Employee wellbeing has moved up the corporate agenda over the past 5 years and is now 1 of the hottest issues facing UK businesses, according to a report by the the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA) in the UK
CABA is urging practice owners and managers to prioritise employee welfare.
It says the troubling effects of a historic culture that has deemed workplace performance more important than personal well being are becoming increasingly apparent, and it’s clear that businesses need to be developing robust strategies to ensure that people are appropriately supported and empowered to cope with the ensuing pressures.
A survey found that 74% of employees acknowledge that poor well being has a negative impact on their ability to concentrate, and 63% consequently view themselves as less productive, and all those lost minutes can turn into lost hours and end up significantly affecting the business’s financial results.
40% of people have taken time off work that didn’t involve either a physical sickness or a holiday, but was due to high levels of stress or an unmanageable work load.
74% agreed that employees often sacrifice their wellbeing for the sake of making a good impression.
Of the 2,000 employees surveyed, only 19% said they felt invested in the cause of the company they worked for. Yet 77% made positive comments about their work. This indicates that, contrary to popular belief, people don’t necessarily need to feel a strong personal connection to or motivation for the wider goals of the business in order to engage positively with their individual jobs.
“In fact, what the statistics show is that the 3 most significant things influencing people’s feelings of happiness and well being at work were financial rewards 25%, working hours 22% and company culture 15%. People want to feel that their work is valued and, in today’s increasingly commoditised culture, this means putting your money where your mouth is. People want to have a good work-life balance, without the pressure of being expected to do more than they are paid for and have agreed to.”
CABA says poor employee well being can affect every aspect of a business, impacting productivity, innovation, working relationships and even the Profit and Loss accounts. So the responsibility for improving it can’t just sit with one team – every department has a role to play and every member of the senior leadership must be on board. “If genuine support for employee wellbeing doesn’t run through everything your organisation says and does then any efforts will feel
perfunctory, and people will not only fail to benefit but may actually feel further pressure and frustration.”
The report concludes that, as well as a changing view of well being itself, which is increasingly holistic, there’s a shift in people’s expectations of the role their workplace will play in their well being. It used to be sufficient for work to be neutral – employees were satisfied as long as their jobs didn’t negatively affect them. Now people expect more from their workplaces than just being ‘well being neutral’ and want their jobs to have an actively positive impact on their wider well being. And it’s clear that this issue is only going to become more significant as Millenials and those in Generation Z, who’re not prepared to sacrifice their physical or mental health on the altar of work, make up more of the workforce.
Download the report here.