Updated April 2022
Employee wellness impacts job performance. This may seem obvious, however there are areas companies need to focus on to improve well-being. Many companies are saying their HR departments have become almost like mental health counselors, doing their best to help when employees have anxiety or depression as well as being burnt out or stressed. And the stress on employees has only continued to rise. Company culture in the modern age is known to have a big impact on employee well-being, and it goes beyond having a WELL Building Certification.
61% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, this was partially due to student loans, which are set to resume this May. The break was a blessing for some but may have created a false sense of security for many. Despite the rising pay rates, Americans are still struggling to keep up.
When workers enter the market armed with a shiny new college degree, they’re starting out with a burden of tens of thousands of dollars to repay. Some companies such as Fidelity, Google, and Hulu, according to Forbes, are helping their employees to pay back student loan debt.
And while finances are one of the largest stressors currently facing many employees. There are things that they are looking for that far exceed the paycheck. According to Harvard Business Review, while some companies can continue to compete in the ever-rising compensation department, others are opting to shorten the workweek or require fewer hours worked each day. Look for the rise of the 32 hour work week as companies continue to compete for knowledge workers. This increase in leisure can have a large impact on employee wellness and help fight burnout.
Emotional Health and Employee Wellness
Given the number of hours employees currently spend in the office, it’s more than just a place they go to earn a paycheck. It’s a big portion of their lives, a place for social interaction, where they can and do make friends, sometimes for life. Feeling as though their contributions are valued is a big step in an employee having great job satisfaction, productivity, and a sense of belonging.
Emotional support should be a part of company culture across the board. And not just the responsibility of the workers to find for themselves. Knowing they’re safe and comfortable gives employees more opportunity to be creative and voice out-of-the-box ideas, take risks proposing innovations, admit to mistakes, and take responsibility for finding solutions to problems.
It’s not just about the building people work in or the comfort of their workstation and conference room. Our environment every day has a major impact on our well-being, from the air we breathe to the food we have access to and the exercise we can get. When an employee sees the company they work for caring about the quality of the air they breathe and the lighting in which they work, they know they’re valued.
Yes, having an aesthetically beautiful office can say a lot about your company, but to your employees, it says you want them to work in a place that works for them. It says you care about their comfort. That you have touchdown spaces, where they can work and feel entertained and energized at the same time. Make it clear their emotional health matters to you. That you have biophilic spaces, or a policy allowing employees to bring their pets to the office, or relaxation rooms. It is time to invest in your workers. You’re not simply interested in the bottom line. Productivity, output, and number of hours at their desks. You’re investing in them as people. People who have needs that may not always seem office-friendly. Make it known you care more about them than simply their job title.
Sometimes, that’s all an employee needs, to know they’re valued beyond their work output.
A study by the Harvard Business School found that workers want to know their contributions are valued. And in some cases, more than they want a raise or a promotion. Foster a culture that makes it clear that you care about the burdens your employees face. From paying their bills to caring for their families—including the furry members—and making social connections. Strong cultures create strong engaged teams. And your employees will thank you for it.
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