According to a study carried out by BVA for Salesforce in March 2018 on new workplace issues, workplace well-being is a priority for over half of all employees. Of the over 1,000 employees interviewed, 59% of them responded that it is the most important issue for them. Here are 7 recommendations and ideas for improving workplace well-being as well as employee productivity.
1) Flexible working hours and working from home
According to the results of the BVA enquiry, optimal work conditions are top priority for employees. Over half of the employees interviewed estimated that their companies underestimated the importance of requests for flexible working hours or the option of working remotely.
21% of the participants worked remotely, but only 7% of them did so regularly, while 14% of them did so occasionally. However, 35% of employees responded that they would like to work remotely.
Certain companies, such as Encelade Media Group, allow their employees to work hours that suit them, for example, starting at 10am and finishing at 6pm, with a 1 hour break in the middle of the day (7 hours per day, 5 days per week, making 35 hours a week).
In the case of a personal emergency, the employees can start work later and make up the hours throughout the week, if the conditions allow for this (e.g., depending on opening hours of the shop/office and times at which client services need to be accessible).
According to Dr. Paul Kelley, a neuroscience researcher in Oxford, forcing adults or children to work or go to school before 10 am in the morning can lead to illness, stress and exhaustion. He carried out a 4 year long study, the results of which should soon be published.
As well as leading to happier and thus more effective, productive and loyal employees, working from home and with flexible hours can improve traffic congestion (as there would be fewer cars on the road at peak times) and thus also air quality.
France has recently passed a law relating to working remotely
On the 1st January 2018, France became the first country to create a right to working remotely. It has now been put into law, and French employers are now required to justify their refusal of a request for working remotely. It is the responsibility of the employer to prove to the employee that their work cannot benefit from working remotely. Any employee can make a request and if the request is refused, the employer needs to explain why it is not possible.
2) Access to further training for professional development
According to the same BVA enquiry, one of the key factors in employee well-being is the possibility for further training and career advancement within their company.
51% of employees interviewed wanted access to good quality training, and 54% of them felt that such training could be provided within their companies. Training is indispensable for allowing employees to evolve and change how they work.
3) Respect for workers’ rights
Respect for workers rights, keeping to trade union agreements and contracts is very important for employees. This respect can also relate to rights in general, such as working in an environment that follows health and safety regulations, or fair employment policies.
For example, it may involve paying overtime worked, giving perks (bonuses, etc.) or allowing fair access to promotions.
If all these rules were followed, for one thing, employees would be more motivated, more knowledgeable and more productive, and for another, employers would avoid being brought to the labour court or penalised in the case of a review or evaluation.
4) Work-life balance
This idea is related to that of flexible working hours, in the sense that employees can ask for more flexibility from their employer, should they sometimes need to deal with personal problems that take priority (such as a sick child, a car that has broken down, a flood in the home, illness, etc.).
For those who work from home or who have high levels of responsibility, workers also would like the right to disconnect, meaning that they do not work outside of normal working hours.
5) Team spirit and a positive working atmosphere
A positive working atmosphere is considered one of the most important criteria when it comes to evaluating workplace well-being. It is often a question asked by doctors or occupational therapists during work related medical screening.
A friendly atmosphere between colleagues, the sense of being part of a team, and trust in managers: these three criteria make employees happiest at work, and also most productive!
Common relaxation areas and outings organised by the company can be good ways of reinforcing bonding between colleagues and between employees and managers or supervisors. For example, a couch on which to relax and drink a coffee with your colleagues, a kitchen or canteen to incite people to eat together, as well as outings such as outdoor team activities followed by going out for a meal together! Tried and tested, the employees at Encelade Media Group are spoiled, and are planning to stick around…..
Employees that are treated well, and who are thus happy, are motivated to maintain good relations with their colleagues and managers. They also produce the best results, as employers who have trialed these methods will confirm.
6) Search for meaning in their work
Everyone or almost everyone would like to find meaning in their work, and they may even need this in order to stay motivated. We see more and more well-paid executives in diverse fields such as industry, finance, engineering, etc., packing it all in and buying a farm, some land to cultivate and grow organic vegetables in the countryside. A sign that they have become bored and disillusioned with their work? For sure!
For the majority of us, it is important to feel useful, to feel we are meeting a need, to add value or to do something that contributes to society, and that contributes to obtaining results. This is why more and more companies are inviting employees to share their perspectives, ideas and their opinions, in order to better respond to these needs.
Similarly, sustainable development is also an important criteria for employees. According to a Global Tolerance study, almost 2/3 of youths would like to work in companies that try to have a positive impact on the environment or on society.
7) Plants in the office and other little details that matter
Adding plants and greenery to an office space contributes to a feeling of well-being at work, as several studies have previously shown. Encelade Media were happy to try this out, and confirmed that it is in fact much more pleasant when you have a few plants!
Ideally, choose plants that don’t require much care or watering, to make sure they can survive you taking a week’s holidays!
Little treats can also do great good for employee morale. It could be a matter of Christmas presents, bringing in cakes from time to time for no good reason, or hiding a few little chocolates in workers’ plants or on their desks at Easter time….
As stated earlier, well-treated employees work better and are happier to come to work!