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Murthy’s suggestion that nurturing social connections at work can counter the very problem work causes is not particularly unique: The notion that workplaces can treat stress has been widely embraced in recent years. This solution sees employers hosting meditation lunch hours as a panacea for the effects of the hugely stressful demands they place on their workforce.
David Bartram, a sociology professor at the University of Leicester and co-editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies, recently described how this trend plays out in universities in Times Higher Education. “There’s virtually no chance of reshaping Western universities in ways that would genuinely support employees’ happiness. Institutional leaders all pay lip service to it, but the narrow limits are all too apparent,” he wrote. Instead, staff well-being events are “sometimes downright cringe-worthy.” Bartram complained that one such event, “featuring smoothie-making, yoga stretching, herbal-tea drinking...
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