Covid-19 urged a prompt and sudden change in the way we live and work and the pandemic crisis has magnified the importance of employee wellbeing.
While well-being was being considered as a corporate responsibility and a strategy to drive employee productivity, engagement, and retention since 2018, Global Human Capital Trends Report by Deloitte underlined a noticeable gap between what employees valued and what companies are offering.
As organizations play a fundamental role in promoting employee wellbeing, companies must adopt a more holistic approach to it.
Today more than ever, it is clear how work and life influence each other. As most people spend one-third or even more of their waking time at work, work and life are not anymore two separate entities: people bring their work at home and their home experience to work. It is in employee’s and organisation’s best interest for people to flourish in all aspects of life.
Employee wellbeing has thus moved beyond physical wellbeing to include other five dimensions: career, emotional, financial, social and purpose-driven wellbeing.
Career wellbeing: it refers to a condition when the individual feels satisfied about the work, engaged and productive.
Occupational wellbeing took a hit in recent months as shown by the rising number of workers unhappy about their jobs, planning to look for a new job once the pandemic is over or even leaving their jobs as they re-evaluate their career goals. Statistics are alarming: only 20% of employees strongly agree that they like what they do every day. Those who disagree report substantially higher daily boredom and lower engagement than those who strongly agree.
Different elements play a major role in such a low occupational wellbeing such as: burnout, bad leadership from managers, lack of clarity over an individual’s role and absence of career development.
Physical wellbeing: it refers to a condition where the individual is healthy. Unhealthy lifestyle choices are creating a public health crisis, with an impact on individual’s wellbeing together with a high price for companies in terms of healthcare expenses and working days lost to sickness.
Physical wellbeing is about managing individuals’ health to promote daily energy and resilience and reduce risks of developing chronic illnesses.
Physical wellness though embraces many aspects including exercise, sleep, food choices and overall lifestyle. Companies should encourage healthy daily habits such as exercise to improve mood, immunity and learning, sleep hygiene to decrease stress, enhance memory and problem-solving, and a healthy diet to promote cognitive functions and sustain vitality.
Financial wellbeing: it refers to a condition where the individual is able to meet current and future obligations and feels secure about the financial situation.
Finances are the top cause of employee stress, even above job, health, and relationship stress combined, according to the PwC 2021 Employee Financial Well-being Survey.
Struggling with financial wellbeing is the single strongest predictor of daily worry and stress for people with jobs who report that their finances have been a distraction at work. Offering employees financial advice supports their health, boosts their engagement and promotes retention.
Social wellbeing: it refers to a condition where a person benefits from deep, meaningful relationships. Having significant friendships in both personal and working life is one of the main predictors of long-term happiness.
“They can be a buffer during stressful situations. Downstream, they also impact the bottom line of an organization in terms of absenteeism, presenteeism, quality of work, and organizational loyalty,” says Jen Fisher, co-author of Work Better Together. Employees with a best friend at work are much more productive, have a better performance at work and show a higher level of engagement, proving the importance of social wellbeing for thriving employees. Building strong connections in the workplace can also lessen feelings of loneliness, more prevalent during the pandemic.
Emotional and mental wellbeing: it refers to the ability of an individual to effectively cope with life events and challenges.
The pandemic has caused enormous strain on the mental health of people across the globe. There have been spikes in anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health issues: the world is facing a long-simmering crisis with mental health.
Mental health issues limit an individual’s ability to function daily and employee’s ability to work, their engagement and job performance. According to the WHO, two of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, cost the global economy $1 trillion each year.
With mental health conditions increasing, supporting employee mental wellbeing must become a priority for companies given the profound impact on both worker and organizational performance.
Purpose driven wellbeing: it refers to the ability to experience meaning and purpose in life. Purpose is what makes life important and feeling connected to a mission is a requirement for resilience during challenging times.
Employees want a meaning in what they do every day: they go to work not just because of a paycheck but because their work matters.
More than nine in 10 people say they have a mission in life but only 1 out of 3 employees worldwide strongly agree that the purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important. Employees increasingly want to work for a company whose values align with their own. This holds especially true for Millennials and Generation Z who are increasingly demanding purpose-driven work.
Wellbeing is not anymore a “nice addition” to the employee experience but is a must have for Companies who want to promote a thriving company culture and attract talents. It is about time leaders and organization view wellbeing not just as an employee benefit but as a chance to sustain employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives.