Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Ever since the start of the pandemic, two and a half years ago already (!), well-being has been a much-discussed topic within organisations. First, it was mainly about making sure employees did not catch covid; then, about how to help them cope with enforced remote working. Now that lockdowns have long been lifted in most places and hybrid working has taken hold, it seems many organisations are unsure of what to do next about well-being.
Employees, less so. Well-being and related topics are consistently high on employees’ lists of what makes a good workplace. According to Microsoft’s worldwide Work Trend Index 2022, the top three aspects of work that employees value, besides pay, are a positive culture (46%), mental health and well-being benefits (42%), and a sense of purpose or meaning (40%). This is mirrored in the top three reasons people quit: personal well-being or mental health (24%), work-life balance (24%), and the risk of getting covid (21%). As we argued in our earlier whitepaper about hybrid and flexible working, most of these employee concerns predate the pandemic. They were just not prioritised then, and that is a real risk again ‘now that covid is over’, as quite a few leaders seem to assume.
What to do about well-being?
At OrangeTrail, we think workplace well-being should be integral to the design of all ways of working. It relates to every aspect of working life, such as the quality and safety of the physical environment, how workers feel about their work, their working environment, the climate at work, and work organisation. We identify ten areas that contribute to workplace well-being:
Managing stress from digital tools
Giving and receiving feedback
These areas are covered in our playbook for flexible work, which we developed with one of our large clients and is now in use by them worldwide. The playbook has three elements that help employees and managers re-invent and refine their hybrid or remote working habits.
The first is a set of common work scenarios to help employees and managers identify their specific situation and needs. Toolkits are the second element, with step-by-step guides and checklists that they can implement on their own or with their team. Third are best practices: ideas, tips, and tricks that they can use to solve everyday working issues.
The playbook is the foundation of our well-being program, but the content is just the start. The challenge is to make it stick. Our program consists of two phases, each separated into interventions at team and at organisational level.
Phase 1 is a scan to explore what workplace well-being looks like and what employees expect from their employers in terms of well-being. At team level, we run a scan to identify areas the team would like to tackle, combined with a session or pre-interview with the team lead. At organisational level, we interview key stakeholders and decision-makers and review any existing engagement or climate surveys.
Phase 2 consists of workplace well-being coaching and campaigns. At team level, we run:
A workplace well-being workshop aimed at establishing team agreements that address the pain points identified in the scan.
A three-week challenge to test out the team agreements. This ends in an assessment in the form of a workshop, asynchronous feedback, or retrospective.
A Tips & Tricks campaign to support the challenge.
We scale up to the organisation level by using learnings from the team level activities:
Sharing of success stories resulting from the team process.
A Tips & Tricks campaign based on learnings and successful material from the team coaching.
A survey to measure the effectiveness of the process.
In this way, we help make an immediate impact on well-being for employees throughout the whole organisation.