Perspectives, Trends & News

How to Manage Staff Wellbeing when WFH

on Tue Sep 09 2021
  • News

Bringing joy to a workplace.

It is easy to forget that fulfilling their employees' fundamental desires is a key way successful businesses achieve their goals. It's not just about salary and raises, it's about non-monetary factors as well. In short - employees want a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. It shows up time and again - from the CEO that took a pay cut and raised his staff's base salary to $70K, to research showing that praise, attention, and responsibility are the most appreciated forms of motivation. 

With the acceleration of WFH and telecommuting, it can be hard to assess how well your business is meeting these staff expectations, in particular how you’re nurturing their intrinsic needs when they’re working in isolation.

So, how can your business improve morale, retention, and staff wellbeing generally?

What does it mean to be happy at work?

Keeping staff self-motivated relies on the confluence of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. While undoubtedly many are enjoying unprecedented time-autonomy, are they being given the freedom to set their own priorities, are they developing their own capabilities, and how connected do they feel to your organization's purpose?

Often employees consider quitting their job because they feel undervalued and underappreciated. In a recent survey:

  • 64% of staff were looking for new work
  • 30% citing lack of recognition and appreciation as a reason 
  • 82% of employees wished they received more recognition, 
  • 92% agreed that when they are recognized for a specific action they are more likely to do it again in the future, and 
  • 90% said recognition motivates them to work hard.

How is working from home affecting the employees?

About two-thirds of Australians spend their time working from home, with 40% of Australians working from home full-time ever since 2020.

The increase in working from home happened much faster than other labour market changes.

(Supplied: Productivity Commission)

WFH has been a mixed blessing. Parents need to balance childcare with increased work responsibilities - 22% were always or often actively caring for children while working, while 15% of parents were passively doing so. For older Australians, it has forced them to embrace new technologies and ways of work that may feel difficult or foreign. 

For many others, there have been benefits to working from home. Many found working from home meant saving time and money by not having to commute to work. It was calculated that full-time employees take an average of 67 minutes commuting and $57 a day for time value

Moreover, employees are given a chance to maintain a balanced lifestyle as they have the power to manage their day. The ability to control their schedule allows employees to be more content as they accomplish and tick the boxes of their to-do lists for the day. 

However, managing wellbeing has proven more uneven. One study showed only 26% of Australians were encouraged to take short breaks during the working day, and just 21% were able to incorporate wellbeing initiatives into their daily activity.

As working from home may not suit every individual, it may affect them physically and mentally. Some may be more productive and perform better, whilst some may struggle trying to keep on track. The next question would be - how can employers make everyone happy?

Being happy: inside and outside of work.

Business owners and managers often think that productivity means work and no play. It is now a trend in workplaces that having fun is necessary in order to maximise efficiency and keep a positive work culture. Full-time employees spend at least one-third of their waking time working which eventually affects other areas of their lives. Happy employees are motivated in their jobs and contribute to the business by providing quality work. 

We need to keep in mind that success and productivity does not confine to work. It is also significant for employees to be successful in personal aspects as a positive mindset begets happiness. Which in the long run, means that employees will perform better at work as they are happy with their life. Needless to say, one can only manage their personal life. 

It is natural to understand that employees are a major asset to a business. Hence, employers should promote a fun work environment to avoid pushing their employees too far and stressing them out while working. Some workplaces influence employees to deny who they are and hinder their potential as often they are required to obey strict work policies and demands. Organising interactive activities, encouraging friendships, providing peer-to-peer feedback, and trying to accommodate each individual can help in elevating morale at a workplace.

Perhaps, businesses should create joy and extrinsic motivation by giving more attention and recognition to its employees. Less productivity and happiness from them only leads to a decrease in sales and operations, and potentially an increase in turnover rates. Remember to thank your employees for their hard work and dedication by organising immersive events where you can offer incentives and rewards. This can be monetary, or something more personalised like a customised gift card from True Rewards, you can initiate the movement and stimulate excitement at your workplace. Let loose and have fun!