As we celebrate World Wellbeing Week this blog looks at methods which companies can adopt to support the employees who work for them.
- Consider offering genuinely flexible working
Changes in the law in June 2014 meant that staff could apply for flexible working even if they didn’t have children or acted as someone’s carer. Now, any employee who has 26 weeks’
continuous service is entitled to make one written request for flexible working within a 12-month period. There are exceptions though, for example, if they are a member of the armed forces or an agency worker. However, if they are an agency worker who has employee status, has been continuously been employed for a period of no less than 26 weeks or is returning to work from maternity or paternity leave they will be able to make a request.
As an employer, you should have a set policy in place that can be accessed by all your employees. All applications for flexible working should be made directly from employee to employer and stick to what is set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Where a request for flexible working is accepted by the business it must be documented appropriately and reviewed with the employee. Powwownow’s Flexible Working survey 2017 states that 67% of employees wish they were offered flexible working, and 58% of people believe that working away from the office would help them be more motivated with 40% of respondents advising they would choose flexible working and being able to work away from the office over a pay increase. Work has changed dramatically with the technology advances of the 21st century allowing for home working, remote working and hours being worked out with the nine-to-five. By implementing and offering flexible working there is a huge opportunity for innovative businesses to grow the diversity within their talent pool and increase their competitive advantage. The UK is already facing a skills gap and if a business is not offering the most competitive benefits, including flexible working, recruiting the best candidates may suffer greatly.
- Provide equal pay and offer support to employees with their financial wellbeing
CIPD advise “Integral to any successful well-being programme is an understanding of the importance of how financial concerns can affect employee mental and physical health, as well as a recognition that, as income providers, organisations play a vital role in their workers’ financial lives. Stress caused by pay levels, lack of financial awareness or an absence of employee benefits can affect work performance. In addition, the perception that their contributions are not being acknowledged can have an impact on employee self-esteem, health and productivity.” Financial well-being not only affects individual workers but it also impacts business efficiency and performance, as the CIPD report helps to illustrate; one in four workers state money worries have affected their ability to do their job successfully, one in ten say they have found it difficult to concentrate and make decisions at work because of money worries and 19% have lost sleep worrying about financial issues, all of which impact productivity. For every £1 million an organisation spends on payroll, there is an estimated 4% loss in productivity due to poor employee financial well-being (Barclays 2014). Ways in which the business can help include signposting employees to online budgeting/saving/retirement modellers or calculators or external sources of free help for example debt charities, Citizen Advice etc.
- Consider a wellbeing strategy
- Training mental health first aiders to spot potential issues. There are several free or low cost training initiatives available both face to face and online.
- Providing more opportunities for people to talk. Everyone can suffer from mental ill-health, it’s totally normal, so talking about it in bulletins, newsletters or through initiatives like the Mental Health Awareness week, can help reduce the anxiety or shame that some people feel about raising these topics especially informal peer led conversations.
- Set up weekly walks at lunchtime to encourage people to take a break. Employees over the age of 18 are legally entitled to a minimum of a 20 minute unpaid break after working for 6 hours.
- Monitor absence patterns to see if someone has sporadic absence. Stress can have physical symptoms such as regular colds or upset tummies. Have back-to-work interviews to try to get to the bottom of issues.
- Provide access to a GP or other health service so people have the opportunity to talk about their issues with a trained professional. Prevention is better than cure, but at any stage, help can be provided.
If we can help you with wellbeing strategies or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610