How important is staff wellbeing when it comes to your business performance?
If you don’t work to promote and facilitate your employees’ wellbeing it could have a critical effect on your business.
Forward-thinking organisations made the connection between staff wellness and productivity some time ago. And thankfully we’ve now got the data to back this up.
In 2017, The Office for National Statistics reported that mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and serious conditions) resulted in 15 million days lost (11.54% of sickness absences). And that was before a global pandemic with remote-working, furlough, economic uncertainty, and juggling the kids’ homeschooling!
The mental health charity Mind tells us that:
A culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers.
And you can’t argue with their stats; 14% of employees agreed that they had resigned and 42% had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
Sadly, Mind also reports that 30% of staff felt that they couldn’t talk openly with their line manager if they were feeling stressed.
So, in the current climate how do you make sure that your staff and your business stay as healthy as possible?
Insight from some of the world’s biggest companies
Global outfit Unilever is trialling a four-day work week at its New Zealand headquarters making it one of the biggest companies to consider reducing the hours its employees work, after a number of smaller firms found it helped productivity and employees’ wellbeing. Twitter last year said it would allow employees to work from home “forever”. And Morgan Stanley has predicted 30% of US workers would work from home after the pandemic, double pre-Covid estimates.
Whilst you might not have the level of resources that these huge international companies do, their confidence in prioritising staff wellness can inspire some small but significant changes in your business.
Team bonding over Zoom?
It used to be ‘pizza in the office’ on a Friday. But now what? How do you bond as a team when you’re restricted to video calls? Those casual ‘water cooler conversations’ that used to happen naturally as part of everyday working life have gone – so it’s important to create space for non-work-related conversations that give a team the chance to connect at a personal level.
Creating a virtual office where co-workers are invited to work ‘together’ (albeit remotely) can help people feel motivated and supported. If you have a larger workforce, a virtual break room could be a good solution. This would be somewhere that your team members can log in and join over their lunch or tea break, letting them catch up as they would in the office.
Walk your talk
There’s no point telling your staff to look after themselves if you’re firing off emails at 12am, showing up stressed and anxious, repeatedly working through lunch, and sending work requests over the weekend when your team is supposed to be ‘off duty’. The best (and most effective) leaders lead by example. Are you prioritising your own health and wellness?
Follow through with support
There are a number of ways to build health and wellbeing into the culture of your workplace; having a dedicated member of staff responsible for wellbeing is a great first step. Making a commitment to monitor staff wellbeing through one-to-one catch-ups, internal communication, and even anonymous feedback can make a huge difference too. The most important part of this process is to act on your findings. Be prepared to tweak and adapt your working practices based on your results.
Get in touch if you need some help
Running a business and a team is challenging at the best of times, so if you’re experiencing setbacks at the moment it would be understandable. If you need help with any aspect of getting the best out of your team, I’ll be happy to help you find a solution. If I can’t help directly, chances are I know just the right person…
Contact me today.