How workplace wellbeing is different today
Over the last two years, the way in which we work has changed. Whilst some changes were already taking place prior to Covid-19, many were undoubtedly accelerated during the pandemic. And, as a result, our attitude to work and how we work have all been altered during this time.
Shift in priorities
There has been a complete shift in priorities for many employees. Free lunches or extra holiday used to be the benefits employees valued highly, however flexible working is now seen as the most desirable benefit for UK employees. Almost half (45%) of employees surveyed stated that this benefit is or would be valuable to them. Health-related company benefits have also gained importance, with the most valued being dental care (43%), optical care (31%) and mental health counselling (18%).
Preventative wellbeing includes identifying stress and mental health triggers amongst employees and is now becoming an important part of many employers’ strategies. This can be as simple as asking employees how they’re feeling and ensuring team leaders and management can spot any signs of stress. Using these methods can help to prevent employees reaching burnout, feeling overwhelmed or needing time of work for stress related illnesses.
With more people having the flexibility to work from home, another area of concern is presenteeism due to many employees choosing to still work when they are ill. A recent survey that examined presenteeism during lockdown found that nearly half of people (46%) felt more pressure to be ‘present’, with 24% feeling they needed to prove they are working every day. As well, more than a third (35%) continued to work whilst feeling unwell, often due to fears about redundancy. Although sometimes having the ability to work from home can be beneficial when sick, for example if an employee has a mild illness like a cold, it’s vital that employees know when to take time out to rest and fully recover. It’s also important that they can feel it’s ok to do so, and managers can recognise when employees need to recuperate for the benefit of their work and wellbeing.
With many employers changing the way they work since the pandemic, it’s important to also adapt your wellbeing strategy to reflect this. To find out more about employee wellbeing, as well as tips to creating a good wellbeing strategy, download our new workplace wellbeing guide here.
 https://www.som.org.uk/Presenteeism_during_ the_COVID-19_pandemic_May_2021.pdf P.3