There has been a decline in employee’s well-being since the outbreak of COVID 19. The impact has been more prominent in employees’ mental health married with increased workloads and not being able to socially connect with colleagues, friends, and family.
Organisations are therefore faced with challenges of adapting and looking at ways to support employee’s health and wellbeing if they are to reap the benefits of productivity.
Organisations need to change the way they work, and a good start would be talking to their employees and finding out each individual needs. This is how organisations can understand their employees.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for human resource and people development informs that “communicating regularly on wellbeing and mental health wherever possible, supported by activities that encourage physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing will help improve employee’s wellbeing and happiness.”
The body informs that engaging and listening to employees will highlight difficulties they are facing. For example, an employee working on a shift basis in a hotel may not have the same issues of concern as an employee who is a parent with children who may be working as a nurse or teacher. One member of staff could be suffering from physical health while another could be wrestling with mental health.
There are ways organisations can adapt to get to know their employees with suggestions including carrying out anonymous internal wellbeing surveys. This could inform employee’s wellbeing. Some employees may be more open to share vital information on their mental health in an anonymous survey than in a one-to-one approach with a senior colleague or manager.
Acting when employees raise up worrisome issues. For instance, since the outbreak of the pandemic, most organisations have resorted to asking staff to work from home. An employee may have suffered bereavement, or it could be that they never had a chance to pay their respects or attend a funnel due to restrictions faced in previous months, some employees may be facing major concerns about redundancies while some may be simply battling with financial concerns.
If employers are not reaching out to employees to talk through solutions, this can lead to stress, defined by the mental health foundation as “The feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” Stress is a significant cause of illness which may lead to poor mental health. Causes may include bereavement, losing a job, to unexpected financial worries.
However, employees who may be affected mainly due to work-related stress may be unwilling to talk about their feelings with others. Majority of employees may need counselling to come to terms with their loss.
Undertaking measures to rectify a problem demonstrates to employees that their requests are fulfilled which motivates them to be more committed to their roles, a key to promoting productivity. Having senior leaders who lead by example following through what the organisation policy on wellbeing indicates can be a motivational booster to employees.
Employees mirror what they see. Having leaders who promote healthy behaviours will impact employees to behave similarly. A leader who lives a healthy lifestyle encourages their employees to do the same.
Starting with baby steps can make a big difference. You may find that offering team building activities such as playing sports together once a month to offering free bereavement counselling or bereavement leave to employees who have lost a close relative will make a big difference to their well-being.
Organisations need to rethink their values if they are to promote employee’s health and wellbeing. Having values that enhance behaviours that promote social, mental, and physical wellbeing is crucial.
Employees will be accustomed to organisation’s values and will therefore embrace them. To foresee success, employee’s health, and wellbeing should therefore be prioritized and must be part of organisation culture if organisations want to promote productivity.