What do performance and wellbeing have in common? More than you might think. But it seems many organisations don’t realise the link between their employees’ wellbeing and their performance at work.
Productivity is a key challenge for the government. In the third quarter of 2018, UK productivity fell to a two-year low. And although the latest estimate from the Office for National Statistics shows a 0.2% increase in the last three months of 2018, UK productivity still lags behind other G7 economies. What the UK produces in five days, countries like France and Germany can do in four.
As a main focus for the government, improving performance should also be on the agenda for businesses. We believe wellbeing is an important driver for good performance; and therefore productivity. If employees feel well, then they will be able to perform well at work. Similarly, if an employee is experiencing health concerns, naturally this will have a negative impact on their performance. Decreased performance can lead to employees feeling demotivated – it can easily become a vicious circle.
It’s important for employers to make the connection between better wellbeing and improved performance. Here are three ways to improve performance, through supporting employee wellbeing.
1. Rethink performance discussions
For so long performance discussions have centred on rigid objectives and annual appraisals. When the link between performance and wellbeing is so clear, it’s more important than ever to rethink those conversations. Rather than focusing solely on objectives and achievements (which of course, will always be important), make sure wellbeing is central to the discussion too. And accept that sometimes objectives might need to change, depending on an individual’s circumstances.
Also ensure you have these discussions frequently – once a year, or even once a month might not be enough. Regular check-ins with employees to chat about work and life, will help keep track of how an employee is feeling, physically and mentally, and how they are getting on with work.
2. Encourage flexible working
Since 2014, everyone has had the right to request flexible working. It has many benefits for wellbeing, improving work-life balance, which is identified as a main cause of stress at work when impacted by long hours in 14% of organisations1.
If employees can structure their working day around their personal commitments, through remote working or adjusting their hours, this can help to redress work-life balance, helping reduce stress. As well as better balance, for some people the traditional 9-5 day doesn’t create their best work – often the best ideas can come at the crack of dawn, or near bedtime. So changing up working hours could help boost creativity, and performance.
3. Provide health benefits
Wellbeing benefits like health cash plans are increasing in popularity, offered by almost a third of organisations1. Employers see the benefit too. Health cash plans have a total perceived value of 87% among employers, because of how they can help manage absence, enhance employee engagement, and recruit and retain employees2. And 78% believe offering one shows they care about their employees2.
If you don’t already, consider offering a benefit designed to support better wellbeing. A health cash plan can improve access to healthcare for employees, so they are empowered to look after their health. This means they can stay healthy, and continue to perform well at work.
There’s a clear connection between wellbeing and performance, and it’s important for employers to understand the effects they can have on each other. Supporting employees’ health and wellbeing, could be the first step to improving workplace performance.