How Flexibility Affects Employee Wellbeing

May 11 2023
5 min read
How Flexibility Affects Employee Wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is a critical issue in many companies today. Skyrocketing rates of psychological problems, a tough economy, and increasing competitiveness all add up to pressure on both employees and organizations that can lead to burn out. How does HR fit into this picture? Let’s have a look at the most important initiatives that can seriously boost employee wellbeing. 

What Is Worker Wellbeing?

Wellbeing is a holistic feeling that is affected by a variety of aspects of life, including career, social status, physical health, finances, and location. All these factors are connected. You might have a great career, but if you are in severe debt, your sense of wellbeing is probably not the best. 

Wellbeing is not the same as being engaged. Engagement is a feeling towards a person’s job that depends on what’s happening in the workplace. In contrast, an employee might love their work but be so distracted by non-work issues that they eventually burn out. So it’s crucial to make sure that even engaged workers take care of other wellbeing factors.  

Who Is Responsible for Wellbeing?

Direct managers are often seen as vital for essential workplace initiatives like engagement. But, when it comes to wellbeing, HR is the primary address, according to 35% of respondents to this Deloitte study (meanwhile, only 11% believed that individual workers play the main role). 

Why Does Employee Wellbeing Matter to an Organization?

There are several basic metrics that indicate how well human resources programs are doing, and these include:

  • Productivity – Research shows that there is a strong connection between wellbeing and productivity. This report concludes that satisfied employees generate financial results that are about 4% better than industry averages.
  • Retention – Employees who feel good in general also tend to feel good about their jobs, and they stay in them longer. Gallup states that workers who don’t have a sense of wellbeing are twice as likely to quit.
  • Hiring – Because external recruiting is the main hiring method used today, it’s important for an organization to maintain a strong brand. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through current workers who recommend their employer to job searchers. To this end, more than 70% of employees who feel that their organization cares about their wellbeing will recommend it to others.      

How Companies Are Applying Wellbeing Concepts 

There isn’t too much that HR can do about social status, physical health, location, or finances (although some companies provide free financial advising to employees). But when it comes to career, there are many programs that can be applied. Here are the top four ways in which companies are redesigning work around wellbeing:

  • More autonomy
  • Technologies for better remote connectivity
  • Flexible / predictable scheduling
  • Remote work opportunities

If these look familiar, then you’ve been reading up on employee flexibility. 

Want Wellbeing? Get Flexible

Employee flexibility (or workplace flexibility) involves an organization that permits employees to change when and where they do their job. Common options for employee flexibility include work from home (WFH), flex-time, remote work, telecommuting, and a compressed workweek. It’s often the case that an employee can pick from a range of flexibility modes. 

Workplace flexibility has always been possible for some employees, like traveling salespeople and consultants. But, during Covid-19, flexibility became the norm, with 93% of large employers offering these programs during the pandemic. Afterwards, it even became a demand for many workers, and is one of the reasons behind the Great Resignation.   

Companies start a flexibility initiative when they want to improve the work-life balance of employees. Intuitively, this makes a lot of sense. Finding the chance to improve non-career aspects of life means either doing more with existing free time, or working in ways that allow you to slip in personal affairs over the course of the workday. 

The facts bear this out. A 2022 study by the US Center for Disease Control looked at the effect of employee flexibility on job-related stress, job satisfaction, and health. The study found that working at home increased job satisfaction by 67%, while schedule changes decreased the likelihood of job stress by 20% and increased the likelihood of job satisfaction by 60%.

(Somewhat paradoxically, the study also discovered that WFH increased job-related stress by 26%. This is due to the interference of family matters during work time, and the related difficulties of being able to separate home life from professional life.)  

But That’s Not All

Flexibility is only one of the choices available to both HR and an employee wanting to boost wellbeing. Career health can be improved in many other ways, such as:

  • Internal mobility
  • Enhanced benefits and conditions
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Learning and development programs

Support Employee Flexibility with GrowthSpace

A change in the work environment requires a change of skills as well. For many employees, the switch to a remote office comes with challenges related to focus, motivation, and organization. 

For these and many other requirements, major HR organizations are turning to GrowthSpace. The GrowthSpace platform allows companies to deliver personalized L&D programs to workers at scale by automatically sourcing top-rated experts for even niche skills. Make sure that employees are ready for the move to a flexible environment with GrowthSpace.

Read more

The hidden potential of older workers: A strategic advantage
5 min read

The hidden potential of older workers: A strategic advantage

More experienced workers have lived through numerous technological revolutions—from the introduction of the personal computer to the rise of the internet and now AI. Their adaptability and capacity to learn new tools and technologies have been proven time and again. They are not only capable of understanding and utilizing new technologies but also offer the wisdom to apply these tools effectively within organizational contexts.

Discover the Growthspace difference