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Should you monitor employee wellbeing?

Published: Thursday 4th February 2021

With a national mental health crisis looming, making staff wellbeing a priority should be at the top of a company’s to-do list. As the pandemic continues to unfold, it impacts the mental health of countless individuals. And while trying to adjust to the changes to our lifestyles, such as remote working and self-isolating, it is imperative that employers are focusing on supporting mental health. That’s where tools and strategies to monitor employee wellbeing can prove essential. 

Why it’s important to monitor employee wellbeing

By monitoring employee wellbeing, you can make small but significant changes to improve the health and wellbeing for remote employees. When you have a consistently happy and healthy workforce, you will see an increase in employee motivation, productivity and engagement levels. Moreover, you will benefit from fewer absences and lower staff turnover. 

In fact, there’s plenty of research that shows a happy workforce increases performance and productivity in a business. Employees who feel physically and emotionally healthy are more likely to be engaged, productive and committed to their jobs.

Your workforce will also be more able to cope with the disruption and stress caused by the constant changes that covid-19 has brought. This is particularly the case if they’re juggling the job with looking after children, homeschooling, or taking care of loved ones who have been affected by coronavirus. 

Young woman who cannot leave the house in quarantine due to pandemic Covid-19, remote working employees.

Covid-19 and stress management

Social interaction is a major part of staff wellbeing. Feelings of isolation and loneliness could become common the longer working from home persists. Lower engagement, lower productivity and general unhappiness are then likely to set in. Therefore, monitoring employee wellbeing during covid as well as putting the right employee wellness programs in place is essential.

According to a recent survey by Mind, more than half of adults (60%) and over 65% of young people have said their mental health got worse during the lockdown. In particular, young people and those with pre-existing mental health conditions were more affected while employees who had been furloughed also reported a slight decline in their well being compared to others.

By monitoring staff wellness, you will be able to provide support when your employees need it. You can help reduce employee stress and burnout whilst increasing productivity and engagement. Monitoring staff wellbeing also provides an opportunity to reduce staff turnover and absenteeism.

How can employers measure workplace wellbeing of remote workers?

For employers and managers, perhaps one of the most important questions is how to monitor employee wellbeing when you’re not in the same building every day. That’s where HR and management has to step up with coordinated efforts and solutions, such as the following:  

  • Brief managers on the potential mental health implications of the ongoing pandemic. Make them aware of their specific roles and responsibilities in relation to supporting their teams.
  • Communicate regularly on wellbeing and mental health support. Work towards developing a company culture where it is acceptable to talk about and seek support for mental health issues.
  • Conduct regular mental health workplace surveys to understand the wellbeing of your employees as they experience/work through covid-19.

Don’t overstep the mark when monitoring employee wellbeing

Mental health is a sensitive topic for many people, including your employees. Therefore, while it’s important you support your staff, you don’t want to be asking intrusive questions that could make them feel uncomfortable or worse. Here is some advice on how to avoid overstepping the mark and remain mindful and proactive.

Hand choosing happy smile face paper cut, mental health assessment, monitor employee wellness survey concept.

Review your company policies

Your company should have a policy dedicated to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of your team as well as improving employee wellness. To monitor employee wellbeing efficiently, you should review such practices and policies, ensuring they reflect the current circumstances. 

For example, your policy should highlight the company’s approach to employee mental health, tackling causes of work-related stress and supporting those who are experiencing health problems. If employees feel as if their employer cares about their health and wellbeing, they will feel more comfortable raising a concern or opening up if they are struggling.

Recognise the signs 

Poor wellbeing can lead to changes in your employees’ behaviour, so it’s important, as an employer, that you know the signs. Look out for changes in normal behaviour, for example, has your employee become withdrawn or irritable? Have they changed their appearance? Even a lack of commitment can signal poor wellbeing. By identifying these signs early, you are in a better position to take action. You can then work with your employee to help them to deal with their problems, minimising further risk to their health. 

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