The COVID-19 pandemic still looms large, with the appearance of new variants always a possibility, threatening to disrupt business activity and affect employee wellbeing. This is an unprecedented time to live in, so, understandably, employee burnout levels have experienced a sharp rise, and general wellbeing is constantly at risk.
This poses a challenging question for the enterprise: how can you balance the need for productivity with measures that protect and enhance employee well-being?
Like with many issues, the answer is to find a delicate balance between the two. You have to be flexible enough to adapt to employee wellbeing issues that arise but also be able to maintain productivity systems that provide results that move your business in the right direction.
Before we try to find some answers, there’s a fundamental question we need to answer.
What is Employee Wellbeing?
How can you possibly hope to improve employee well-being without genuinely understanding it?
While it’s easy to think of wellbeing as the need for rest and recovery, the term encapsulates more than this. Precisely, employee wellbeing can compose some or all of the following elements:
- Mental health
- Job control
- Social support
- Fair compensation
- Workplace safety
If you look at wellbeing as a checklist of these issues, then you’re on the right track to providing your employees with a work environment in which they can thrive. While you can’t, of course, do anything to address issues employees bring with them from home, you can tackle the problems they face in the workplace. Both personal and professional factors can influence each element.
Practical Solutions to Employee Wellbeing Issues
If you want to face employee wellbeing issues head-on, then there are several things you can do to tackle the key contributors.
Creating a Fair Work Environment
If you want your employees to feel valued, which is one of the most important contributing factors for a positive sense of well-being, you need to compensate them for their efforts fairly.
Before you jump to conclusions, we aren’t suggesting that a raise is the only solution to employee well-being issues. A raise in salary might not help at all, given that happiness isn’t directly correlated to financial gains.
However, if your closest competitors offer more competitive salaries for similar positions than your employees are in, there may be an overwhelming sense of injustice among your workforce. Raising wages can address the perceived injustice and promote a fair work environment in such an instance.
Chances are, though, the problem isn’t unfair compensation but a lack of financial incentivization. Using bonuses to inspire greater productivity can be a valuable strategy for motivating employees and instilling a sense of pride and purpose in their work which ties to their sense of wellbeing.
Making clear the possibilities of promotion can also help in this regard. If you let employees know what it takes to rise through the ranks, you may ignite a fire within them; a desire to perform well and climb the career ladder.
Establishing a Safe Social Space
Workplace safety and social support are both instrumental to positive employee wellbeing.
You can kill two birds with one stone by creating the conditions for a safe social space. Now, given the nature of work these days, the traditional office may be out of action for a while. There isn’t the possibility for in-person communication and social gatherings.
This can be detrimental to employee wellbeing as we’re all social creatures that crave personal connection with others. If we can’t get that at work, we’ll generally feel worse about our professional roles.
To remedy this, even in a remote work environment, you can put on regular social events and support those who need it.
Try setting up a weekly quiz among teams or departments, or have a water-cooler style Zoom meeting where coworkers can chat over a lunch break. Encourage socialization between colleagues, and you’ll strengthen bonds which can lead to increased productivity, better collaboration, and improved wellbeing.
Strike a Balance with Employee Monitoring Software
The solutions we’ve presented are worth trying as they can help boost employee morale and restore wellbeing. However, there may be an easier way to improve individual wellbeing while also driving productivity levels higher than ever before.
It might sound too good to be accurate, but it’s possible, provided you use employee monitoring software.
How can this help you to strike a balance between productivity and wellbeing?
Well, for a start, this type of software gives you access to essential, accurate, timely data that can inform your performance appraisals and allow you to audit individual employee productivity. As such, you can monitor employees to help you figure out more effective ways to get the most out of your workforce.
Furthermore, the assessment of employee performance provides you with a critical motivator: the desire to succeed and work towards a professional goal. If you can instill a work-focused mindset in your employees, convincing them to spend their work hours wisely, then you may be able to eke out extra effort and give them a strong sense of work-related purpose.
The other primary benefit of using this type of software is the data it provides you about individuals’ ability to focus on the work. It can tell you when they have idle time and their most productive hours.
This information can help you build a clear picture of how each employee is doing, and if they are struggling, you can step in and provide the necessary support.
Perhaps they need a more flexible work schedule to manage their workload and kids as they work from home. Or maybe their mental health is suffering, and they need time off to recharge and recover.
This data can be crucial for identifying employee wellbeing issues before they become overwhelming.
Employee wellbeing is as important now as it’s ever been. If you don’t want to push your employees towards burnout, you need to be proactive.
You can do several things to address employee well-being issues, from creating a fair and social work environment to using time-tracking tools and task manager apps to identify problems before they become insurmountable.