When it comes to workforce wellbeing, understanding the concept can be easy. Ensuring employees feel looked after by their employer; and enforcing a culture of openness and honesty across the board. Everyone wants to feel happy when they’re at work – no matter their position in the business. Despite this, stress in the workplace is becoming more and more common. For example, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), 17.9 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20.
The 2020/21 pandemic has only enhanced anxiousness and stress – for good reason. With many people working from home, in some cases, the feeling of connection with work isn’t what it used to be. As a result, and with good intentions, many businesses have tried to take action to remedy these gaps in their workforces with virtual alternatives to increase wellbeing and staff morale.
The problems arise in the execution, however. Many organisations do not fully grasp how to create or execute a plan that will provide a level of education, coaching and health benefits for staff. As a result, mistakes are made, and consequently senior leaders fail to see the needed ROI. Here are five common mistakes made by businesses when it comes to workforce wellbeing:
1) Opting for a service over a program.
The issue with this is one-off events versus a consistent program of activities don’t instil a long-term culture change in the business. Sometimes, ad-hoc events are all a business can manage when it comes to budget and resource. However, we know of a fair few things businesses can implement to make a robust long term plan!
2) Opting for material over experiential.
When it comes to non-virtual options for staff wellbeing, providing beanbags for the meeting rooms won’t cut it. Instead, providing advice on fostering good relationships through easily accessible platforms will last a lot longer than a bean bag.
3) Not committing to consistent, measurable activity and engagement
Again, this mentality comes from implementing one or two initiatives, but not having the resource or capability to nurture them within the workplace. Hitting ‘go’ on a wellbeing initiative, ticking a box internally and leaving people to it is, frankly – a huge waste of time.
4) Encouraging staff to ‘do’ wellbeing but not giving them time in their day to ‘do’ wellbeing
Wellbeing should not be seen as a ‘nice to have’ optional extra in the workplace. In 2021, this fact should be more obvious than ever, however many workplaces have failed to recognise this. Relying on your workforce to connect with their colleagues on their lunch breaks simply won’t work. People won’t want to do this (even if they do, they won’t want to do this regularly) and eventually they’ll resent the inadvertent hypocrisy of it all! Allowing your workforce to keep in touch with their colleagues little and often will have an overall positive impact on your teams (and productivity) as a whole.
5) Focusing on the person in work, not the whole person
Performance reviews that only consider the job spec and fail to consider the person (and their wellbeing) behind it is counterintuitive. Understanding the person’s motives behind their productivity and/or quality of work is important to deciding how to get the best out of them. This isn’t about delving into their personal life to understand if they’re happy in general – many people may feel happy outside of work, but disconnected and isolated during working hours.
The above points are things we’ve seen when businesses have had perfectly good intentions behind wellbeing – but have failed to see them through.