Insufficiencies within employment
Insufficient job benefits
Boredom and frustration in work resulting from lack of interest, involvement, responsibility or authority leads to absenteeism, poor quality work and low productivity from the employer's point of view and psychological distress on the part of the employee.
A hundred years ago Karl Marx described the 'alienation' of the industrial worker, and his contemporaries William Morris and John Ruskin were concerned at increased production being bought at the price of making work frustrating and inane. They feared that the satisfaction and skill of craftsmanship would give way to monotony and incomprehension. The absurdity of the process was brought powerfully to the public attention in the 1930s in Charlie Chaplin's film 'Modern Times'. An American Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in 1972 presented a study that concluded that 'the best predictor of long life is not whether a person smokes or how often he sees a doctor, but the extent to which he is satisfied with his job'.
Work is a form of living with its own intrinsic rewards. Any way of organizing work which is at odds with this idea, which treats work instrumentally, as a means only to other ends, is inhuman. No-one enjoys his work if he is a machine. A man enjoys his work when he understands the whole and when he is responsible for the quality of it. He can only do so when the work which happens in society is undertaken by groups small enough to give people understanding through face-to-face contact, and autonomous enough to let workers participate in organizing their work. Today, more people are waking up to the absurdity of being well-fed, educated and housed, the pampered master of the machine at home, but its tethered tenant while at work.
Rational labour utilization and productivity are essential conditions for a sustained increase in production leading to improved living standards, particularly among the poorest groups. Workers are more interested in a better life outside their job, so job enrichment is not something unions have been pressing for.