Due to the pandemic, company culture, employees’ overall well-being, and workplace environments have all suffered a lot. Most significantly, employees’ general well-being has been hit hard globally, driven by unprecedented changes in the nature of work, with the hybrid or completely remote work models becoming the norm.
Due to the changed way of working, employees struggled to adjust and suffered social isolation that triggered stress. Many also suffered burnouts as employers swamped them with immense workloads due to the urgent need to recoup output after work came to almost a standstill as the world grappled with COVID-19 and ways to combat it.
All these problems became more pronounced once the pandemic subsided and workers started returning to their offices, albeit in phased manners, and often with an emphasis on the blend of work-from-home and in-office work models. Consequently, several workers faced high-stress levels, which adversely affected their well-being.
Decreased employee engagement is typically linked to a notable decline in well-being. A survey by Gallup found that employee engagement in the U.S. experienced its first yearly decline in a decade as it dropped from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in 2021.
This worrying pattern continued into early 2022, as 32% of part- and full-time employees working for organizations were found to be engaged, while 17% were actively disengaged, a rise of 1% point from the last year.
If your company is also experiencing slumping employee engagement, it’s time to focus on your employees’ well-being demands and respond to them fast to help your workforce flourish. Here are five ways to do it.
1. Build Employee Listening Platforms
By helping your employees share their feedback in real-time regarding their emotional needs triggered by workplace and personal issues, you can show you care, thus helping them feel valued and have a positive experience.
As leaders, listening to employees can help you identify complex emotional feelings like stress and grief and even spot symptoms of burnout triggered by frequent workloads or certain workplace issues like a difficult manager, an uncooperative co-worker, etc. This, in turn, can let you intervene on time before the situations spiral out of control.
2. Try to Offer the Ideal Work Conditions
Workers’ well-being isn’t completely linked to mental or emotional health concerns. Physical features like the work environment and furniture also play a significant part. For instance, ergonomic office furniture makes employees’ work more comfortable, thus enhancing their engagement at work and workplace productivity.
Giving your employees a work environment where they can focus and function without unnecessary disturbances or interferences and providing them with furniture that facilitates the correct posture are simple ways to reduce their risks of burnout and stress while helping them feel more engaged.
3. Encourage Physical Activity
To boost your employees’ fitness levels, you should promote frequent movement breaks throughout the workday. Fit employees contribute optimally, are happier and more engaged, become ill less frequently, and take fewer sick leaves.
You can have a dedicated communications manager who encourages employees to move more often, thus showing how your company is committed to employees’ physical and mental well-being. You could even organize group exercise classes in the office gym or offer perks like regular gym membership at a nearby fitness centre to boost your employee’s fitness and productivity.
4. Champion a Balanced Diet
Studies have shown the positive effects of a nutritious diet on people’s mental and physical readiness. As an employer, you should encourage healthy eating habits among employees for their physical and psychological well-being. If you offer meals to employees or have a cafeteria, sticking to a healthy eating mindset will boost productivity and organizational efficiency while making employees fitter, more engaged, and driven to contribute their best.
You could even have monthly healthy checkups in the office and encourage employees to consult dieticians. Another step is to recommend the consumption of protein-rich foods and vegetables (those with pre-existing health conditions should consult their doctors, though). All these will help employees enjoy increased metabolism, more sustained energy, enhanced levels of satisfaction and happiness, and better physical well-being.
5. Focus on Meditation and Other Stress-Relieving Activities
It has been found that individual meditation helps in mental training and offers relief from stress. You could encourage group meditation in the workplace to foster a collaborative culture among employees, strengthen their relationships with each other, boost productivity, and pave the way to enhanced employee well-being.
Yoga exercises like deep breathing, focusing on the breath while inhaling and exhaling, etc., are some other ways that can help your employees beat stress, think critically to solve problems, feel more engaged, and thrive.
It’s vital to make your employees feel more cared for and engaged, reduce their burnout risks, listen to their pain points, and resolve them fast. You should also offer them the ideal work conditions, encourage physical activities and intake of a balanced diet, and engage them in stress-busting activities.
If you don’t focus on your employees’ overall health and help them thrive, you risk declining productivity, engagement, and well-being, which will force your company into oblivion.
Don’t let that happen. Act now and implement the five ways listed above.
What other ways would you include in the list?