Modern-Day Work Challenges

Drum English|6 February 2020

Modern-Day Work Challenges
Here’s how to deal with job issues that arise from ever-changing environments and new technology

Ten years ago, “leaving the office” meant just that – you were out of the building and out of contact until work started again the next morning. But between our phones, emails and social media, many of us are connected to colleagues beyond business hours.

Always being available is just one of the many issues people are facing in the modern working world that can affect their lives at the office and at home.

“If dealing with business issues after you’ve left the office will affect your work-life balance, then let clients and colleagues know upfront exactly when you will, and won’t, be available,” says Anna Martyn, managing director of Careers by Design based in Pietermaritzburg.

“If you start responding to mails at 9pm at night, then don’t be surprised when your boss starts mailing you late at night (and expecting a prompt reply).

“Setting boundaries doesn’t mean you’ll be left behind, as long as you give your full attention to your job during the hours you are available,” Martyn says.

Here are some other modern-day work challenges and how to tackle them.


Although the South African workplace is still pretty polite, Martyn says, working in a larger company or a particularly competitive industry can be a daily obstacle course of backstabbing, gossiping and ruthless colleagues who have no regard for their fellow staffers.

“These ‘toxic employees’ are predominantly younger, with an inflated sense of self-esteem and the belief that they deserve to get to the top with minimal effort. Their priority is to get on the manager’s good side rather than doing their job properly or thoroughly.”


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6 February 2020