Employees who feel respected and free to make choices in the workplace, and be held accountable for them, are happier and more productive.

This month we celebrate the spirit of Freedom in South Africa, democracy and the strive to create a workforce that is equally respected with the same opportunities.

In this blog, we will explore the history of Freedom Day and why liberty is important for productivity.

History of Freedom Day

Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. These were the first post-apartheid national elections to be held in South Africa, where anyone could vote regardless of race.

Interesting fact: this year marks the 150th anniversary of struggle icon and human rights campaigner Charlotte Maxeke. She and other selfless women of her generation fought against oppression at a time when such defiance was met with unrelenting force.

This day is very important to South Africans, as we acknowledge our past and take effective steps to ensure our present-day and future are led by decisions that benefit everyone. And for us, we use this day to remind businesses and organisations of the importance of freedom in the workplace to create a more competitive country.

Freedom and Productivity

Freedom in the workplace doesn’t mean people can choose to come and go as they please. It reflects the requirement for human rights to be upheld in the workplace and encourages an environment where employees feel safe to voice their needs and opinions.

Inclusivity in business decisions or discussions, and being considered when opportunities are presented, can have a massive impact on the employee perspective towards the organisation and their level of productivity.

It’s about supporting cooperative work in the best possible way. The more diverse the work environment, the more strongly cooperation is practised across the entire company. Another important factor is personal self-determination. Managers should trust their employees and let them use ways of working best suited to their needs and the task in hand.” – Stephanie Wackernagel, Psychologist and Industrial Designer.

Giving employees freedom can lead to lower turnover, higher productivity levels and overall employee satisfaction.

Productivity SA, freedom, and human rights

We promote a culture of productivity, respect, and freedom in workplaces. We facilitate and evaluate productivity improvement and competencies in workplaces, and support initiatives aimed at preventing job losses and increasing inclusivity in the workplace.

We have partnered with various business formations such as the Black Business Council (BBC), South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Small Business Institute (SBI) to increase participation in our Enterprise Development and Support Programmes.

In addition, the core mandate of the Department of Employment and Labour is to regulate the South African Labour Market for sustainable economic development through appropriate legislation and regulations, inspection, compliance monitoring and enforcement, protection of human rights, provision of employment services, promotion of equity, social and income protection, and social dialogue.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), labour is not a commodity and freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress. Equality of rights and opportunities for all human beings, without distinction, must be the central aim of national and international policies and measures, including those of an economic and financial character.

If you want to change your work environment for the better, reach out to us and let’s discuss the steps to take to create a workplace everyone will be proud of.