Over the course of the pandemic and with the rise of remote working, employee wellbeing has been at the top of employers’ minds. Being isolated from colleagues and having reduced social contact has had a huge impact on people’s mental health, echoed in a recent survey by Qualtrics which found that 44.4% of newly remote workers felt their mental health had declined since the beginning of the pandemic.
Now, as offices reopen, it’s critical that businesses continue to embrace employee wellbeing and have a comprehensive strategy in place to support physical and mental health. This is mutually beneficial as staff that feel looked after by their organisations are likely to be more productive and more engaged, and also promotes a positive workplace culture.
Keeping an open mind
To begin with, employers must be open-minded about the concerns of staff who are returning to the workplace; this can be a daunting prospect following restrictions and remote working for so long. Having an open dialogue is essential in creating a safe environment for employees and will allow organisations to understand what support they need, when they need it and how it should be delivered.
Here at SAP, we have conducted regular pulse surveys on remote working, using our Qualtrics platform, which has been positively received by employees and had high engagement. Through this, we have been able to stay in touch with concerns, communicate more effectively, and make decisions that take everyone’s personal circumstances into account.
It’s clear that employees want to retain flexible working as one of our surveys found that only 10% of our 100,000+ workforce wanted to return to the office full-time. Taking this into account, SAP’s flexible working model is 100% trust-based, empowering our employees to choose where to work, how, and when they are more productive.
Offering flexibility with people’s working patterns can make a huge difference in reducing employee stress as it removes the pressure that comes with other commitments or responsibilities, such as childcare or home-schooling. Allowing employees to effectively manage commitments alongside work can help leaders to foster a healthy and productive work environment where everyone is encouraged to run at their personal best.
Marrying the hybrid model with employee benefits
How we approach and deliver employee benefits has also had to evolve in our new hybrid working model to ensure that we’re looking after our employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.
We’ve all experienced the pandemic differently, and therefore, offering a variety of initiatives is now essential if we want to provide genuine support to all employees across the organisation.
At SAP UK, we provide a range of tailored services aimed at different employee segments, for example, Peppy Parenthood provides specialist support to new parents, ‘Never Lunch Alone’ is an online platform that connects SAP employees from all over the world who are feeling isolated during lockdown to virtually meet up and our “Are you ok?” campaign provides our employees with all the support they need in webinars and resources, encouraging people to speak up when they aren’t feeling ok.
HR departments must recognise that not all employees are the same and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing. By having a variety of initiatives in place, companies can offer tailored programmes for employees that provide support in a more meaningful and considerate way and establish a caring culture in which people can stay healthy and balanced.
Build organisational resilience
Resilience, on every level, has never been more important. Companies that put employee experience and well-being first show business resilience and strong performance despite uncertainty and disruption.
Read the THRIVE XM Index research report published by THRIVE Global in partnership with SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics to learn: