The Importance of Employee Health and Wellbeing

During Mental Health Awareness Week last week, iaconnects reviewed a number of articles and reports regarding the importance of health and well-being amongst their organisation.

According to Aon, over 80% of employers are looking to improve education and awareness on health-related issues, with the importance of employee wellbeing, accelerated by the pandemic, rightly making its way to the forefront of organisations thinking and KPI decisions.

Since the start of the pandemic, the work-life balance has been affected in a number of ways, with barriers affecting our professional lives regularly changing. It has been widely reported that the pandemic has had a negative impact on mental health, with Young Minds reporting that 67% of young people polled believing the negative effects will be long term.

The pandemic has caused many people to change their way of life, such as having children or pets making unscheduled appearances on zoom calls or adjusting to permanently working on your kitchen table and apologising for your poor Wi-Fi connection. As the world slowly starts to emerge from the restrictions put in place to combat the transmission of covid-19, employees will begin to return to the workplace. The new stresses from working at home full time have started to become the norm, but one article on LinkedIn suggests that many workers also feel a sense of dread and anxiety about returning to the office.

It is widely considered that the working environment will not return to normal straight away, with the much talked about shift towards hybrid working likely to become reality. Employers should not underestimate the fact that a percentage of their workforce will have genuine anxieties about being thrown back into the hustle and bustle of society, and make allowances for this.

Stuart Templeton, the Head of UK at Slack states “workplaces need to champion mental wellbeing because employees who are cared for and supported will be inspired to do their best work”. Stuart suggests a number of ways employers can help employees:

  • Create a culture that champions employee wellbeing and provides workers with the right tools to be productive, both at home and in the new-look office environment
  • Offer flexibility for working hours and locations
  • Instead of hoarding information and decision-making, businesses should share knowledge openly as a default and push decision-making to the front lines
  • Make employee wellbeing a priority and actively fight burnout
  • Avoid being biased towards proximity and only favouring those in the office

There will be no one size fits all solution for all organisations, but using these points about as a guideline could have a positive impact on your employees.

 

How can IoT solutions help with employee wellbeing? 

The latest blog post from Arkessa references a global survey of 32,000 workers carried out by Steelcase (makers of furniture and designers of spaces) found that 95% of those working remotely would like to return to shared office spaces.  However, the survey also exposed many common areas of concern. 

People counting solutions can provide several lifelong benefits for a workplace such as monitoring occupancy levels in meeting rooms, analysing the correlation between maximum capacity and actual capacity. If larger meeting rooms are rarely used to their full capacity, they could they be changed into multiple smaller rooms.

The addition of 3rd party applications for visualisation, reporting and booking can provide value to employees and building owners alike. Applications such as iOFFICE can aid flexible working environments due to the pre-booking and covid compliance capabilities.

Dozens of the world's top experts in how diseases spread have called for big improvements to the air in buildings. They say current rules on ventilation are failing to stop infections, including Covid-19.

The report includes a proposal for public places to have "ventilation certificates", like those for hygiene. One of the contributors, Dr Julian Tang, says that by having that reassurance about air quality, "we will see restaurants more easily regaining diners' trust, and employees more confidently returning to offices".

The paper also quotes “estimates that improving ventilation to reduce airborne infections would add less than 1% to the cost of a typical building”. If this is correct, it will be very difficult for building owners to argue against making these improvements. In the first instance, they could collect and analyse air quality data to monitor ventilation in spaces, paving the way for reduced virus transmission rates.

iaconnects realises business benefits for industry by providing sensors, connectivity, control devices and software for delivering value with the Internet of Things (IoT). 


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