Carl Chapman, associate & head of workplace health, Barnett Waddingham writes a blog series explaining what wellbeing really means
Barnett Waddingham's Carl Chapman is writing a blog series on Eudaimonia using the Greek alphabet as a reference point to give insight into how this old concept can significantly improve your business performance by maximising output from your greatest asset.
Λ λ – lambda
It’s a Sunday afternoon and instead of watching the football I have decided to write my Monday blog to save myself some time tomorrow morning; and more so because my beloved Norwich City were relegated last year and I now have zero interest in premier league football (until next year).
Is my work encroaching on my home life? Yes! Do I mind? No. Let’s talk work / life balance.
Possibly the biggest thing for an employee is to have a good work / life balance, a feeling that they don’t just exist to work and that they still have time to do the things they want or need to do by having some flexibility in when they work.
I find it both amusing and concerning that as a nation we are very near the top of EU tables when it comes to working hours but very near the bottom when looking at productivity. I think a lot of this is cultural and not something we can easily change but I do also think there remains a belief that if you work longer hours it will be assumed you are working harder and therefore you will be rewarded for your effort. This is obviously not the only cause though, is it that we expect too much from our employees, do we give them too much work?
I’m sure we would all much prefer our employees to work at close to 100% capacity for 5 or 6 hours a day (taking regular breaks obviously) than working at 50% capacity for 8 or 9 hours a day. The problem is that if your customers or the people you do business with are working a 9 to 5 day then it means that in most cases you must also work a 9 to 5 day.
I do however think the way we work will fundamentally change over the next decade, I think we will see even more flexible and agile working and if we do then employers will need to rethink some of the support they offer their employees; working alone is not good for us long term.
I think the key is to give as much choice as possible to employees but creating boundaries that ensure the business does not suffer. Choice is a very simple but extremely powerful concept. After all if I was forced to sit here and write this blog on a Sunday afternoon then I would say it had a negative effect on my work life balance, as I was given the choice to decide for myself then the complete opposite is true.
Μ μ – mu
Next up, communication.
It is absolutely vital that when we help our clients build benefits and wellbeing strategies pertinent to the risks that exist within the workforce using Eudaimonia and the 6 pillars ideology that we also help them communicate that strategy effectively and importantly let the end user (the employee) access the strategy when needed.
The communication piece is often considered last and as a result mostly fails to do the job properly. You cannot possibly hope to gain a return on investment from the benefits you offer employees if they are not aware of them or if they do not understand them.
In the past communication of benefits was probably someone like me standing in a room of employees talking about different benefits for an hour or so. These days’ most people (especially millennials) do not want to be communicated to like this, they want to use technology to access the wider strategy and pick out the bits relevant to them. As a result what we must do is make the component parts of the wider strategy digestible to the person on the street, shoving a technical guide in front of someone’s face will not suffice.
I believe that when you add choice into the equation employers have an obligation to educate employees on the choices they are being offered and this makes the whole communication piece even more important.
At Barnett Waddingham our technology Me2 has been designed to intuitively signpost each individual employee to the parts of the strategy that are most relevant to them. We don’t recommend products but if we know that financial security is an issue for that particular employee then we will signpost them firstly to this part of the strategy within Me2.
My advice; think about communication from day one, it is a very important part of the journey.