It’s been nearly three years since the start of the global pandemic brought about a seismic shift in the way we approach everything from work, life and more importantly, our health and wellbeing.
Working from home, flexible hours, virtual meetings – all have been normalised in the working world. Unfortunately, as employees were forced to bring work into their homes, it also spelled the death of the already elusive work-life balance. As Gympass CEO and Co-founder, Cesar Carvalho explains, ‘The concept of work-life balance is dead. It’s a 50-year-old term that has been rendered completely outdated, because it assumes that work and life are separate things. Today, we know that’s not true. We can’t ignore the impact of work, and its expansion outside the walls of physical office space, on our personal lives.’
As we enter a new financial year, and one in which the economic climate is still uncertain, what are the key watch-outs businesses must consider in order to stay on top of employee wellbeing in a quantifiable yet more human way? We talk to HR Director at Gympass, Astrid Varalda.
Employee Wellbeing will become the leading indicator of productivity:
A recent Gallup report found that businesses with engaged employees have a 23% higher profit compared to those with unhappy employees. The report also found that absenteeism is 27% lower for employees who exercised regularly, compared to colleagues who didn’t. Additionally, employees with healthy eating habits were 25% more likely to have higher job performance; and employees who exercised three times a week were 15% more likely to have better job performance.
“It’s quite simple – engaged employees generate more profit for any business.” Varalda explains, “The health of a team is directly correlated with the health of the business. In the same way that leaders look at metrics like revenue to determine how well a company is doing, a company’s engagement with wellbeing benefits will become one of those key factors. As more leaders begin to recognise this, we’ll start to see business decisions being influenced by wellbeing at large.”
Mental Health linked to Net Loss
New research from Deloitte shows that poor mental health in the workplace has increased since 2019 and is now costing employers up to £56 billion a year. Given the global financial climate businesses currently face, Varalda argues that mental health support is more important than ever to safeguard employees and the business for the long term.
”Wellbeing is a clear priority for talent, making it a permanent, recession-proof part of acquisition and retention strategies. I’d take this a step further and argue that an impending recession is exactly the right time to invest in employee wellbeing benefits, especially in the mental health category. The reason being that, losing talented employees only adds to a company’s economic challenges when facing a downturn. Companies that double down on supporting their people — investing in their teams with the same level of commitment that they invest in software — will be better positioned to weather any impending storm.”
In 2020, Gympass added a ‘Mind’ category to its platform, offering mental health support in the form of apps, virtual therapy and counselling. Further to this, its recent partnerships with Arianna Huffington’s THRIVE Global platform and the highly regarded Headspace app has continued to bolster its efforts to provide businesses with personalised support options for mental health resources.
Hybrid remains but WFH becomes an employers’ responsibility:
As we enter the third year of working from home, employers will need to ensure that all employees have a correct and healthy set up to allow for productive hybrid working environments.
“We are in a crisis of wellbeing. People are burnt out, tired and disengaged – and this is reflected first and foremost in the work they do. Wellbeing doesn’t just include exercise options and mental health support, but also how workers sit or stand at their desk. A good working from home set up will allow employees to feel more in control of their work-life balance set up and result in positive output in the workplace. Its important employers recognise this and give them the tools to help accomplish this, in whichever way suits the individual.” Varalda explains.
Wellbeing benefits will become equally important to salary:
In a recent report* that surveyed 9,000 employees from around the world, it found that a whopping 83% already believe their wellbeing is equally important to their salary.
“It’s a powerfully compelling statistic that underscores exactly where talent’s heads are at in terms of finding work.” Varalda comments, “The vast majority of people around the world are not willing to put their physical or mental wellbeing at risk for a pay check — and that number is going to grow. It means that HR leaders need to work harder to ensure talent that they have their best interests in mind.”
*Report from Gympass