May 31, 2022, / HR Leaders, Employee Wellbeing
Employers generally used to emphasize health benefits when discussing employee wellbeing in the workplace. Today, we understand that employee well-being entails more than just the absence of illness among employees. Employee wellbeing in the workplace is concerned with improving the health of all employees. It is not only about physical well-being, but also about other aspects of well-being that cannot be overlooked when discussing health and well-functioning individuals or employees.
With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many employers recognized the impact employee wellbeing has on performance, and thus on business results. Employees were distressed and concerned so employers needed to find ways to meet their employees' growing need for empathy. According to a CIPD 2020 survey report on Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace, there has been a 37% increase in stress-related absence at work (absenteeism) since last year, and 89 per cent of employees have worked while feeling ill (presenteeism). Furthermore, a McKinsey source revealed that workplace stress costs employers in the United States nearly $200 billion in healthcare costs each year.
In other words, the term "employee wellbeing" has evolved from a traditional perspective to include the provision of medical care to employees. Employers are now aware of the many factors that contribute to employee well-being and are working to make their employees happier and healthier.
1. Increased Employee Participation and Productivity – The increased participation that team members will demonstrate is a win-win situation for everyone. Employees who are contented are 12 per cent more likely to be productive. Furthermore, employees who handle stress well are less likely to burn out. Overall, when employee wellbeing is improved, employees are more focused on their work, and productivity rises.
2. A better reputation - People are more interested in working for companies that prioritise the well-being of their employees. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to recommend your company to their peers, lowering your recruitment costs and ensuring an engaged workforce. 70% of global leaders invest in well-being programmes because they have a positive impact on their workplace culture.
3. Reduced absenteeism - Companies began to recognize that preventing issues related to poor employee wellbeing in the workplace such as burnout, stress, or illness was more profitable than reacting to all of these issues after they occurred. Particularly, the employees' deskbound lifestyle increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases. Furthermore, employees who stated that they are frequently or always burnt out at work are 63 per cent more likely to take sick days. It shows that employee happiness is directly related to absenteeism and its cost to employers.
4. Employee morale has improved - Employees feel more competent and valued when their physical, mental, and financial needs are met on all levels. During the COVID-19 crisis, we have encountered how critical it is to maintain employee morale. Employee morale can be significantly improved by implementing employee wellbeing initiatives in the workplace such as mental health workshops or a fitness competition among departments or teams.
For a long time, organizations have prioritized employee wellbeing in the workplace in order to boost productivity. Well-being has now risen to the top of the priority list. The reason for this is that today's uncertainty and constant change are causing chaos at all levels of the organization. As a result, the staff's well-being suffers greatly. They may be dealing with multiple stressors, such as money, the fear of losing their job, difficulties working from home, and safety and family concerns. HR leaders can put certain strategies in place in this context.
1. Create a communication culture - Clear and frequent communication should be at the forefront of any organization to keep everyone connected. This is especially important during a crisis. Companies must persuade employees that they care about their well-being. Human resources act as a liaison between management and employees. HR leaders as a steward of well-being must ensure that communications are consistent in order to maintain a positive interaction in which employees feel informed and engaged.
2. Pleasant Working Conditions - Healthy and pleasant working conditions contribute to professional well-being. As a result, it is critical to provide employees with a comfortable, clean, and customized positive workplace environment. Aside from that, flexible working hours or work from home opportunities (if compatible with work activities) can be provided which can boost motivation and reduce work-related stress.
3. Provide healthcare services - Giving your employees access to healthcare is an excellent way to boost workplace morale. Making healthcare available to employees helps to reduce the number of sick days. It also helps them pay for essential services like eye exams and dental check-ups that they might otherwise avoid due to the cost. For instance, provide health cash plans and private health insurance to businesses in order to give employees access to faster treatment and help them pay for essential healthcare.
4. Begin an employee volunteer programme - This wellness programme is an investment in employees as well as the community. Many people do not have the time to volunteer but would like to help their communities. Provide them with the opportunity to do so by launching a volunteer programme in the company. For example, HR leaders could organize a staff volunteering day in which the entire team takes the day off and works on a single large project together.
5. Create mental health resources for your employees - Assisting teams in taking care of their mental health is a great way to improve their overall wellbeing in the workplace while also lowering absenteeism. HR leaders need to make it clear to their employees that the door is always open for them to share whatever is on their minds. However, some people may prefer to speak with a counsellor through an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) rather than discuss their concerns in a professional setting.
In conclusion, the importance of employee wellbeing in the workplace should never be underestimated by HR leaders because it has a direct impact on the workforce's productivity. HR leaders can improve employees' mental health at work and increase staff commitment by creating a workplace where employees are encouraged to take charge of their own health and are given regular opportunities for growth. This is advantageous to both the organization and its employees.