The UK workforce is reporting higher levels of occupational stress, anxiety and depression than ever before.
A 2015 report by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that 9.9 million working day were lost due to workplace-related stress in 2014/15, the equivalent of approximately 23 days lost per person. This is estimated to have cost the UK economy £6.5billion.
A way to change this is by improving workplace wellbeing, which will deliver a significant return on investment – both intrinsically, in terms of being able to attract higher quality talent, and extrinsically, with happier employees increasing productivity and, ultimately, boosting the bottom line.
Speaking to HR Grapevine, James Hewitt, Head of Client Services Europe at LifeWorks, gave us his tips for improving workplace wellbeing in 2017.
Value life/work balance
“The way we work nowadays means that employees increasingly struggle to switch off. Unfortunately, the availability of more advanced technology has added to the ‘always on’ culture, eradicating the concept of the 9-5 role. Thanks to mobile devices and high-speed 4G connections, employees are now able to connect anywhere, at any time, making it difficult to switch off.
“Whilst occasional out-of-hours work is inevitable, business leaders should ensure that it is kept to a minimum, protecting their employees’ mental wellbeing and positive work-life balance as much as possible.”
“Advancements in technology aren’t all bad, however. Whilst being able to connect anytime from anywhere can add pressure to be online at clients’ or bosses’ beck and call, it can also help relieve that stress, enabling employees to work remotely from venues that are easier to get to. It also means the possibility of a flexible working policy – a huge benefit for parents and carers, in particular. Offering this flexibility is valuable, not only because it can achieve a healthy work-life balance, but it signals a level of trust and confidence between the employee and employer – something critical for workplace satisfaction.”
The rest of his tips can be seen on the next page...