Leaders Can Increase the Happiness of Their Employees by Making 3 Simple Choices

Since the onset of the pandemic, the focus on health and wellbeing in the workplace has grown in importance. As a result, these topics have become key indicators of a positive company culture.

In addition, as high rates of turnover continue to rise, business leaders have had to shift what they offer to attract and retain talent, and providing flexibility and support is no longer simply “nice to have.”

A new report from Ergotron, The Evolving Office: Empowering Employees to Work Vibrantly in 2022, revealed timely insights into what 1,000 employees in the U.S. want in order to stay happy and healthy at work.

Here are three considerations leaders can take to ensure a happier and healthier workforce:

1. Support physical health

According to the CDC, how employees feel can directly impact how productive they are. Therefore, aside from being an empathetic leader, it’s also imperative to promote a culture that supports physical and mental well-being for employees.

According to Ergotron’s survey, 63% of the average workday is spent seated, with employees sedentary for 5.04 hours of an 8-hour workday. Leaders should encourage their employees to step away from their desks, stretch and move to boost well-being in the office and when remote.

Chad Severson, CEO of Ergotron, says, “One of my favorite ways to promote a healthy culture is to have walking meetings. Whether it’s in-person around the office building or at home around the neighborhood, it’s beneficial to schedule time to get up and move while getting work done.”

2. Promote a flexible work schedule

The standard 9-5 no longer exists as the lines between work and life have blurred for those in a hybrid workplace model. For many employees, it’s unclear if we’re working at home or living at work. Rather than avoiding this reality, leaders should lean into the flexibility that working from home can bring to their employees and embrace the benefits a flexible work schedule provides.

Although 40% of respondents in The Evolving Office survey claimed to be working more hours now that they are remote, the overwhelming majority (88%) believe that the flexibility to work from home or the office has increased their job satisfaction. Leaders should take note and allow their employees to make their own schedules to ensure their work gets done alongside their other roles, such as caregiving for children or other family members.

3. Offer voluntary benefits to energize the work culture

According to Deloitte, today’s CEO must be “health-savvy” and recognize that company decisions related to health and well-being deeply impact company culture. One area that can make or break effective talent acquisition is the availability of voluntary benefits.

These are the benefits offered in addition to medical, dental and vision. Studies indicate that voluntary benefits that support mental health and well-being positively impact a hybrid workforce and help keep employees happy.

Over the past year, only 30% of Evolving Office respondents say their company introduced new benefits such as wellness programs that support physical and mental health. Looking ahead, leaders should find ways to remain competitive while showing employees that a healthy workforce is a key part of the business plan.

“It’s important that although our employees are missing the in-person connection of working together, they still feel that their overall health and well-being are supported,” said Severson. “To help, we have provided employees with stipends to promote wellness and meet their individual workspace needs at home.”

Strategic plans and business priorities typically focus on financial targets and other growth-related key performance indicators. Consequently, employee health and well-being have not received the same attention.

In today’s ever-shifting work environment, adding employee well-being as a core business strategy is vital to up-level company culture and attract and retain talent.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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