Why should employee wellbeing matter?

May 2022

Jemma McClean

Senior Operations Coordinator and Mental Health First Aider

Employee wellbeing has become an important part of a healthy working environment. The Coronavirus pandemic particularly highlighted the importance of good wellbeing, prompting 84% of employers to become more attentive to employee mental health1.

Now days 80% of employees identify wellbeing policies as essential when job hunting, and so it is clear businesses should make their employee’s wellbeing a priority. Not only does this increase attraction to a company and productivity within the workplace, employee wellbeing results in increased employee retention. One study found a direct link between poor mental health and staff turnover. It turns out this costs UK businesses up to £45 billion a year.

 

Employee wellbeing and flexible working

 

Research has indicated that approximately a third of employees feel flexible working would improve their mental health, and 41% claim flexibility promotes work-life balance.

Many businesses have adopted hybrid working since the pandemic, Allen Lane included. This has been received extremely well, with us all being able to enjoy the benefits of home working 3 days or so a week.

Working from home is not the only option to consider, flexible work can also include:

  • Part-time
  • Term-time (allowing for paid or unpaid leave during school holidays)
  • Job-share (shared responsibility of a role between two or more individuals)
  • Zero-hour contracts (meaning to work only when required and paid as such)
  • Annual hours (allowing variation of working days and weeks over the year)

 

Strategic approaches to employee wellbeing

 

NICE recommend organisations take a strategic approach to employee wellbeing, focusing on reducing the stigma around mental health, improving company culture, and being mindful of employee workload and job quality. This suggests senior management must ensure job roles are designed with autonomy and meaningful work in mind, whilst championing wellbeing.

At Allen Lane, all staff have been offered mental health first aid training. This has encouraged the discussion around mental health and reducing the stigma.

Job autonomy shows positive associations with psychological wellbeing, performance, job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Furthermore, approximately 50% of employees would prefer more job control to a 20% pay-rise.

To embed good wellbeing throughout company culture, management should be sufficiently trained to incorporate wellbeing awareness into performance reviews. This one-to-one time creates an opportunity to check-in with staff in a safe, confidential space and identify how employee wellbeing can be contributing to performance.

 

Employers must now consider, can they implement flexibility, autonomy and wellbeing initiatives throughout the workplace?

 

Not only will this improve individual employee wellbeing but will win them competitive advantage in an ever tightening labour market.

 

Further references

  1. CIPD (2021) Health and wellbeing at work survey 2021. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
  2. Clausen, T. et al. (2021) Job autonomy and psychological well-being: A linear or a non-linear association?. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, pp.1-11.
  3. Sethi, B. et al. (2019) Secure your future people experience: Five imperatives for action.
  4. CIPD (2019) Megatrends: Flexible working.

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