A recent study by Champion Health  has discovered that 35% of the employees surveyed feel that the stress that they experience at work is having a negative effect on their lives in general. Indeed, 76% of respondents reported feeling moderate to high levels of stress, which is an increase of 13% over the results of the same study conducted a year previously.
These worrying figures should encourage businesses across all industry sectors to ask themselves how they can identify and support stressed individuals within their workforces. The first step to improving employee wellbeing is to identify the root cause of presenteeism and reduced levels of employee engagement where these are demonstrated by individuals within your organisation.
Why employee wellbeing is important.
Employees who are in good physical and mental health are better able to cope with the stresses of everyday life. They are more resilient to the challenges they face at work, better able to engage and negotiate with colleagues and clients and are, in general, more productive.
A happy and healthy workforce is a sign of a positive business culture that can improve output, profits and reputation, in addition to reducing time lost to sickness and increasing staff retention rates. All of these things combine to create a healthy and productive business with reduced attrition rates and commensurately lower recruitment and onboarding costs.
Identifying presenteeism in your workforce.
Presenteeism is the term that is used to describe the behaviour of an employee who is present in body, but not in mind. There are many reasons why staff may exhibit this behaviour. They may be preoccupied with concerns or doubts about their private or professional lives, scared of making mistakes, or simply too stressed to function.
It is often possible to identify these individuals through changes to their behaviour, increased anxiety levels, a noticeable reduction in output, or a decline in the quality of the work they deliver.
You may notice that other individuals from their teams or functions are having to work overtime to meet deadlines, or that the individual is not contributing to meetings.
Identifying reduced levels of employee engagement
An employee who is committed to their job will be keen to take on new challenges, routinely produce high-quality output and present with a cheerful demeanour. Employees who are provided with the opportunities that they crave are committed to the organisation and will go above and beyond to deliver on their promises.
However, where an employee is feeling disheartened, perhaps having been passed over for a promotion or feels that they are not recognised for their contributions, they may cease volunteering for additional responsibilities, reduce the quality of their output, miss deadlines or demonstrate a tangible level of disinterest whilst in discussions with peers or seniors.
How can managers support employee wellbeing?
By identifying the individuals who are affected by reduced morale or lower levels of productivity, it is possible for supportive and proactive managers to engage with them on a confidential and one-to-one basis, to understand why they are struggling and what elements of their work are causing them the most stress.
By taking the time to engage with these employees and understand their problems, it should be possible to derive a tailored solution for addressing them. Where their disengagement results from problems in their private life, some employers may approve a period of special paid leave to allow them to handle their personal affairs or to seek medical or mental health treatment.
Where problems are firmly within the organisation's remit to resolve, a bespoke plan can be put into place. It should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the actions taken are delivering the necessary results and materially improving employee wellbeing in the workplace for the individual in question.
It is essential that managers avoid singling out a particular individual or giving them noticeably special treatment, as this can isolate them from their peers and inadvertently add to their stress levels. Support should be offered in a manner with which the individual is comfortable. Maintaining an open door policy is a positive step for managers to take, welcoming in staff who need additional support.
Businesses that wish to make a positive difference to the lives of their employees can seek specialist support from Terryberry. We are industry leaders in the field of employee wellbeing, and our range of strategies and tools can make a positive difference to your workforce. To find out more about how we can help your business to become a productive and efficient haven of calm, please contact us today for a demo.