Intro: The future of work is well-being. The zillennials are demanding better work culture and environment. Nurturing employee well-being is critical to developing workplace resilience and sustainability! – Nona Walia
Body Copy: The last two years of pandemic era living have impacted everyone. Pandemic-related fatigue, social isolation, remote hybrid work culture and ‘the Great Reshuffle,’ have employees across generations asking for workplaces that promote well-being. The future trend forecasters believe that a new wave of well-being at work is here: leaders as coaches; 4-day work week; elimination of bullying. The rise of ‘well workplaces’ which follow the pyramids of wellness: financial wellness, career wellness, physical wellness, social wellness are the core focus areas. We need more workplaces which create new thriving cultures.
The youngest workforce — Zillennials – born between 1993-1998 – demand a work environment that aligns with their personal values. Wellness is now a new corporate responsibility in order to create sustainable workplaces. If companies are serious of building a well-being inclusive culture – then it’s time to take care of your employees. Stop giving people Well-being and Meditation Days, or free wellness apps, this is the time to make broader wellness policies and make structural changes. Employees need support, this is the time for collective organisational well-being.
It’s going to be essential to train bosses to embrace the roles of facilitator, coach, mentor and guide with the purpose of empowering wellbeing and trust. ‘Command and Control’ model of work and obsessive bosses will be outdated. Organisations that sack employees mindlessly automatically become unattractive as they go against the model of well-being and sustainability.
According to a recent article in Forbes, ‘employee well-being has expanded beyond physical well-being to focus on building a culture of holistic well-being including physical, emotional, financial, social, career, community, and purpose. At the heart of this is the growing need for flexibility in where, when, and how employees work.’
Organizations need to go beyond physical well-being. Opening up a gym or holding online/real yoga and meditation classes isn’t well-being. For instance, PwC’s Be Well, Work Well Habit Bank helps you track physical well-being from standing up for short meetings or tracking what and when you eat. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been focusing on employee well-being, he believes “soft skills and “good old-fashioned” management practices were needed to take care of employee well-being.”
According to a survey by LifeWorks’ Mental Health Index, mental stress among employees continues to rise. Employees are now more likely to report feelings of isolation and anxiety which negatively impacts productivity. The Mental Health Index survey revealed that young people are now focussing more on mental health with individuals between 20 and 29 nearly twice as likely to report wanting to put their mental health first compared to those over 60. This translates to employee retention with half of millennials and 75% of Gen-Zers citing mental health reasons as the motivation for leaving a job. Experts report that, “wellbeing is becoming a board priority, not just the domain of the HR department.”
The shift will be creating workplaces with energy and vitality not just stresses and control. Employees will reject workplaces and cultures that don’t allow them to thrive. Work does not need to be an unending drain on vitality or your energy reserves. We need work and workplaces where people actually leave work more refreshed, happy, feeling charged and creative than when they arrived.
Wellbeing is important for employee happiness and fulfillment, but it’s also critical for business results. According to Gallup survey, “When your employees’ wellbeing is thriving, your organization directly benefits — they take fewer sick days. But when your employees’ wellbeing suffers, so does your organization’s bottom line. Career wellbeing is the foundation for the other wellbeing elements.”
The focus of future will be on those organisations that promote and enhance the employee’s career well-being. The future area of focus will be — Why We Work rather than How We Work. In his TED Talk, Why We Work, Barry Schwartz says, “We need more organisations that motivate employees beyond a paycheck. This is a period of transformation of workplaces. We need to change workplace structures.”
People are not in it just for the money. They want to know where and why they should spend their energy and time in the right workplaces. Nobody wants to sign into a life making unbearable workplaces bearable. People are going to ask: What am I getting giving 40 hours a week to this organisations beyond the salary? Is this workplace interested in my well-being? Everyone is asking: Does this add value to my life?
The Wellbeing of We
We are trying to build sustainable and resilient work culture. People will not fall for the goals hiring HR pundits will be dangling at them. Employees want organisations for ensure financial well-being in times of uncertainty and distress. The PwC 2021 Employee Financial Well-being Survey found finances to be the top cause of employee stress above their job, their health, and their relationships combined. The Wellbeing of We is a culture that believes in everyone’s wellbeing not just the bosses wellbeing or their favourite people’s wellbeing.
The key for workplace wellbeing is also to create strong bonds and meaningful friendships at work. “They can be a buffer during stressful situations,” says Jen Fisher, co-author of Work Better Together and Chief Well-Being officer for Deloitte. Leaders now view well-being not just as an employee benefit but as a way to support employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives.
It takes time to build workplaces that “do no harm” as spaces that optimize performance, lower fatigue, promote healthy life- and work-styles and empower thriving.
It’s time for well-being revolution at workplaces.
A check-list for Workplace Wellbeing for organisations:
• Do your development plans include wellbeing goals?
• Do you share and celebrate wellbeing successes?