The Link Between Employee Wellbeing and Productivity

Posted in , , , by Echelon Health

How we work has changed dramatically over the last few years. The pandemic forced businesses to assess new working methods and reconsider employee health and wellbeing. From remote work to isolation due to illness, employee wellbeing has never been so under the microscope.

However, as business returned to ‘normal’, employee wellbeing seems to have taken a step back with a knock-on effect on employees, business and productivity.

In this blog post, we delve deeper into employee wellbeing, what it is, how it’s connected to productivity and the initiatives you can integrate to support employees.

What does employee wellbeing look like?

Employee wellbeing looks different for each employee, as everyone’s needs vary, but you should consider some typical employee wellness traits.

Employees’ wellness can look like:

  • Consistency in their work
  • General happiness every day
  • Collaboration with colleagues
  • Open communication with the team and wider business

With so many aspects to consider,  addressing them all can be challenging. However, with the right strategies and approach, you can support employees for the long term.

Workforce health and efficiency

Businesses need a strong team behind them to be successful. However, it’s easy to forget employee wellness when assessing your team’s strength. A healthy team is productive and efficient. So, taking time to incorporate wellness initiatives can positively affect productivity.

Employee wellbeing and performance: what’s the link?

Employee wellness underpins productivity, with negative and positive effects on workplace performance, morale and general business outcomes. A study of nearly 1,800 BT call centre workers saw a 12% increase in productivity when their happiness increased. Their happiness was measured on a scale of 1 to 10 and just a one-point increase boosted productivity.

Poor physical health can lead to decreased productivity when employees have a diagnosed health problem or an unhealthy lifestyle like smoking. Workplace initiatives to encourage healthy choices and provide information can help the team take steps in the right direction.

Stress can cause physical and mental health symptoms that affect employee wellbeing. High stress levels  relate to lower productivity, so minimising prolonged stress is vital in the workplace. While work-related stress is not always avoidable, you can help reduce it and boost productivity by providing the right tools and incorporating workplace wellness.

How does mental health impact work productivity?

Mental health is just as essential as physical health and can be more prevalent than you realise. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in the UK, with 7.8% of people meeting the diagnostic criteria.

Researchers have found that poor mental health can negatively affect work productivity because people cannot switch it off when stepping into the office. A recent report found that mental health problems account for more than half of all work-related illnesses – taking a toll on workplace productivity and causing costs for firms, employees and society.

A critical review of 38 studies into mental health and the workplace found clear evidence that it decreases productivity. Loss of productivity resulted from increased absenteeism and presenteeism (where an employee shows up for work despite being unwell) – both of which were caused by poor mental health.

Research increasingly suggests that mental health affects employees and productivity, so you must provide support.

Returning to the office: a full-time or a hybrid approach?

Sometimes going into the office can be better for employee wellbeing. One study found that hybrid working (where employees spend time both in the office and working from home) increased employee happiness and decreased staff turnover by 33%. The same study also reported that hybrid working increased digital communications, even when in the office, helping with fostering connections and productivity.

However, another study found that 50% of hybrid or remote employees experience at least one symptom of burnout due to their jobs and a lack of boundaries between work and home. When this is the case, working remotely may be hindering employee wellness and productivity. A study of remote workers found that one in three find they stay at home more often now as they no longer have a reason to leave the house. Similarly, 23% stated that loneliness was their second biggest struggle when working from home.

Hybrid and remote working isn’t right for all businesses, or even all employees. Some employees may be happier working in the office full-time. They may not have the right space to work from home or may feel less productive outside of the office. With this in mind, deciding your business’s ways of working should involve what’s best for the business and support all employees.

Workplace wellness initiatives

Once you understand the link between employee wellness and productivity, you’ll want to explore how to incorporate wellness. Let’s look at some workplace wellness initiatives to get you started.

Flexible working

Providing ways of working that suit employees’ needs is a great way to support their wellness. Remote working isn’t just a measure reserved for situations like the pandemic. Allowing employees to work remotely a few days a week or take remote working days when needed can play an essential role in wellbeing.

Not everyone functions at their best in an office; many people work better at home. However, it’s all about finding the right balance for both business and employee.

Researchers attribute this increased productivity to quieter working environments, allowing employees to concentrate and stay focused longer. Additionally, some employees find working from home helps them strike the right balance between work and home life. It can also reduce the risk of burnout as employees have more free time outside work when they no longer must commute daily.

Flexible working doesn’t just cover remote working. It also relates to letting employees work different hours if necessary. For example, getting a doctor’s appointment at the weekend is challenging. However, most employees work weekdays, so they put their health on the backseat. Helping employees take extra time when they need it or shift their hours can significantly impact overall wellness.

Invest in technology that supports wellness

Access to proper technology can make an employee’s day run smoother. Something as simple as requesting annual leave through an online portal can support their wellbeing. They may feel uncomfortable or worried about asking a manager or adding to their overflowing workload if it’s not easy to request annual leave, leading to burnout and decreased productivity.

Safe working environments and regular breaks

The proper office set-up is vital for wellness. An incorrect chair can lead to musculoskeletal problems like back pain and headaches, which can impact productivity. Making sure employees have an environment in or out of the office that meets health and safety standards is essential when prioritising their wellness.

Sitting down all day can lead to health problems, so encouraging regular breaks is crucial.

Corporate health assessments

A corporate health assessment is a preventative, proactive health screening process that employers can offer employees. During the evaluation, employees undergo various tests and screenings to determine their overall health.

A preventative health assessment can have many benefits in a corporate environment.

These tests help employees safeguard their health, helping to boost productivity. They also provide insight into how well your wellness initiatives are working. The assessment results give employees ways to improve their health and detect problems they can address. Being proactive with employee health is an effective way to protect productivity and wellness.

Learn more about our corporate health assessments in our brochure

Get in touch with Echelon Health

Employee wellness is the key to unlocking sustainable, improved productivity. So, if you want to integrate wellness into the workplace, contact Echelon Health. Our corporate health assessments can detect up to 95% of the leading causes of premature death and offer employees access to the latest imaging and diagnostic technology.

Our comprehensive corporate health assessments help employees prioritise their health and allow businesses the opportunity to safeguard their teams and work towards increased productivity.