Exhausted country: Get out of the hamster wheel: How work can be more fun again

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering.

Exhausted country: Get out of the hamster wheel: How work can be more fun again

This article is an acquisition from Capital, Capital's premium digital offering. For you as a stern PLUS subscriber, it is available exclusively here for one week. It will then be available again exclusively for Capital subscribers at www.capital.de/plus

Many people felt and suspected it, and now there are figures: every second person (49.4 percent) says they have less strength today than they did three years ago. This is the result of a study by the Hamburg Pinktum Institute, which surveyed employees of all ages and hierarchy levels. So everyone is affected equally. Another worrying finding: one in three working people in Germany lacks the energy for their daily work.

Where does it come from? What robs people of their strength? Almost a third of those surveyed see the work itself as a drain on energy. Other stress factors are much more serious: political issues, the multitude of crises, and the country's economic situation. If all of this is now taking such a toll on each individual that motivation and performance are dwindling, this is a warning signal for employers.

Capital went on a search to trace the symptoms of the lack of strength - and to find measures and means to combat it: at the pharmaceutical company Bayer, at the car manufacturer VW, at Gothaer health insurance and at the drive specialist Marantec.

Working at Bayer is “torture for everyone.” Bill Anderson has been in office as the new CEO for just six months, and this is already his conclusion in familiar circles. In any case, his children, both adults, would never want to work in this company.

A harsh announcement for the 100,000 Bayer employees around the world – similar to being pushed into an ice bath. After all, they all endure this torture every day, for years, many for decades. The American Anderson took over as CEO of the traditional Leverkusen-based company in the middle of last year, and even a brief insight was enough for him: everything was too bureaucratic, hierarchical, rigid. An operating model from the day before yesterday, in which decisions are made like they were 50 years ago. The internal catalog of rules and regulations comprises a total of 1,362 pages, reports Anderson.

Discontent is spreading. Not just for the American, who has to prove to pressing investors that he is the right person to get the damaged company back on track for growth - despite ongoing legal risks with the weed killer glyphosate and setbacks in drug development. It's also frustrating for the workforce, who are struggling and still not making any progress: Bayer's shares are lagging behind the DAX, the company's value has collapsed, and debts weigh 38 billion euros on the balance sheet. All three business areas are developing only moderately. There has to be more. But how?

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