Through countless studies, it’s been demonstrated that employee wellbeing is linked to both engagement and productivity.
Making the wellbeing of employees a priority is beneficial to any company. It brings about both results and a comfortable working environment. And with the pandemic, our homes are quickly becoming our working space.
So if wellbeing and productivity correlate, can WFH improve employee wellbeing? Let’s review it!
What is WFH?
So far we’ve been throwing around this acronym but not everyone is familiar with workplace slang.
WFH stands for working from home. Employees can work remotely without having to travel to and from their workplace.
Many companies have a WFH policy which allows employees to work from home when it benefits them most. That could be part-time or full-time. Even before the pandemic some companies had this policy in place. Now it has become the new normal with the current global situation.
And though cautionary measures have definitely eased in comparison to last year, the WFH policy seems to be staying.
Are There Advantages to Working From Home?
Separating work from life is really important and you may think it’s harder to do at home. How can you separate work from home life when your work space is your home?
There are actually more advantages to working from home than some people think.
Everyone has different health needs and responsibilities – like children. So remote working options allows people to cater to those needs and responsibilities.
And with employees no longer being tied to their office, office hours don’t have to strictly be at traditional office times. If there’s more benefit working later in the evening, flexi-working can provide the opportunity to do that.
Perhaps not a popular choice for some, but you can change up your days and choose to work the odd weekend, if not every weekend. This is a good option for those that may have weekly commitments that take place during weekdays.
For any employees in business involved in overseas work, flexi-working is also great for them. Flexi-working can help to account for overseas time zones.
So many things have the potential to improve when the commute to work is less burdening.
With a WFH contract, commute costs can be cut quite significantly, if not altogether. This can help to improve wellbeing, especially for employees who may have a stressful commute to work. For example, those that may rely on public transport.
Public transport is great. It’s cheap enough (sometimes), and it gets us where we need to be. However, it can be unreliable. Cancellations, delays, and late arrivals all contribute towards a traveller’s stress. Especially when you need to be at work.
So without that commuting time, employees have more time to properly rest, have family time, or something that makes them feel good – like reading or exercising.
Additionally, not having to commute means they can fit more work in. Employees may actually ask to increase their contracted hours as they don’t have to schedule for their commute.
Improved Employee Retention
Why would someone want to willingly leave a job that offers them what they want? Flexi-working to fit to their schedule, and trust from the employers.
Staff loyalty may be more prevalent in flexi-working jobs as employees know that their employer is entrusting them to get the work done at home. They have employers who are mindful of personal needs – caring for children or other family members, personal emergencies – which makes them more likely to fully commit to this job only.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Working from home provides the opportunity for employees to have a better work-life balance. But how when the work environment is your home?
Well there’s no commuting so you can change that to “me-time”. Maybe you try out Pilates, read a book, or attempt to follow that new recipe you saw a few days ago. Also, working from home means you can schedule around daily household chores that need to be done. You know the ones.
Those chores you push off until the next day because all you want to do after work is relax. We’re all guilty of doing at least once or twice.
In fact, two thirds of employees participating in research have reported an improved work-life balance. Some employees suggested that WFH would positively impact their quality of life, too. No office politics or stressful commutes, and comfortable home spaces.
How Do You Support Remote Employees?
When we talk about wellbeing, it’s not just one aspect. We need to factor in separate approaches for each wellbeing pillar – mental, physical, social, and financial.
- It’s important that employees are aware of the mental health support services that are available to them. Whether you create a group message or email, or share details on a shared digital space.
- Employers should encourage employees to take annual leave if necessary, and to openly communicate with them in order to provide the right support.
- Assess their home workspace – do they have the right equipment to work effectively?
- Encourage break times, especially for long-time computer use. It’s not against work rules for employees to take a short break to regain motivation or relieve strained eyes.
- Keep communicating with employees – one-to-one check-ins are a great way to ask how they’re doing both personally and with work.
- Schedule group meet-ups that are both work and non-work related to allow your colleagues to share the same space to talk about work and just to catch-up.
- Not everyone is willing to openly discuss issues or worries they’re having financially. By promoting specific organisations that can provide the help or advice they may be looking for, you’ll be helping your employees very much.
If you’ve been working from home but are now returning to the office, here’s some top tips in case you’re feeling anxious.
Wellspace: Our App
Our wellbeing app offers a proactive workspace as well as workshops and events that will support your company. (And therefore your team, too!).
We can offer specialist advice on wellbeing questions – employee health and wellbeing sessions from Wellspace are expert-led, with 3 levels of learning.
Contact us for more information or call us on 0808 178 0748. One of our team experts will be happy to chat with you!