The past few years have brought employee wellbeing to the forefront of discussions around work. Research shows 41% of people noticed a decline in mental health during the pandemic, and 48% of workplace absences were for mental health reasons.
Unsurprisingly, searches for ’employee wellbeing’ reached unprecedented volumes following the pandemic, increasing 133% from 2017 to 2022. Being forced to stay at home allowed us to reassess the significance of wellbeing at work and how to improve it. Deloitte’s report shows that 52% said they felt their wellbeing wasn’t supported by their employers during the pandemic, so now is the perfect time to focus on how we can make a real difference to employee wellbeing.
Before exploring how employers can promote workplace wellbeing, it’s helpful to clarify what we mean by employee wellbeing and why everyone should care about improving it.
What is employee wellbeing?
The term ‘employee wellbeing’ refers to employee happiness and satisfaction in working life.
Traditionally, employee wellbeing was primarily focused on employees’ physical health, but nowadays mental health is just as important when discussing wellbeing.
Important issues which fall under the remit of employee wellbeing include:
• Work-life balance
• Stress levels at work
• Dealing with physical health problems at work
• Financial wellbeing
• Mental health difficulties and their effect on work and productivity
Why is employee wellbeing important?
Employee wellbeing is important for a variety of reasons, none more than so than the fact that being part of a happy team makes for an energising and engaged working life. Given how much time people spend at work, making sure that time is spent in a supportive, empowering community makes a massive difference across all areas of life.
Companies that focus on improving employee wellbeing see higher levels of staff retention. As well as this, better wellbeing usually comes from communicative teams who look out for each other at work, whether that’s in terms of managing stress and workload or just checking up on colleagues and creating a friendly working environment.
These factors help create healthier, happier businesses as well as employees. Mind report that every £1 invested in employee wellbeing delivers an average return of £5 back, meaning a focus on boosting workplace happiness is a win-win for everyone.
How does wellbeing affect productivity at work?
More than one in five employees’ productivity is impacted by mental health difficulties. A recent study found that the issues most directly affecting productivity at work are:
|Issue||% reporting an impact on productivity due to this issue|
Deloitte’s report estimates that the cost of mental health related absences was at least £53 billion during the pandemic. The industries most heavily affected were:
|Industry||Cost per year per employee|
|Finance, insurance and real estate||£3,710|
|Professional services (accountancy, advertising, consultancy)||£2,646|
|Information and communication||£2,251|
|Public administration, defence, social security||£2,148|
How to improve employee wellbeing
Even though employee wellbeing is essential for companies to get right, 52% of employees reported feeling unsupported by their employers during the pandemic. This makes it unsurprising that 3 in 5 have never sought mental health support at work (for men, this is even higher, at 5 in 6).
Here are four things every company can do to improve employee health and wellbeing today.
Start honest conversations
One of the best ways to begin addressing employee wellbeing is by starting open conversations about the causes of stress and fatigue at work. Encouraging your team to express difficulties they’re having and seek help when it’s needed is a crucial first step in improving the wellbeing of your whole business.
Whether it’s workload, financial stress, or factors beyond work causing problems in employees’ wellbeing, providing a space where people can talk honestly and freely about their wellbeing will help foster an environment of compassion where employees can voice their concerns rather than bottling them up.
The majority of issues that damage employee wellbeing are made worse by workplace cultures that ignore the importance of self-care both inside and outside work.
Emphasising to employees that you care about their mental and physical health and that it’s ok for them to take the necessary steps to create healthier working habits will help create a positive culture amongst your team.
Show appreciation for success
Stress, fatigue and a lack of motivation are often made worse by the feeling that someone’s work is ignored or underappreciated. By taking time every week to recognise the achievements of employees, you create a culture which affirms and celebrates good work, which in turn motivates a stronger will to be productive.
Allow flexible working
Allowing employees to balance their home life with work by letting them to choose when to work at home and when to commute is a great way to boost the wellbeing of your team.
Hybrid work allows employees to find the blend between office work and home work that suits the rest of their lives whilst still giving them a chance to interact and collaborate with co-workers face to face, creating a greater sense of team involvement.
Find an inspiring workspace today
An essential step towards better workplace wellbeing is finding the perfect workspace for your team. By choosing a space which provides opportunities for collaboration, socialising and networking with others, you give your team an environment where their wellbeing can grow.
At Work.Life, we believe that wellbeing and a supportive community go hand-in-hand with a fulfilling working life. To find out more about coworking spaces that provide the right environment for your team’s growth, visit our listings and book a tour of one of our flexible workspaces!