Covid-19 forced the world to experiment with flexible work arrangements. We have learnt many lessons because of this experiment- Being nimble goes a long way, meetings aren’t always necessary, a standard shift may not be best for everyone and being physically present for work is overrated. Now, things appear to be getting back to “normal”, but workplaces have changed forever. Harvard Business Review estimated that 90% of all companies would adopt at least a hybrid work model in 2022. Companies spent a lot of money on giving employees the required infrastructure to work from home, including ergonomic work desks, chairs, screens, laptops etc.
It wasn’t just figuring out the logistics of how to work from home, there was the mental and emotional toll it took as well. The line between professional and private life blurred thus making focus on employee wellbeing a priority for companies. Some companies enhanced their benefits, offering free medical checkups, counselling, childcare stipend etc.
Although hybrid work allows flexibility and work life balance, a lot needs to be done to address employee wellbeing if companies want to focus on long-term employee and company productivity. Companies need to create a strategy for employee wellbeing that will transform engagement, workforce productivity and employee satisfaction.
The dimensions that an organization must ace to create a culture of workplace flexibility are:
How to get started with creating a strategy for building culture of employee well-being?
- Assess the current state: Employee well-being is no more a “nice to have perk”, it has become a business imperative on the onset of the return to work, automation displacing jobs and a looming mental health crisis. The employers are waking up to the urgency and importance around their workforce well-being.
- Opportunity: Organizational initiatives towards their workforce well-being needs, whether emotional, financial, career, social, and mental health and purpose will influence the employer branding and ability to create a compelling employee experience. 78% of participants in an American Psychological Association survey of 3,409 adults said the major stressors for employee burnouts are unmanageable workloads, no separation between work and home in hybrid work culture and worries over job security due to automation.
- Solution: Organizations must demonstrate empathic leadership and engage in a more intimate relationship with employees, supporting their holistic well-being. Progressive employers must address new opportunities within hybrid work environments, leverage well-being as a factor in the employee reward package, delve into the values-based, purpose-aligned performance indicators, foster greater belonging and safety to further engage them.