Prof Dewi of the Faculty of Community Medicine at Universitas Indonesia has underscored the need for greater attention to psychosocial aspects in the workplace. This call for action is particularly salient for Generation Z (born 1997-2012), a demographic cohort that may evolve into the most stressed generation. Unlike their predecessors, Gen Z seeks novelty and challenges in their professional lives; however, they may lack the necessary skills or confidence to navigate the uncertainties intrinsic to their environment, thereby leading to potential anxiety.
An Alarming Workplace Scenario
International Labour Organization (ILO) survey data from 2020-2022 shows a disturbing trend: 71% of workers in Indonesia have experienced violence or bullying at work. More alarmingly, 77% of these instances involved psychological aggression. Furthermore, 63% of workers suffering from mental health issues reported feeling sad and uncomfortable in their work environments.
The Role of Occupational Medicine
Prof Dewi warns that the capacity to manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle is diminishing with each passing generation. If this trend persists, Gen Z may become the most stressed generation. To combat this, she advocates for the creation of workplaces where employees feel safe and comfortable, both physically and emotionally. Occupational medicine becomes pivotal in managing psychosocial exposure, ensuring mental health issues among workers are identified and addressed promptly by relevant parties such as HR, company doctors, and management.
A Holistic Approach to Employee Welfare
The professor believes that such measures can help sustain workers' mental and physical health, thereby increasing productivity and ultimately contributing to societal welfare. As we navigate the shifting dynamics of the workplace, the need to foster empathy, understanding, and support becomes even more essential in cultivating a more inclusive and compassionate work environment for all, particularly for the emerging phenomenon of 'empaths' in the workplace.