12 Apr Calls for organisations to invest in wellbeing programs with employees reluctant to return to work
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 wellbeing of their staff.
‘Australian workplace leaders are recognising this issue and are placing more emphasis on health, safety and wellbeing than ever before,’ says National Manager and corporate wellbeing specialist at Drake International, Andrea Marlan.
Last year Drake conducted a survey of employers during stage four lockdown which showed 85.1 per cent now consider wellbeing 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 frontfoot 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 wellbeing as a result of remote working. Let’s bring that positive change with us back to the workplace.’
Managers and HR leaders are getting on the frontfoot by reimbursing gym memberships, for example, allowing employees to leave work early for medical appointments and many have implemented flexible wellbeing programs like those offered through Drake’s Wellness Hub.
‘The Wellness Hub is a comprehensive, ‘meet all needs’ program for employees, catering to the needs of their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing as well as, of course, mental health,’ tells Ms Marlan.
‘It’s a bespoke approach to wellness where 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 wellbeing support five months ago.
‘When we returned to the office, the company introduced a health policy to support employees by introducing activities that promote wellbeing,’ said Ms Tien who works as a Digital Content Marketer for Amaka.
‘They also introduced a hybrid working structure, giving employees the ability to work from home three days a week.
‘This frees up travel time which can be used to visit the gym more or even address other health issues – I now have more time for appointments I’d been putting off, like the optometrist and chiropractor.
‘I just feel better looking after myself, and better at work knowing my employer cares about staff wellbeing.’
While Ms Tien is 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 – for example, it might be budget or not even knowing where to start.
‘Drake has designed the Hub to work around these kinds of roadblocks that might have been preventing workplaces from addressing staff wellbeing in the past,’ said Ms Marlan.
‘Organisations are starting to realise that, firstly, one size does not fit all when it comes to wellness and secondly, that supporting the wellbeing 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. Don’t wait for burnout to occur – take action now. Otherwise, the costs for both the organisation and employee could be significant.’