23 November 2021
Yoga classes. Free breakfasts. Head massages. Millions of pounds pumped into wellbeing each year. Yet employees are still stressed, exhausted, and disengaged.
At the CHRO Summit 2021, MindGym’s Chief Behavioural Officer Dr Janet Ahn and Academic Board member Prof. Tessa West from New York University revealed the science-based principles to improving employee wellbeing.
A critical component of wellbeing is a person’s access to resources to overcome stress during a pressured and demanding experience.
Speaking to an angry client or fixing a critical software error are examples of pressurised tasks that make your heart race.
When employees have the means to overcome these tough situations, work stress can quickly dissipate. When they don’t, the stress gets worse. Chronic stress can lead to illness, including heart disease and cancer.
Therefore, the best managers empower their employees with the tools, training, conversations and resources to handle their daily work demands effectively.
Regular informal conversations, for example, give professionals a valuable opportunity to share their pains with their manager. In return, managers can help individuals to find solutions to their common work stressors.
Stories of superstar professionals who work 75+ hours a week are eulogised throughout the corporate world.
For some people, the ‘always-on’ mentality is essential for business success regardless of its health impact.
Scientific research suggests otherwise.
“There's an interchange between your psychological and physical health that will affect your performance that you can't outwit, outsmart and out motivate,” said Prof. Tessa West.
Professionals with good wellbeing are more productive, better learners, and more creative at work, compared to those with poor wellbeing.
Poor wellbeing eventually leads to work burnout and impairs cognitive functioning. Attention and memory both decline as the mind slows down and mistakes become abundant. Sleep deprived workers, for example, struggle to interact with colleagues or perceive their emotions.
Although wellbeing is personal, it is affected by an individual’s interpersonal relationships with other people.
The single best predictor of increasing an employee’s “wellbeing" is improving their certainty over their experiences and expectations at work.
Therefore, it is imperative for managers to be transparent, consistent and have a reassuring presence in their staff’s working lives. Each employee must know what their role is, what to expect, and what help is available. Also, great managers create an environment where people feel comfortable asking for extra clarity to alleviate their anxiety.
For example, when important meetings are organised, managers should ensure the team understands the purpose, topics to be discussed and the preparation required.
This removes a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, as employees aren’t left to worry, ‘oh dear, what is going to happen at this meeting?’ Also, employees can fully concentrate on their work.
These simple science-backed adjustments can have a great impact on employee wellbeing.
Contact us for more advice on how to boost employee wellbeing at your company.
Want to read more insights from CHRO Summit 2021? Check out the highlights.