by Ivonne Vargas, HR blogger at Glocalthinking.
The amount of information we find on how people’s mental health has changed as a result of the pandemic is infinite. However, it does not seem to be enough for some organizations where the question of whether or not to implement a wellness strategy, with a particular focus on mental health, arises.
If the unknown prevails, I suggest bringing some studies to the readings of the day, such as the Report on the State of Remote Work in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, published by the University of Puebla, UPAEP, and the Observatory of Competitiveness and New Forms of Work, organizations that together consulted more than 1,000 employees about the main mental health challenges they have observed when working at home.
Here are some findings:
- It is more sensitive: 44.1%
- Gets irritated more often: 35.9%
- Feel that small problems have turned into conflict situations: 31.6%
- Gets angry more easily: 33.6%
- You are more tired working from home: 62.1%
- Screams more than normal: 30.8%
- Headaches frequently: 40.1%
- Has suffered joint pain: 52.2%
- Feel tension in the neck or back: 59.5%
- Applying technology has generated stress: 37.1%
- Have suffered an anxiety attack: 30.4%
With these figures there is no alternative, we must have well-being strategies; developing and implementing them is also a valuable tool to attract talent and increase their commitment. How to start or strengthen this activity in companies? I suggest starting with four key aspects:
- Cancel the option to do nothing.
- Discover the real return on investment of the program.
- Forget traditional strategies.
- Focus on driving change, not just raising awareness.
In this first installment, let’s analyze the first two.
1.- Cancel the option to do nothing.
There has never been a more critical time to invest in employee health and wellness than today. This is the starting point. Surely the directors are aware of this need, but some areas still have no idea why it is necessary to have a budget for it. Mapping the cost of claims, for example, is urgent so that these figures give us “the necessary value” to invest in the subject and these are some examples:
In turn, absenteeism and presenteeism impact productivity. A survey published by the National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion showed that 30% of employees are taking leave for mental health reasons. Along with the impact the pandemic has had on physical health, organizations are being hit by productivity losses across the board. That is why it is important to keep in mind that the better the health of the employees, the less sick leave. You have to be clear about how much absenteeism and work accidents cost the company.
In turn, there is a decline in commitment, and it is a global problem. Data shows that 85% of employees do not feel connected to their work, according to figures from Gallup. However, among those who are inspired by their company culture to make decisions for their well-being, 80% say they are engaged and cite being satisfied with their job, team members, managers and benefits .
The phenomenon of the Great Renunciation
Employee turnover has hit a new high since the start of the pandemic, as scores of people are changing jobs or even careers. The phenomenon is so massive that the term “The Great Renunciation” was coined. Even before this, an organization was already four times more likely to experience a loss of talented workers if they were dissatisfied with promoting wellness. If we translate this into dollars, the cost of turnover and replacement ranges from 21% to 150% of an employee’s salary, depending on their skills, experience and industry.
It’s no wonder that one in four adults around the world have reported having depression or anxiety during the pandemic, with the economic uncertainty, the isolation, the stress. And employers around the world are feeling the effects with productivity and performance.
2.- Obtaining financing for a wellness program, already entering the field of return on investment, requires the design of a case in the company.
This can be achieved by working on the following points:
- Potential employees are more likely to stay with an employer that promotes wellness. In fact, 64% of workers who are satisfied with health promotion say they plan to stay at least five years with the organization. When health and wellness are actively promoted, companies are 2.5 times more likely to be seen as the best companies to work for, suggest specialists from Body Systems, a firm specializing in the implementation of a corporate wellness culture and programs.
- Regardless of the business model, it is the workforce that drives business results, so it needs to be healthy, engaged, motivated, satisfied and productive. To predict the profitability of your company in the following year or the satisfaction of your customers, measure the level of satisfaction, behavior and turnover of your employees for just one year and there you will find the answer if you have delayed the wellness plan.
- Additionally, when implemented correctly, wellness programs can go hand-in-hand with other initiatives. For example, they can be linked to workplace safety, through injury prevention or ergonomics initiatives, which are linked to lower rates of injury, absenteeism, and workers’ compensation.
It is a fact that there has never been a more urgent time than now to stay connected with employees. Now that remote work is the norm, it is essential that employers find a solution to bring their teams closer, wherever they are. In this case, a digital wellness program can work so that the whole team can join in anywhere.