes through online platforms. It allows organizations to provide information, mobilize supporters, and organize campaigns efficiently. However, the phenomenon of greenwashing has also become prevalent. Greenwashing refers to the deceptive marketing practices employed by organizations to present an environmentally friendly image while engaging in harmful or unsustainable practices, creating an illusion of commitment to environmental causes.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Our attention is more valuable than ever. With climate change looming as one of the greatest challenges of our time, it is crucial that we allocate our time and attention towards solutions rather than getting lost in the endless scroll. A change from addictive social media platforms that capitalizes on our attention, isolating us from the offline world, towards an existence where social media platforms encourages their users to meet face-to-face and engage in important conversations, could be the change required to shift from the current dystopia towards a new utopia.
New Social Compact
International Migration:Globalization’s implications
Abstract: International migration in the globalized world is a highly complex phenomenon. The complexity is because of the vast number of governmental and non governmental international conventions and laws which was unprecedented in the world before the second world war. When there was no convention or international definition of migration, any person trying to cross borders was perceived as an invader or an acceptable being in the highly charged nationalist societies across the globe. The end of the second world war and userhing of the internationalist movement laid the foundations of modern international migration, and it was not until the 1980 when the free trade movement swept across the globe causing the softening of border regulations and imposing international border constitution regulated by International conventions, this softening allowed the movement of millions across the borders in various regions. This study is aimed at uncovering various aspects related to international migration, like globalization’s implications.new institutional approach by international conventions, Push and Pull factors, and labour related aspects of International migration. The study by focusing on these various factors will conclude that the modern migration is too complex and diverse to be explained by only one theoretical paradigm.
Modern day migration has a diverse classification system, encompassing both micro and macro levels, every factor is further listed into various sub factors, all the factors together form the modern theoretical takes on International migration. The Onset of the globalized world brought its dangers with itself, the softening of borders not just allowed the movement of migrants but also started the making on International criminal syndicates, also known as transnational criminal networks, and today in a highly globalized world these organized crime syndicates poses a grave threat to citizens of each country as well as people who want to migrate to other countries, these criminal syndicate used them as a shield and also as a workforce to drive their nefarious agendas and business (Castles and Miller, 1998). This example is relevant because on the practical side our urge to explain the phenomenon of International migration through a single theoretical lens. The modern world operates on a set of globally agreed rules and laws, also as known as a rule based order, in this system of global governance, every international migrant is subject to be treated with dignity and respect and wont go through harsh treatment and torture and after their capture they must be treated according to national and international laws (International Migration: A Very Short Introduction, 2016). This another aspect also shows that pre world war II methods to deal with international migrants are now almost obsolete, with some scattered incidents in the world and some populist surges in Europe is reshaping the decades old institutional based approaches to international migration. Germany which is considered as the heaven for international migrants activated a far right group which goes all out on Germany’s current government policies on facilitating international migration (Linhard and Parsons, 2019). The involvement of the national and international organization and weaving a web of policies on international migration exposed us to the highly regulated practical side of international migration. The number of literature being made on the international migration and the problems explained in it shows a growing complex nature of the international migration. In this study we will explore various aspect of the modern migration and will prove that trying to get it explained through one single theory is not just incorrect but illogical, as the phenomenon is now enshrined in the multilateral institutions as well as well explained and adopted to the national governments through their treaty commitments, forming the institutional basis of it (Cambridge University Press, n.d.). The International migration has different undertones and meanings in different regions, and this diffusion in meaning and understanding too show the behavioral and psychological side of International migration. The current pandemic further made it complex as the US President accused China of causing the new coronavirus outbreak and ethnicizing a microbe. The anti migration policies of several European and US administrations shows a treatment of migrants as per the pre WWII methods (Routledge & CRC Press, n.d.).
Globalization and International Migration.
Globalization proved to be the main impetus to launch a modern wave of human migration. This new migration is different from the past migrations, in the highly interconnected world known as global village, the digital revolution helped people of all races, color and greed heard and count in the digital space (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, n.d.). The skills, education systems and having diverse backgrounds allowed the Major powers to outsource talents not from its own territory but attracting and inviting international talents from across the globe. The globalization theory and various labour and economic theories briefly explain this aspect of international migration. The emergence of Apple Inc. and Google made the world a different place. A place in which commodities were not the only moveable assets, but talent became a new commodity and the current CEO of google made this claim quite clear as Sundar Pichai an Indian born and raised techie is leading the world’s largest and greatest tech conglomerate (Amazon.com, 2020). Apart from the talent hunt of major powers, the labour from third world also saw moving of their population to other countries and in the process of this migration,the migrants not just formed the new pattern but enabled those countries to rise from the ashes as the migrants became the backbone of their economies, rebuilding and reconfiguring their societies, the Gulf region is best known for this sort of migrant movement. India being less developed two decades and Arab region more developed compelled many Indians to go to the Gulf countries, as India regain its economic push the Indians in gulf region now serves as the harbinger of new era in gulf India relations, as mighty Gulf countries are now on par with the new India in the form of an economic powers. This one theory of globalization and labour movement can explain the stated factors of the international migration, but it cannot keep on explaining other diverse factors involving the international migration and its patterns. Economic interdependence also helped build a new labour environment as the International migration became a dominant force in the 21st century (Sudmeier-Rieux et al., 2017) .
As mentioned earlier in the preceding section that after the end of the world war II, the Wilsonian vision of international society was formally realized when the Bretton Woods Conference established the world first economic system, which was truly global in nature, the establishment of Bretton Woods system was thus not just limited to the economic sphere but soon spilled into other domains of human life, and forming a web of conventions which are now in thousands, and form the basis of International society today, including the International Migration (By Bloomsbury Professional, 2012). The Institutional theory is one sound explanation of the international migration encompassing its many contemporary problems, as it clearly suggest and divide two main justifications and assumptions, that non profit angle of it is always optimistic while the profit angle of any organization involved in human migration always bring havoc and problems for the non profit angle as well, institutional theory talk about all the frameworks and organizations of international migration (By Bloomsbury Professional, 2012). The United States is known to have tough migration laws, but when it come sto treatment of the migrants caught in the middle of their journey enabled by the profit seeking organization which provide them with the counterfeit documents and paperwork, but as the modern border control system is matured enough, and derive its power from the biometric identification and Rfid technologies, it is almost impossible to penetrate major countries with counterfeit documents. The profit and non profit models are directly at odds in scenario, as the non profit organization blame profit based organization for tightening of the borders as governments precipatte even the skilled workforce with valid documents and suspect them, until they check them through harsh checking measures (Amazon.com, 2019). The institutional theory of migration is mainly associated with the practical side of migration and helps oversee the practical development in the international migration arena, as though migration policies and laws are adopted in many countries, the border investigation and inquiry protocols, in case of counterfeit documents the custody of a person involved in forgery. The recent Libyan Civil War, incited a huge wave of human migration from Middle East to Europe via the Mediteranean route, the crisis was exacerbated by the profit seeking elements as well as call from non profit organizations to accommodate thousands of families from the war torn countries like Libya and Syria, the harsh treatment from the Greek coast guards and other European countries made it clear that developed countries now see international migration differently and they showed their this intent through various addresses at the multilateral as well as national organizations (Amazon.com, 2019) .
The post world war II economic system is the main factor that people from the underdeveloped and developing countries prefer to get work in the developed countries. The main factor is the post world war II monetary system, in which the dollar emerges as the world currency. The graduated difference between national currencies of countries and their values compel people to go and get jobs in other countries, because the remittances they send to their countries will almost double or triple in value, this aspect of International labour is the most attractive feature for people to think about migrating to another country. Once a person gets a job in some other countries and they learn to earn money and settle down there they often go to migrate their family there to earn more income (Panizzon et al., 2015). The labour aspect is the primary and marco reason for human migration. The financial benefit and security is at its peak in the West, owing to their great constitutional tradition which ensures income security to all. In underdeveloped society, the governments are mired by corruption and thus they fail to resurrect a welfare based system for people and thus compel people to leave their countries (Routledge & CRC Press, n.d.).
Push & Pull and the contemporary International Migration.
The points raised in the preceding section also talk about the push & pull aspect of International migration. The violence induced environments discussed in the form of Libya and Syria civil war also fits in the Push aspect of contemporary human migration. The attractive salary abroad, good living standard and peaceful environment make the push and pull aspect the leading factor in today’s massive human migration across the maritime boundaries. The continental borders are well guarded and left little room for intruders to make it to mainstream society, but the maritime borders are comparatively well stretched and are poorly guarded, but in case of European Union and US, the maritime spaces are extremely well guarded make it impossible for migrants to cross through it, the recent human tragedies in medteranean is a proof that mass migration through seascapes are extremely dangerous (Shrestha, 2016) Even fulfilling the legal requirements for migration in today’s world don’t ensure a secure place in those societies as they are growing wary of new entrants as the global economy contracts following the 2008 recession.
All the aspects highlighted under road headlines, shows various theories explaining diverse aspects of the international migration, to encompass every aspect of the International migration under one theoretical lens it’s practically and academically inaccurate, and will leave out a huge void in explaining the broader issues in contemporary International migration. The diffusion of supply chain into the global value chain to some extent capped the further worsening of international migration as the emergence of factories in the south offered good earning opportunities to people. The contemporary trends suggest that violence, civil wars, weak prosecution system, weak witness protection systems and governmental corruption to exacerbate international migration, while the attitudes in West towards migration will create hurdles for the newcomers, all these aspects are diverse and need separate theoretical paradigms with distinct scholarships and technical details to explain all these distinct phenomenons in the broader field of International migration, thus it is technically not feasible to propose a unified theory to explain international migration.
New Social Compact
Thrift with Purpose: Navigating the Path to Conscious Fashion
Thrifting is more popular among post-Millennial and Generation Z teenagers. If it helps to explain to people who don’t know, a thrift store (second-hand shop) is a place where you can buy second-hand appliances at low costs. What sets thrift store things apart is that they are old (but not damaged beyond use), mostly vintage designs, and cheap. Another thing is being Eco Friendly.
Sustainable Fashion & Thrifting
You will notice that in the international fashion industry, to sustain the clothes, they are making them with emphasis on not harming the environment in the production part. The point is that the world is pretty sick. Only if you protect the world around you will you live long. The weekly update collections of Fast Fashion Brands and clothing waste produced by the thousands and tens of thousands of clothing waste is becoming more and more.
There will be questions about what happened when they are produced. Believe it or not, it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans at home. The production of one piece of cloth emits harmful gases equivalent to the fumes emitted by a vehicle traveling 80 miles. Most of the international clothing factories are located near streams and rivers. The chemicals that come out from there damage the water and soil as well as pollute the air. There is almost nothing good for the environment.
Thrifting is compatible with two of the things that must be done to preserve the environment. Thrifting is going along the path of Reuse, Recycle, so if you love the world, do Thrifting. The fashion and textile industry may not be able to solve the problems completely, but in this way, we can reduce the carbon footprint as much as we can. There is no reason why small steps cannot add up to one big step.
When producing new clothes, new linens, and new natural resources, including water and energy, must be used. In addition, the clothes are worn once, after the end of the particular trend, it accumulates on the earth and releases greenhouse gases, causing global warming. When they wear thrift (second-hand) clothes, instead of piling up somewhere in the world, they circulate among these people. Therefore, compared to buying new clothes like fast fashion, buying old clothes is more environmentally friendly.
Other than the high price of really good fabrics, thrift stores are usually cheaper. From shirts, pants, shoes, hats, everything you need is available at affordable prices, and people from the grassroots to the middle class buy it. Because the resources that have already been extracted are returned to people through this thrift market, the use of thrift reduces the environmental impact to a certain extent.
The Illusion of Thrifting
But every time you buy thrift, you can’t say it’s environmentally friendly. The problem is that thrift also has a lot of products from fast fashion companies. Thrifting has become like fast fashion. Discarded fabrics end up in the second market, the thrift market. Since these fabrics are recycled, they are natural for the short term. But people may think about it cheaper and more fashionable, they buy more and more. Consumerism, which buys more than it needs, is a problem of running out of natural resources. After wearing it 1 or 2 times, throw it away when you don’t need it anymore. So, it has become an illusion of fast fashion. Thrift shopping is better than buying new if you really need it.
Making Informed Choices for a Sustainable Future
If you buy thrift, buy only what you really need, rather than buying more. If you need a blazer, buy a blazer. If you buy it because it’s cheap or beautiful, it’s not good for the environment. When you buy it, you can wear it in a variety of ways. Be sure to be patient and choose a design that will not be out of date (timeless). If you buy new, buy clothes that have the least impact on the environment. (For example, fashion produced by sustainable brands and local small businesses). If Someone had to answer the question, whether buying thrift clothes is beneficial or harmful for the environment is a matter of buyer’s choice. The thing is to be mindful and choose and buy carefully.
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