We spend most of our waking lives at work, so it’s no surprise that our jobs can have a great impact on our wellbeing. The term ‘work-life balance’ is easily thrown around nowadays when talking about employee wellbeing, and people often associate it with having healthy boundaries that distance yourself from your job when you’re outside of office hours. While that is true, the other aspect of having a healthy work-life balance is taking care of yourself at work too.
The stigma around speaking up
There are lots of reasons why your employees might not be speaking up at work. The fear of challenging authority is one of the main reasons why employees prefer to stay quiet, as they may not want to be a bother or cause further inconvenience to you and the rest of the team. It’s common for employees to simply soldier on even if they’re not feeling their best; this behaviour can be seen even in the most motivated of employees.
Another main reason why your employees might be afraid of speaking up is because they feel as though management isn’t available to listen to their needs. Inc. emphasises the important distinction between asking for feedback and being able to receive it. If you are unreachable or seem distracted when your employees approach you, chances are they’ll just continue working rather than run the risk of disturbing you.
Don’t forget remote workers
Employee wellbeing doesn’t stop at the office. Communication with your remote workers is tied to the problem of being available to receive feedback. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies all too easily with remote workers, and it’s hard to remember to look after them when you’re not seeing them as often. In fact, Verizon Connect reports that only 62% of gig economy workers felt as though they were treated the same way as permanent, full-time staff. The gig economy means that workers themselves are constantly switching in and out of opportunities, so the best way to retain top remote talent is to ensure that they’re being taken care of—especially as our post on Wellbeing in the Workplace notes that 70% of the workforce is expected to be remote by 2020.
The golden rule is to treat your remote employees the same way you would full-time staff, even if that requires a little bit more effort in terms of communication on your end.
Steps to take next
The first step is to make sure your employees are aware of your company’s current regulations. Be firm about what the company will and will not permit. While you might want your employees to power through a small headache, a depressive episode or a high-grade fever deserves some rest.
Your employees should also know the options available to them. With Healthcare Trends suggesting that tighter digital health regulations will be enforced next year, educating your employees on digital health solutions is a good step in equipping them with the tools they need to be healthy and happy.
Burning yourself out or getting sick and forcing yourself to work means you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, which lowers productivity and can lead you to even resent your job. The question is, how do you know if your employees are falling into this trap? Learning how to talk to your employees about their wellbeing allows them to feel taken care of.
Article contribute by: Amanda Denham