The decade ahead is a daunting prospect for many workers: Lack of job certainty, Brexit, inadequate savings, increasing workload, plus the strain of life in general such as caring for children and/or elderly parents,– so it’s not surprising that many workers suffer from severe stress and mental ill health . The impact of this on the UK economy is huge, with an estimated cost of up to £99 billion in lost annual output.
The ‘overwhelmed’ worker
Back in 2014, Deloitte identified the ‘overwhelmed employee’, the worker who, through no fault of their own, found themselves bombarded with too much information to process and were held in this situation because of their communications technology.
Today the situation, for some at least, feels worse. Mobile technology is now ‘better than ever’ (ie. constantly demanding attention) and pushes working life into what was meant to be home life.
What can an employer do to help?
Thankfully there are pro-active measures every employer can take to support their employees and reassure them that everything is going to be alright.
Well-being programmes have been around for years, but have become more diversified and better equipped to fit any size of business and more inclusive – applicable to both permanent and temporary workers as part of a Total Talent Management strategy.
Such initiatives can also have a positive impact on a company’s finances.
Given the stress and strains mentioned above, well-being initiatives deliver value for businesses in terms of attracting and keeping great talent. Indeed, additional benefits offered by employers can now mean more to candidates than the salary figure.
Such initiatives can also have a positive impact on a company’s finances. Anglian Water for example reported that for every £1 they spent on proactive wellbeing measures, they gained £8 in saved ‘reactive’ costs (due to employee ill health); a return on investment (ROI) of 800%.
Taking the initiative…
According to a survey by ‘Investors in People’, the biggest single cause of work-related stress is workload. However, it may not be possible to reduce this for your workers in the short term. In the meantime, here are some well-being initiatives that could strike a chord for your business:
1. ‘Duvet Days’
Your business may not offer ‘unlimited holidays’ but it can still give employees the chance to take a day off here and there for next to no reason, whether for birthdays, days after birthday celebrations or just for recharging after a busy time at work
Cost: Lost day’s work of individual on full day’s pay.
Benefit: Added loyalty of employee and more effective work on return.
2. Employee Allotments
Multimedia retailer QVC UK created a place where workers could grow their own fruit and veg. Not only did this provide physical and mental health benefits, but also resulted in wider positive impacts as proceeds from the produce went to local charities.
Cost: A patch of land.
Benefit: Physical, mental and spiritual well-being of employees.
3. Financial well-being
Physical fitness is all well and good, but what if your employee is experiencing financial challenges? Offering access to confidential advice means employees can get better value from the money they earn.
Cost: Provision of access to independent and anonymous financial consultant for staff.
Benefit: More focused staff who get more value from their pay.
4. Daily CLANGERS
These simple activities, based on New Economics Foundation ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing‘ will help your workers maintain their mental as well as physical wellbeing:
Connect – Encourage workers to interact with others during their working day, whether digitally or face to face.
Learn – Provide the opportunity to learn and develop new skills or ideas.
Active – Enable them to be active in mind and body, by subsidising gym membership, or participation in other sporting activities.
Notice – Encourage mindfulness – awareness and appreciation of what’s around us – by enabling participation in meditation classes or arranging a picnic or walk in a nice park for example.
Give back – enable employees to appreciate helping others and being compassionate both to their fellow workers and by arranging activities to support local charities).
Eat well – Help them to choose healthy options – by providing fresh fruit in the office etc.
Relax – Encourage them to take some time out, even for a few minutes. It may help energise your workers for the rest of the day.
Cost: Dependent on initiatives to address each area.
Benefit: In this video, Dr Phil Hammond explains how daily ‘CLANGERS’ have the potential to halve demand on health services. For an employer, not only could absenteeism be reduced but employees will be more productive when they’re at work.
Ultimately work is a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to dictate who your workers are. With the right balance you can ensure your workers stay human, and that means your business will always deliver value for everyone.
by Daniel Kieve, Pixid UK & Ireland