With just 12 percent of workers keen on returning to the office according to a recent report commissioned by business tech platform Slack, HR experts are urging businesses to recognise the importance of investing in the well being of their staff.
“Australian workplace leaders are recognising this issue and are placing more emphasis on health, safety and well being than ever before,” says National Manager and corporate well being specialist at Drake International, Andrea Marlan.
What is the basis for this innovation
Last year Drake conducted a survey of employers during stage four lock down which showed 85.1% now consider well being an important consideration for their company.
“Gone are the days of mandatory doctor’s certificates and having to prove illness to have a sick day or mental health day. If anything, it’s flipped, so employers need to view wellness and its relation to productivity in a totally new light,” explains Ms Marlan.
“So many Australian organisations are getting on the front foot by investing in their employees’ health – it’s good for business and good for the Australian workforce. It’s time to go further than having apples in the break room or EAPs on offer.”
“They’re great starting points but it’s time to support the wider needs of employees. We’ve seen a huge increase in focus on mental well being as a result of remote working. Let’s bring that positive change with us back to the workplace,” says Ms Marlan.
Managers and HR leaders are getting on the front foot by reimbursing gym memberships, for example, allowing employees to leave work early for medical appointments and many have implemented flexible well being programs like those offered through Drake’s Wellness Hub.
“The Wellness Hub is a comprehensive, program for employees, catering to the needs of their physical, emotional and financial well being as well as, mental health,” says Ms Marlan.
“Organisations can pick and choose elements to suit their needs. Managers can work out what kind of support will best meet the individual needs of their business and workforce, offering them totally flexible options around timing, locations, programs and costs.”
A prime example of how such support can benefit productivity is tech startup employee, Laura Tien, who says her life has been impacted in a dramatically positive way ever since her company introduced well being support five months ago.
“When we returned to the office, the company introduced a health policy for employees with activities that promote well being,” said Ms Tien a Digital Content Marketer for Amaka.
They introduced a hybrid work structure, giving employees the ability to work from home 3 days a week, freeing up travel time to be used to visit the gym and address health issues. There’s more time for appointments, like the optometrist and chiropractor.
“I just feel better looking after myself, and better at work knowing my employer cares about staff well being.” said Ms Tien. While enjoying the benefits of reimbursed gym membership, other workplaces are adopting the multi-faceted approach of Drake’s Wellness Hub.
“There is a wellness solution for everyone irrespective of typical limitations. It may be budget or not knowing where to start. Drake designed the Hub to work around these roadblocks that have been preventing workplaces from addressing staff well being in the past,” said Ms Marlan.
“Organisations are realising that, one size does not fit all in wellness and that supporting the well being of your staff does not have to cost the earth,” explains Ms Marlan.
It’s time for employers to take responsibility and be part of a positive revolution without waiting for burnout to occur take action now. Otherwise, the costs for both the organisation and employee could be significant.