During the last two years, employers have understandably increased their focus on employee well-being. But the need for this focus isn’t new. Even before the pandemic, companies recognized the increasing stress employees felt in a fast-paced work culture.
Now, as companies settle into the next phase of work — which for many includes a hybrid schedule — HR leaders must retool the office to empower well-being.
Well-being is more than physical or even mental health. HR advisory firm Future Workplace says employee well-being has expanded to focus on “building a culture of holistic wellbeing, including physical, emotional, financial, social, career, community, and purpose.”
The evolution of well-being coincides with employees’ returning to the office with heightened needs and expectations of their organizations. After working more independently for two years — and doing that successfully — they do not want to return to the office to be micromanaged. Flexibility is key, with 93% surveyed saying they want flexible hours and 76% saying they want flexibility in where they work. But that’s not all.
Employees want employers to emphasize mental health and clearly communicate policies and their purposes. The cost of not meeting these needs is high: Employees have shown they will quit if companies don’t meet those requirements.
Understandably, employees benefit from a work environment that supports wellness, but companies benefit as well. Proven correlations between well-being, engagement, productivity, retention, and safety ultimately benefit companies’ top and bottom lines. Employee well-being is no longer optional; it is an essential strategy that creates a competitive advantage.
HR leaders must find new ways to empower holistic well-being in the workplace to create lasting culture change.