all about the quality of life at work

all about the quality of life at work


In recent years, the term “QVT” (Quality of Life at Work) has been at the center of all discussions in the professional sphere. Employed for the first time in the 1950s by the English psychologist Eric Trist, it will be necessary to wait until 2013 for it to become more democratic in France, in particular through the national interprofessional agreement (ANI).

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Often confused with psychosocial risks, QVT is in fact a much more global policy, of which PSR is a part. Its objective: to improve working conditions.

The pillars of QVT

The quality of life at work depends directly on the perception of employees. The latter is built on three main pillars.

  • Employment and working conditions: this includes the working environment (atmosphere, equipment, comfort, etc.), employment conditions (training, career, etc.) and extra-professional elements (travel time, for example).
  • The capacity for expression and action: this involves the entire human dimension around work, from management to the atmosphere within a team, including the support available internally (HR, CSE , etc).
  • The content of the job: it corresponds to all the characteristics of the position itself. Autonomy, value and meaning of work, pace, resources and tools available: these are all elements that come into play in QWL.

well-being at work

QVT is not just about well-being at work, even if these concepts are closely linked. First, there is a lexical difference between these two terms. The notion of “well-being” refers to something more subjective, which varies greatly from one individual to another. Well-being is also very often associated with health, and in particular with mental health. As for the QVT, it tends more towards objectivity, in particular because it is measurable, through numerous indicators.

It should be noted, however, that a good quality of life at work allows employees to feel good within the company, hence the fact that these two notions have rather vague boundaries. Thus, QVT is one of the keystones of team management.

Psychosocial risks (RPS)

Well-being and quality of life are in all cases inseparable from psychosocial risk prevention approaches. Within a company, this process is much more than a recommendation: it is a legal obligation. Indeed, the Labor Code clarifies in article L. 4121-1 that the employer must ensure the safety of his employees and assess all risks, including psychosocial risks. It must also adopt all necessary measures to protect the mental and physical health of its employees.

Psychosocial risks result from six main factors:

  • Work requirements (schedules, deadlines, etc.).
  • Emotional demands (difficult contacts with the hierarchy, physical or verbal violence, etc.).
  • The lack of autonomy and leeway.
  • Poor social and labor relations.
  • Value conflicts and loss of meaning.
  • The insecurity of the work situation (in particular reinforced by the health crisis).

These different situations can thus have an impact on physical health (cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders) or mental health (stress, anxiety disorders, depression). The repercussions of these psychosocial risks are then felt on the company itself, which may deplore a higher turnover, more marked absenteeism, lower productivity or even an attack on the quality of work.

The prevention of PSR can thus be part of a more global QVT approach, but it must also be the subject of very specific work. In particular, all companies must transcribe the risks through the DUER (Single Risk Assessment Document), which is mandatory for all employers. This document must be updated at least once a year.

The importance of the QVT approach

The implementation of a QVT approach within an organization responds to several challenges. In any case, the quality of life at work is an essential pillar in the development of companies.

Build employee loyalty and promote talent retention

On the labor market, competition is fierce for employers. The best talents are also the most sought after and the salary is no longer enough to retain them. Quality of life at work is thus a tool that improves the employee experience. When employees are happy in their work environment, turnover is much lower. 73% of them consider that well-being is as important as remuneration.

Reduce the cost of absenteeism

Providing good working conditions to employees helps preserve their mental and physical health over the long term. Thus, QVT actively contributes to the reduction of absenteeism, which has a significant cost for a company. Stops related to stress, exhaustion or even burn-out can be greatly reduced if employees are fulfilled and motivated.

Increase productivity

The performance of a company depends directly on the involvement of its employees. QVT is a powerful lever to engage them and make them want to participate in a common project. This approach therefore has a direct impact on the company’s productivity. Indeed, 45% of employees believe that a bad atmosphere at work, for example, has a negative impact on their performance. They are 74% to think that QVT is essential to boost performance in their company.

Be in legal compliance

Beyond all the aspects related to the fulfillment of employees and the productivity of the company, it should not be forgotten that certain aspects of QVT are regulated by law. This is the case of psychosocial risks, as we have seen previously, which must be the subject of a complete analysis and the development of a DUER. Also, the health law of August 2, 2021 makes mandatory, from March 31, 2022, annual negotiations on professional equality between men and women, quality of life at work and working conditions.

From QVT to QVCT

In December 2020, the national interprofessional agreement changed QVT to QVCT (Quality of Life and Working Conditions). The objective is then to put professional practices back at the heart of the matter and to position QVCT as a genuine process of continuous improvement. The QVCT brings attention back to the priority themes of companies: their transformation, their managerial practices, their professional prospects, etc.

It brings more precision and clarity to the term “QVT” which, until then, was often related to anything and everything. There are many examples of start-ups that mistakenly thought they had initiated QVT actions by offering yoga classes to their employees or by installing table football in the break room. The QVCT clearly shows that the approach must be correlated to working conditions and be the subject of a long-term action plan.

The quality of life at work is far from being a simple emerging trend: it responds to real expectations, both on the side of employers and employees. Implementing a QVT plan requires time but also organization. To carry out this operation, it is essential to follow a well-defined method and to federate a complete team around this project. HubSpot has a guide to help you measure QWL in your business and build your own strategy.

To go further, download this free report and discover thedata and trends collected from marketers, combined with strategies and best practices in the field.Marketing Evolution Report

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