Starting from simple issues centred around work overload today, the concept of well-being has evolved into a complex discussion on how organisations can invest in ensuring employee wellbeing by integrating it in design of work itself.
By Ramya Sampath Sharma,
The unprecedented impact of COVID19 hasn’t just hit socio-economic development but has disrupted the working models of the businesses. A year later, still, as organisations work through remote operations, backed by technology to enable employees to be more effective, impactful and filled with purpose, a new imperative has emerged for Chief People Officers, which is employee well-being and health.
What simply was an abstract notion earlier, has now become tangible and very real. If *people* are our biggest assets, without their physical, mental, emotional, financial and occupational well-being – organizations will never achieve the level of success they aspire to. Starting from simple issues centred around work overload today, the concept of well-being has evolved into a complex discussion on how organisations can invest in ensuring employee wellbeing by integrating it in design of work itself.
The post pandemic scenario and perspective towards employee wellness has seen a drastic shift. Employees want and prefer work to be designed in a way that integrates their personal lives, they want to work in a way that is fulfilling and engaging [ with or without being back in the office space], seeking emotional, physical and mental care now more than ever and lastly, financial security and empowerment. Let’s face it – the pandemic has required all of us to pivot internally in ways that we are now seeking in our workplaces.
And thus, the heart of wellbeing is to not just offer a slew of well-being related benefits but also focus on the adjacent aspects that enhance this feeling – clarity at work, a supportive work environment, an opportunity to apply autonomy over the structure of their work lives.
What then should organizations do? How do we create workplaces that are both empathetic , supportive and yet, designed for employees to fulfil their purpose and for the organization to meet its goals.
I see four areas where organizations can and must focus:
- Health and Wellbeing in a holistic way – Health and wellbeing has really taken on a broader meaning. It goes beyond physical well-being to mental, emotional and a proactive approach to employee fitness. We will see organizations offering psychological and mental health support, we will craft benefits that will focus on family and financial support and most important, we will create an approach to wellbeing that acknowledges that many aspects go into an employee feeling healthy.
- Meaningful work – There are two aspects of our work that drive our own ability to feel well at work – one the notion that our work has meaning for ourselves (in however we may choose to define it) and the other that we have autonomy to perform this work. Speaking of meaningful work, the people operations teams will need to ensure that there is a high work-capability fit for individuals, that and teams are designed to enhance this experience.
- Autonomy over work and work hours – the other aspects of wellbeing is the ability to have autonomy. We have known this for a while now – but the aspect of autonomy has now expanded to include the choice of workplace, the choice of work hours and the ability to have the freedom to choose etc. Organizations will be required to build hybrid workspaces that all for both – a sense of community and yet, the ability to work with privacy should the individual choose to.
- An enabling work environment – The last area of focus is our ability to pivot to create work environments that enable you with a sense of wellbeing. High trust work environments, transparent work environment but also environments where there is empathy and support.
Remote working is the Normal of the near future. It is therefore imperative for the People Officers to prioritize employee wellbeing, and health, sometimes even more than their roles and work commitments. To build a futuristic enterprise, its people strategy needs utmost focus. Health is the essence of people’s well-being, and perhaps that is the brand that organisations need to invest the most in the future.
(The author is Chief People Officer, GreyOrange. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)