Workwise is a corporate wellness company that helps businesses transform their workspace and achieve their strategic goals. By investigating the culture of an organization and developing a tailor-made transformation system to realign the business structure and boost morale. In South Africa, people spend forty plus hours at work and more time preparing for work or doing errands. Therefore, it is very crucial that the work place be a safe and inviting space to achieve one’s goals.
Corporate South Africa is a very difficult space to navigate and it can take a real toll on one’s mental and physical health. Our programme in an intense and vigorous plan that transform morale and productivity. The programme starts off with us spending a day in the background, watching how the employees engage and work; listening to corridor talk and figuring out which type of work environment we are dealing with. The second step is a short meeting with the employees and providing a employee wellness quiz. The information from this quiz leads us to step three which is the strategy. Depending on the company type, our services will vary from one month to three months with the longest being six months.
For us at WorkWISE, we understand that transformation takes time so we do not offer day-long workshops that change nothing in the organization but cost an arm and a leg. We become a part of the company and we are confidantes for employees and employers. We take a very active and engaged approach to transforming the workspace. The only way to achieve transformation in an organization, apart from firing everyone, is talking to the employees especially the employees at the very bottom because they do not have a lot to lose so they will probably be very honest. Transformation requires a bold and strict movement forward.
The world of work has developed significantly all around the world but from my experience the South African corporate landscape has stayed more or less the same. Many companies do not care or have the means to bring their workplace into the furniture. My first job was at a company in a very affluent part of Johannesburg but being inside, you’d think it was the 1950s. It was very bare, basic and bland space. The idea for this programme developed from working in a toxic work place that was not very exciting to be at.
I have experienced working for a company that does not care about corporate wellness or employee morale. I cut my teeth at a place where everyone was unhappy and complacent. It was so bad that there was an employee who was diagnosed with deep depression. I spent a lot of my time there feeling anxious and frustrated which lead to me becoming sick. Now that it has been six months since that life changing sickness where felt as though I was dying, I can say that that moment changed my life. It set me on self-help journey that has set my life on a completely different trajectory. As a cocky LLB graduate, I was convinced that I would get the most amazing first job and that they would be wowed by the power of my mind.
This was definitely not my first experience. Most of the time I felt invisible and listless. My cubicle was set in a corner where no one would see me unless I walked out to the kitchen or to go upstairs. I would find myself going to get water even when I was not thirsty just to get that attention and be seen. In the beginning, I loved being hidden away because I am an introvert but eventually, I would get frustrated that they did not understand why they were not utilizing my knowledge. When I realized that our core values were different, I gained peace by knowing that I would not be able to achieve the goals I wanted the company to achieve because the company’s focus was not there. The company received a new CEO so we started to attend many workshops on change management, sexual harassment and other workplace topics, it was there where the idea for this company was born. For me, the workshops were more about checking it off the list and it was a way of giving away lots of a money to a company who does not understand the core issues of the company. As an intern, you understand the company very well because you have a lot of time on your hands. The disappointing part for me was that the CEO never took the time to talk to the interns because we were the people who spend the most time there and we would have suggested lots on transformation. Even having a ten minute conversation with the interns could have saved the company a lot of money but that never happened. That whole experience made me think a lot about how South African countries run pretty much without regulation. There has to be more to be done to force employers to create a productive and well work culture where people thrive. A lot of young people graduate and are thrown into the lion’s den without being prepared at all by university of what work life entails.