Gethin Nadin: How the future of work will affect employee wellbeing and engagement

The way employers care for and support their people has come under increasing focus over the last two years. But the long-term effects of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic will mean changing employee expectations and growing wellbeing issues are driving employers to have to commit more to employee wellbeing.

We have seen a generational shift in attitudes to wellbeing because of the pandemic. Google searches for “wellbeing”, investment in wellbeing companies and sales of wellbeing products and services have all boomed over the last few years. As a result, employees are now far more likely to agree that their employer has a responsibility over the way they feel physically and mentally than they did in 2019. What this means is that wellbeing has emerged as a critical part of the employee value proposition.

As well as remuneration, development and opportunity, employees now want organisations to show how they will support them through the inevitable challenges they will face in their lives. How will you help an employee get on the property ladder? How do you support someone who is facing a mental health crisis and how are you helping your people to live happy and fulfilling lives? These are all the types of questions new candidates will be looking to find answers to if they want to come and work for you.

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But as well as these changing expectations, the significant influence the pandemic has had on our collective wellbeing can’t be ignored. A large mental health echo pandemic will see employers dealing with an increased number of employee wellbeing issues for many years to come.

In addition to this, the future will see far less of us working in the same location or interacting with each other as regularly as we used to. This means employers will be dealing with issues related to increased hybrid and remote working such as loneliness, disconnection and more sedentary lifestyles.

There has never been so much demand for employers to do more to support their people. From investors to consumers and the government, all eyes are looking towards employers to provide better proactive wellbeing support. But the payoff for those who get it right is huge, with enough evidence now to prove a statistically significant correlation between employee wellbeing and organisational success.

Gethin Nadin is chair for the Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought Action Group