By Annabel Benjamin – deskbird
Running a successful organization is so much more than simply generating profit. It requires the development of a culture that inspires those, both internal and external, to the organization. Your team is what creates this environment. Therefore, it is key to ensure that they feel trusted, acknowledged and happy.
Why is the wellness of your employees important for the success of your business? How can you improve the wellbeing of your team? What environments breed positive company culture? This article will explore all of these topics in-depth and give you tangible advice on how to improve employee wellbeing!
Many of us often forget that intangible manifestations of success, such as a happy, highly-connected team, are just as important as tangible ones. Prioritizing employee wellbeing is crucial for any organization in that it is responsible for how the company performs overall.
Employees that are well taken care of and feel appreciated are more motivated to work harder. Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, found that workers are 13% more productive when they are happy. This means that investing time and money into employee well-being will actually produce a return on investment, a conclusion that is supported by causal evidence.
Absenteeism, or the tendency for employees to not be present at work, is often a response to feeling undervalued or unhappy at the company. Employees that feel supported in their wellbeing, such as being given time off work and lifestyle benefits, are more likely to come to work and even better work.
Happy employees inspire others. Haven’t you ever heard the saying that happiness is contagious? Well, this reigns true in the workplace as it does in any other aspect of life. An office filled with happy people will breed even more happy, motivated employees! A positive office environment will not only keep people at the organization but it will also increase interest from prospective employees.
Company culture has become an important criterion for those applying to jobs. A recent survey from Glassdoor found that 77% of people would consider a company’s culture before looking for a job there. So, if you want to build a team that is the “cream of the crop” , creating an atmosphere that makes newcomers and prospective employees feel welcome and taken care of will provide a massive advantage.
In the world of hybrid work, the word ‘flexibility’ is often thrown around. But, what do we really mean by providing flexibility?
The answer is two fold. It can mean allowing your team to work from where they want but also when they want. While there are levels of flexibility that will differ greatly based on the needs of each organization and each team within that organization, the basic principle is there: more autonomy leads to greater wellbeing.
A flexible timetable is also referred to as ‘flexitime,’ allows individuals to determine their weekly schedules. Again, this may be bound by company-wide rules or team expectations but it still provides each person a level of freedom to decide when to work. Flexitime helps improve wellbeing by reducing unnecessary stressors, such as a hectic commute or childcare responsibilities. A busy mother, for example, can choose to start work at 10am rather than 9am so that she can drop her children off before heading to the office. Or, an employee with a hectic commute can work different hours to avoid hitting traffic to and from work.
Hybrid work at its core is flexible because it allows employees to work from home or from the office. First let’s differentiate between a “fixed hybrid” model and a “flexible hybrid”model. The former is when certain employees are always at home while others are always (or mostly) in the office. The latter model is when each employee can choose whether to be at home or in the office daily. In other words, their schedule constantly changes based on their needs.
Giving employees the choice to work from their desired location improves well being because it allows them to choose the best environment to produce work. For some, being at home brings a sense of comfort while for others, being in the office is necessary for focus.
Both types of flexibility, location and schedule, improve work-life balance by aligning personal schedules with work schedules without creating undue stress or pressure.
A people-centric culture is what drives well being in an organization. Having your team and their needs at the center of decision making makes them feel valued and creates an overall culture of support. Not only will this improve mental wellbeing but it will also provide a supporting and open environment for those who need it. So, how can an organization create a people-centric culture?
One of the greatest benefits a company can offer is support for physical and mental wellbeing. While this can come in the form of weekly check-ins and team building activities it can also include providing a budget for mental health needs. Some companies provide a stipend for individuals to better their mental health however they see fit, whether that is yoga or a massage.
Physical wellbeing sometimes gets forgotten when we are sitting behind a desk all day but burnout can have a direct impact on how your employees are physically feeling. Overworking can lead to disruption of sleep patterns and harmful eating habits, for example. Therefore, it is important to give your team enough brakes so they do not burn out.
Another key element of an employee-centric culture is allowing employees to be part of the decision-making processes. While this might only be feasible on a team-level, structural changes or even little changes that will directly affect individual members of the team should be communicated. This not only shows trust but it also provides a sense of agency that is key for overall job satisfaction and wellbeing.
It is essential to understand employee expectations, whether that is how much support they need from superiors or how much time they need off. Many of these expectations can be easily fulfilled if they are noted and understood. Some small, simple changes can have a great impact on how individuals in your organization feel. Therefore, collecting feedback, in the form of surveys or check-in conversations, will give management greater clarity about each person’s needs.
Research from the Canadian Mental Health Association states that “social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems.” This is why the hybrid model is important for improving employee wellbeing. Hybrid provides the opportunity for people to meet in person. And as research shows, we need this for our mental health.
There are a number of ways to improve workplace connection in a hybrid office, where some employees work from home. The key is to create a company culture that transcends being in the office physically. For example, create team rituals that are inclusive of all employees no matter where they are working from. This will help bond the team and create greater cohesion amongst the members. Or, company-wide in-person events can be planned quarterly to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to meet. These events can even happen more regularly if most employees live in the same city or area.
All of the advice we just summarized can be supplemented with digital tools. For example, by implementing a hybrid scheduling system, employees are given both flexibility and autonomy over their schedules. A desk booking software, like deskbird, will allow them to book when they are coming into the office and where they want to sit. This will help breed workplace connection, as colleagues can choose to work together on the same ddeskbirdays and be near each other. Additionally, communication tools and tools built specifically for virtual networking and events, like Weve, are perfect to raise team spirit.
Employee wellbeing can be improved in many different ways, from ensuring flexibility to creating a culture that is inclusive and connected. Most of these changes are simple but will have a massive impact not only on how individuals feel about the organization and their work but also on the actual tangible success of the company as a whole.