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Occupational health & wellbeing: from burnout to engagement in the workplace
14 November 2017
Despite its name, occupational health psychology is traditionally concerned with ill-health and unwell-being. That is, it focuses almost exclusively on the negative aspects of employee behavior in organisations: damage, disease, disorder and disability. Since the turn of the century, the so-called ‘positive psychology’ has emerged that supplements this traditional negative approach by focusing on human strength and optimal functioning in the workplace. 
 
Prof Deon Meiring of the Department of Human Resource Management in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and four intern Industrial Psychology students attended Prof Wilmar B Schaufeli from Utrecht University in the Netherlands’ presentation on positive occupation health and wellbeing at the North-West University on 24 October 2017. 
 
Prof Schaufeli’s research focused on job stress and burnout, but in the past decade his research shifted to positive health at work, including work engagement. Prof Schaufeli ranks among the top 1% most cited researchers in the field of psychology. In his presentation he focused on two new emerging concepts of workaholism (the uncontrollable inner need to work excessively) and bordome (a state of relatively low arousal and dissatisfaction that is due to an under-stimulating work environment) that are receiving attention in the research literature.  
 
Prof Meiring will also collaborate with Prof Leon de Beer of the WorkWell Research Unit at the North-West University on a leadership engagement project focusing on leaders stimulating meaning, growth, relatedness and autonomy with their followers. Currently, new research concerning the validation of a new burnout scale for research within the South African context is also underway. 
 
To participate in the burnout project click here  
 
Prof Schaufeli concluded with 10 golden rules of work engagement:
1. Use your strengths, talents, and passions.
2. Adopt a healthy life style.
3. Be optimistic; focus on opportunities not on problems. 
4. Help and assist others; be kind and cooperative.
5. Take initiative and use opportunities. 
6. Ask for feedback to improve. 
7. Look for meaning in your work. 
8. Set high, but realistic goals.
9. Keep your job challenging.
10. When our engagement drops, talk to your supervisor. 
- Author Department of Human Resource Management
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Last edited by Gontse MoseseEdit
Johannes Masombuko, Gardi Berrington, Hilton Oosthuizen, Prof Wilmar Schaufeli, Katinka Clack, and Prof Deon Meiring