How to help employees feel safe and well at work
As many organizations start to reopen offices, employee safety and well-being are top priorities. And employees agree. Here’s how to help keep your people feeling safe, well and supported, wherever they’re working.
We are living in difficult times. For employees, working from home has left many without boundaries, where their work and home life have blended into one, impacting their well-being and leaving them vulnerable to burnout.
However, the stop-start nature of our return-to-office culture over the past couple of years has had some people calling for the end of formalized workspaces altogether.
Whether your people are working remotely or in the office, what can employers do to help them feel safe and supported?
We asked more than 1,500 full-time U.S. employees how they felt about returning to the office and what their concerns or frustrations were.
Getting the balance right
As well-being has become a C-suite priority, employers need to be tuned in more than ever to their employees’ experiences. Whether that’s because of concerns that returning to the office for safety reasons, or that it may impact the routines and balance they’ve established during remote work.
“27% of employees say they don't know if employers listen to feedback about workplace safety or are even listening at all”
We also found that around a third of employees (32%) say they’re not energized at work and similarly, 35% are skeptical about their career opportunities with their current employer.
Supporting mental health at work
Unfortunately, 27% of people we spoke with said that their manager doesn’t support their work-life balance. And more worrying, more than half (58%) of people say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges.
We also found that 42% of employees say they sometimes or often worry about work problems in personal time – which mirrors the findings of our Employee Experience Trends report for 2022, which predicted an exodus of female leaders due to stress and burnout.
All of this means there’s a significant opportunity for employers to modernize their approach to supporting their employees.
“The global pandemic has brought employee safety, health and well-being to the forefront of business priorities, and it can be challenging for leaders to know how to best support their employees,” says Jay Choi, Qualtrics Chief Product Officer, EmployeeXM.
Safety is a top concern for talent attraction
Workplace health and safety stood out as an important factor for job seekers when deciding where to work. Our research found 71% say it’s a priority, with COVID-19 spread remaining the top reason for concern.
This means it is critical for employers who wish to attract and retain talent to prioritize physical safety and overall well-being – as well as communicating improvements and support available to their people.
The importance of hearing every voice
While employers have increased health and safety measures, 27% of employees say they either don't know if employers listen to feedback about workplace safety – or far worse – that they don't believe employers are listening at all.
Unsure what would make a difference? The first step is to simply ask your people how they’re feeling and what they need.
The HR leader's guide to creating a culture of well-being
Ask questions that will have the most impact
However, it’s important to ask the right questions – so you have actionable data on next steps on how to make changes that will have the greatest impact.
“Our safety and well-being solutions offer employers a science-based approach to understanding the evolving needs and expectations of their employees and making changes that meaningfully improve people’s experiences at work,” explains Jay.
Our in-house team of organizational psychologists identified the most impactful drivers of employees’ sense of safety and overall well-being at work. This helps leaders continuously design new ways of working that meaningfully improve engagement, retention and recruiting efforts.
A solution that gives you actionable insights
The Well-being at work solution distributes insights and suggested actions to individual employees and managers based on responses. Employees receive personal reports, giving them an understanding of their own well-being and what to work on to feel more energized at work.
Managers get access to intuitive dashboards that summarize how their team is doing and enable them to crowdsource ideas from their team to help improve team-wide well-being.
Find out more about keeping your people safe at work
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