Category All, Best Practices Employee Wellbeing in the Workplace: Importance and Future Predictions Find out why employee wellbeing is crucial for your business success and how to optimize it to improve your employees’ experience. June 1, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Enabling the best employee wellbeing should be a priority for every employer. In this article, we will show you why it is crucial for employers and employees alike to maintain optimal wellbeing levels. Furthermore, you will find out how you can improve your employees’ wellbeing right now and why it will be more important in the future. 👁️🗨️ As you will find out, taking care of employee wellbeing positively affects business results. Therefore, find out in what ways can you make your company more successful by recognizing your employees. What is Employee Wellbeing Employers used to focus on health benefits when talking about employee wellbeing. Nowadays, we know that employee wellbeing is more than just absence of illness among employees. Employee wellbeing is about optimizing the health of all employees. It is not only about physical wellbeing, but other components of wellbeing that cannot be ignored when talking about healthy and well-functioning individuals or employees. In other words, the term of employee wellbeing has expanded from traditional viewpoint and focus on providing medical care to employees. Nowadays, employers are aware of many elements that comprise employee wellbeing and are looking to make their employees happier and healthier. Why Employee Wellbeing Is More Important Than Ever Before With recent COVID-19 outbreak, many employers noticed the impact employee wellbeing has on their performance, and consequently on the business results. Employees were distressed and worried, and employers had to find ways to accommodate the rising needs for empathy towards their employees. More specifically, psychologists have warned that quarantine can spark increase in diseases such as depression or even PTSD. Therefore, many employers started carefully preparing their plans for return to work after COVID-19. However, employee wellbeing was an increasingly popular topic even before COVID-19. Take a look at why employee wellbeing is more important now than ever before. 1. Reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs Companies started realizing that preventing issues related to poor employee wellbeing such as burnout, stress or sickness were more profitable than reacting to all these issues when they already happened. More specifically, the employees’ sedentary lifestyle increases possibilities of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases. Moreover, employees who say they often or always experience burnout at work are 63% more likely to take sick days. That means that employee wellbeing is directly related with absenteeism and its cost for employers. Because of their many benefits, companies started implementing wellness programs. They can vary in scope and focus, but employee wellbeing programs have proved to be cost-effective for employers. 👁️🗨️ For example, Johnson & Johnson estimated that their wellness programs saved them $250 million on healthcare costs over the last decade. The ROI was 2.71$ for every dollar spent on employee wellbeing. 2. Increased employee engagement According to research, 85% of companies say wellness programs support employee engagement. When an employee wellbeing program is implemented, employees feel more connected, their health is elevated, and consequently their happiness is increased. All these factors contribute to higher employee engagement levels. However, employee engagement is influenced by employee recognition and good feedback practices too. Make sure you approach employee engagement holistically when trying to enhance it in your company. 3. Improved employee productivity On one hand, research shows that smokers are twice as likely to take time off work, and workers with obesity take three to six sick days more than those of normal weight annually. On the other hand, employees that handle stress better are less likely to experience burnout. Overall, when employee wellbeing is optimized, employees are more focused on their work and their productivity increases. 4. Improved employee morale During COVID-19 crisis, we have seen how important it is to keep employee morale afloat. By introducing employee wellbeing initiatives such as mental health workshops or a fitness competition among departments or teams, you can significantly improve your employees’ morale. 5. Attractive employer branding 78% of employers offer wellness programs to attract and retain talent. The fight for the best talent on the market is very competitive, and high-quality candidates have several options to choose from when picking their next employer. Providing employee wellbeing benefits that are in line with your future workforce is very important if you want to attract the best candidates that will ensure your company’s business success. What Impacts Employee Wellbeing As we have explained, employee wellbeing includes multiple aspects of care for your employees. Therefore, by optimizing your employee wellbeing, you will also positively impact your employees’ experience. Making work more meaningful and work less stressful is a way to create a comfortable working environment in which your employees will thrive. Look at what impacts employee wellbeing. 1. Recognizing your employees’ work When their hard work, dedication and teamwork are appreciated, your employees’ feel more fulfilled and satisfied in their jobs. In addition, employee recognition positively affects productivity and creates a culture of appreciation. Overall, employee recognition has a power to inspire your employees and make them realize what a crucial part of your company they are. 👁️🗨️ Find out how to recognize your employees with our Recognition and Rewards Platform JobPts. 2. Facilitating seamless communication After COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing more disruption in work than ever. Remote work is here to stay, albeit in less invasive form than during the most critical pandemic period. In many companies, employee wellbeing was endangered during crisis but was mitigated by proper and timely communication. Therefore, allow your internal communication to run smoothly and ensure your employees read the content that they are meant to. Furthermore, remote work employees’ biggest struggle is lack of communication and collaboration. By facilitating seamless communication between your employees, you can alleviate one of the main sources of work-related stress. 3. Enabling easy collaboration Collaborating on projects in large teams can be a source of stress for many employees. It can get frustrating and become tiresome if employees cannot track each other’s work or assess their contribution to a larger project scheme. Teamwork can be stressful – but it is inevitable part of work process. By enabling easy collaboration, you can optimize your employees’ wellbeing and decrease their stress levels. 👁️🗨️ See how you can ensure your employees collaborate efficiently with BoardFlo. 4. Listening to your employees Your employees want to be listened to! When your employees have grievances that are not addressed, they start feeling like their opinion does not matter. Moreover, listening to your employees and acting upon their recommendations can make them feel like a valued member of your community. It makes your employees’ work more meaningful and therefore increases employee wellbeing. That is why performing regular employee pulse checks is important. Take a look at sample of survey questions every employee should be asked. 5. Giving regular and timely feedback Receiving regular feedback makes 68% of employees more satisfied with their jobs. When you give feedback to your employees continuously, they feel like their growth matters. In addition, your employees can find out how to work better, which allows them to advance their skills and continue learning. The feeling of satisfaction and happiness in a career is crucial for employee wellbeing. 👁️🗨️ Learn how to give feedback to your employees. 6. Showing empathy There is no specific instructions on how to show empathy in the workplace – but there is an overwhelming need to make workplaces more human. The shift to workplaces that put their employees first and create communities instead of employees and customers has already started. Showing empathy and having compassion for your employees’ issues will create an emotional bond between you and your employees, humanize your workplace and make it a better place for everybody to work at. What Companies Can Do to Improve Their Employees’ Wellbeing There is a lot of strategies a company can implement to improve their employees’ wellbeing. What matters the most is being aware of all the benefits of employee wellbeing in the first place and designing employee wellbeing programs to address certain issues you want to improve upon in your company. Take a look at our ideas for improving your employees’ wellbeing. 1. Health screening Providing health screening once per year is a great way for your employees to address some health issues they might have. Also, it significantly increases chances of preventing diseases as they might be caught at an early stage. Besides, having multiple check-ups in a short time period will probably heighten the chances of your employees going to a doctor’s office and taking care of their health. 2. Health insurance Health insurance is a benefit that you should be providing to your employees. What matters most is offering multiple insurances to your employees so they can pick out the one that matches their specific needs the most. 3. Gym membership Gym membership is a great employee wellbeing benefit that will make you an attractive employer, but that will also help your employees stay in shape. Going to gym can help your employees reduce stress as well, and it is a great way to keep your employees healthy. 4. Employee wellbeing solution Introducing health initiatives like a company-wide competition in running or cycling is not only a great way to get your employees physically active, but also to develop their competitiveness and team spirit. Therefore, look at what modules we have built in in our employee wellbeing solution Healthain and find out how you can reap the benefits of providing high-quality employee wellbeing to your employees. 5. Providing healthy meals Many employees’ poor health stems from their diet. Since preparing meals takes a lot of time, many employees opt for fast food for lunch. If you start providing healthier meals in your cafeteria or negotiate discounts for restaurants with healthy food options, you will help your employees stay healthy and more focused in the workplace. 6. Mental wellbeing apps There are several mindfulness and meditation apps you can look into and propose for your employees to use if you detect they could use it. Help your employees discover such apps and let them know how beneficial meditation and mindfulness can be in their daily lives and coping with stress. 7. Psychological counseling services By offering psychological counseling services, you will also send a message to your employees that their mental health is your concern, too. The stigma of asking for psychological help will be reduced, and your employees will have access to mental health experts that can help them deal with their issues. 8. Flexible work options When you offer flexible working hours or remote work options, you are increasing work-life balance for your employees. According to research, only 8% of employees believe work-life balance is less important than compensation. Besides, knowing that remote work is increasingly popular, this is one of the easiest and most desired employee wellbeing benefits your company could offer. 9. Financial benefits Many employees are nowadays asking for life insurance, pension or student loan repayment options. Helping your employees make wise financial decisions for their future can help you become a more attractive employer, too. 10. Employee wellbeing initiatives according to your employees Every company is different – so maybe you can start by surveying your employees about employee wellbeing initiatives they would find most useful. Also, you can inspect your employees’ state of mind when it comes to sources of stress in the workplace. 👁️🗨️ Take a look at these sample survey questions that can help you determine what kind of support you can give your employees during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. The Future of Employee Wellbeing Employee wellbeing is important more than ever because companies finally realized the power it has to transform their employees’ lives, reduce costs related to absenteeism and healthcare, and create a healthy company culture. The COVID-19 outbreak has surely put more emphasis on mental wellbeing than ever before, which will lead to more understanding and empathy in the period to come. Employers have been focusing less on particular health conditions and more on benefits such as fitness activities and standing desks. After all, preventing development of diseases is much cheaper than curing them, and it benefits the employees as well. In the future, we will see more diversified employee wellbeing benefits. The costs of employee disengagement, absenteeism and healthcare are too high to be ignored. Therefore, employers will gradually realize the potential in employee wellbeing and start taking care of their employees’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing. How to Evaluate Your Employees’ Wellbeing In order to optimize your employees’ wellbeing, you need to know what you are starting with. Moreover, you have to track the changes in results as you implement employee wellbeing initiatives. Here is a list of questions we propose you ask your employees if you want to see the state of your employee wellbeing. Feel free to use them in a survey or adapt them according to your company’s standards. If you are looking for a survey solution that will allow you to perform customized employee surveys and have real-time results, check out our Employee Survey Platform SurveyRocks. Do you usually look forward to coming to work? Do you feel like your job provides you with a sense of meaning and purpose? Do you feel like your work is being recognized? Do you feel like you have all the resources necessary to do your job well? Do you feel connected to and respected by your coworkers? How happy are you at work? Are you happy with your work-life balance? How often would you like to receive feedback? Do you feel like you get enough feedback on your work? Why is feedback important to you? Is the stress from work affecting your personal life? Is employee wellness important to you? Do you want our company to support your financial decision making (student loan repayment, pension planning, investments)? Would you be interested in attending wellness programs at work? What employee wellness activity would you be most likely to participate in? What are your eating habits at work? When have you last been on a physical examination? How likely are you to recommend your friends or family to work with us? Would it be helpful if our company provided a healthy snacking option? How do you propose we improve employee wellness in our company? Employee Wellbeing Categories Employee wellbeing can be put into multiple categories. These types of wellbeing can help employers determine various kinds of benefits they offer to employees. By including more different kinds of benefits, they will approach employee wellbeing more holistically and optimize the health of all their employees. Read what kinds of employee wellbeing are there. 1. Financial wellbeing One of the most neglected aspects of employee wellbeing is financial wellbeing. Your employees’ sense of security and their feeling of having enough money to meet their needs affects their wellbeing, therefore their everyday job performance. This was best seen in April 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic, during which 54% of employees were mostly worried about their job security. The possibility of losing financial means severely impacted employee wellbeing, thus affecting overall focus and productivity. Moreover, employees are looking to find adequate pension benefits or student loan repayment benefits when considering a job. That is why employers provide services that help their employees make important financial decisions. 2. Mental wellbeing Nowadays, stress is an overwhelmingly present factor in all our lives. A lot of it can come from the workplace, but even if it does not, it still affects your employees’ performance. According to research, 84% of direct effects on productivity loss and 93% of indirect influences can be attributed to mental and physical health. Mental wellbeing as a part of employee wellbeing takes into consideration stress, burnout or any other feeling of unease in employees. Mental health benefits or a company culture in which mental health is openly discussed can equip your employees with means to take care of their psychological soundness. In turn, employees will take less sick days and overall perform better on the job. 3. Physical wellbeing As a most traditional part of employee wellbeing, physical wellbeing encompasses prevention or curing physical illnesses. For example, many companies offer fitness incentives or gym memberships to its employees in order to promote healthy lifestyle and prevent development of multiple illnesses. Furthermore, taking care of physical wellbeing of employees also means providing benefits that will help employees control their ongoing chronic diseases. That is why 31% of organizations offered onsite health screening programs in 2019. 👁️🗨️ Many companies have started promoting physical wellbeing with solutions that help their employees team up to build a healthy wellbeing culture. See how you can start reducing healthcare costs and absenteeism with our employee wellbeing platform Healthain.