Businesses Wrong Not to Trust Homeworkers: Report
Many employers now realize it was wrong not to trust their employees to work from home, according to a report on well-being at work.
The Workplace Wellness Report 2021, published by Business NZ and Southern Cross Health Society, found that 35% of bosses had gone from opposing staff working from home to thinking it was a good thing.
But just under three-quarters of employers said some staff felt isolated when working from home.
Trade during the Covid era had caused another change in attitude among bosses, with most now sending a clearer message that workers should stay home when sick and not feel pressured to continue. to work, said Southern Cross Health Society chief executive Nick Astwick.
* Westpac grants 4,500 workers a week of “welfare leave”: how unusual is this move?
* Employers must play a role in addressing workers’ mental health
* Teacher: half a day off each week helps improve well-being
Astwick said the past 18 months had left many employers with no choice but to embrace ‘flexible working’.
This had a big impact on workers, who had to cope with blockages juggling work and caring for children unable to go to school.
“Your professional and family life have never been so close,” said Astwick.
“It’s a work-life smoothie, it’s so mixed,” he said.
Psychologist Sarah McGuinness was so sleep deprived and anxious from burnout that she couldn’t apply the years of wellness knowledge she had accumulated to herself.
“The traditional single workplace no longer exists for many people, and companies need to be aware of the impact this can have on the health and well-being of employees,” said Astwick.
The report is based on a survey of 116 large and small companies in the private and public sectors employing more than 95,000 employees.
Two-thirds of the companies surveyed said that the general stress level of employees had increased in 2020.
The main job-related stressors were increased workload, long working hours, job changes and fear of losing one’s job.
The main non-work stressors were relationship problems and money worries.
The majority of companies now had formal rules for working from home, the report said, and many workers were taking the opportunity to reduce their time and weekly commute costs.
The most common number of days to work from home was one or two days per week, according to the report, with just 27 of the workers who were lucky enough to work from home never doing so.
About a fifth of the companies surveyed said working from home had been “too successful” and encouraged people to spend more time in the office.
The Workplace Wellness Report 2021 is the fifth edition of the research.
Kirk Hope, Managing Director of Business NZ, said: “There has been a positive change in the number of companies seeing a correlation between employee well-being and the productivity of their organization.”
“Half of the organizations surveyed believe the role they play in employee health and well-being has increased in 2020, and we’ve seen companies come up with a variety of new workplace wellness initiatives,” said Hope said.
“This year’s survey shows a sharp increase in the number of organizations with a culture of encouraging sick employees to stay home.
The number of organizations clearly stating “if you are sick, stay home” has increased from 50% in 2016 to 76% in 2020.
Despite this, the number of sick days taken by workers has declined, coinciding with a drop in influenza cases.
Lucas Finch, global head of wellness at Xero, said the lines between work and life have blurred and business leaders have understood the importance of developing cultures of wellbeing in order to ” attract and retain workers in a tight labor market.
“Before Covid, wellness was considered to be something about fruit bowls and yoga,” Lucas said.
But, he said: “It has never been clearer that these work-related factors, if people look at them, can make a huge difference in someone’s experience at work and in the workplace. the House.”
Angela Vale, managing director of the online financial training platform Footprint Connect, which companies can use to help build workers’ financial skills, said employers should take note of the financial stressors identified in the report. .
“Financial wellness should be a fundamental pillar of all employer wellness programs,” she said.