Is hybrid working beneficial for employee wellbeing?
October 9 2023Read more
Our happiness at work matters. It defines our sense of purpose, our well-being, and our physical and mental health. The average person will spend roughly 90,000 hours at work – more than 10 years over the course of their lifetime. Yet we all know people – our friends, and family members, who spend year after year stuck in a job that they despise or think they’ll never leave.
More than 15% of people in the UK and Ireland are battling signs of a mental health disorder at work and to further compound the growing social stigma, 58% of employees say they are uncomfortable discussing mental health at work. In short, employers need to do more to strengthen their support structures and look to establish Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) that people can turn to in times of struggle.
We believe that happiness at work should be on the list of top priorities of all organisations. Companies are increasingly recognising the importance of employee happiness and mental health in achieving business goals and employee productivity. Happy team members tend to be more motivated, productive, and likely to stay longer in an organisation.
The International Week of Happiness at Work, which is celebrated during the last week of September, is an opportunity to bring some of these issues into the spotlight. Creating the conditions for fulfilment, happiness, and effectiveness isn’t guesswork. There is plenty of evidence linking healthy workspaces to increased innovation and creativity, along with a reduction in absences and business costs.
Great leaders demonstrate they care and are receptive to employee needs. After all, it was Richard Branson who said, “As a leader of people, you have to be a great listener.” Studies show when employees feel their managers have a sense of empathy, they report better mental health and wellbeing. It’s hardly surprising that organisations that promote responsive and attentive leaders, particularly on issues around mental health, enjoy higher rates of happiness.
People’s work lives are enriched when they feel they are making a difference in the world. Letting employees know they matter, regardless of the work they do, will naturally create the conditions for a positive workspace. Appreciation doesn't always require extravagant gestures. Send a handwritten note of appreciation, write a quick email, or make a call of encouragement. Even little gestures can make a big impression.
Positive relationships are one of the most important elements of happiness – in and outside of work. Promoting a team atmosphere whereby employees acquire motivation from the feeling of helping their fellow colleagues will pave the way for positive reinforcement. Connect people through social or team-building events and through tasks where employees must work together to solve problems or launch new projects.
In response to an intensifying mental health crisis, many employers are increasing their investments in employee mental health services through Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) - initiatives offered through work that help employees resolve personal or work-related problems.
EAPs provide access to professional counselling services and health assessments, creating a safety blanket for employees struggling with their mental health. Research shows that organisations with an EAP in place can reduce absences by up to 45% and show a 53% improvement in feelings of anxiety in the workplace.
Another way to create happiness at work is to allow employees greater flexibility and control over their working lives. Hybrid working has been heralded as the best way to instil a healthy work-life balance – creating the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, replacing long commuting hours with more fulfilling activities, yet still retaining those important connections with work colleagues in the office and attending meetings.
Allow employees more freedom and control over their hybrid arrangements and reap the rewards of a happier and healthier team.
Happiness is good for people and that’s an important starting point. It is also undoubtedly good for business, and you can create the conditions for happiness to drive your organisation forward and help ensure success.
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