Health at Work 

The importance of psychological well-being in the workplace

Are we facing a “human energy crisis”? The answer might be yes, at least according to Microsoft‘s Chief People Officer who says human beings are facing a ‘pandemic of burnout’ that is taking a toll on employees.[1]

Many industries are dealing with a wave of exhaustion, as workers strive to keep pace with everyday challenges while adapting to new ways of working.  

When looking to support stressed employees, managers tend to focus primarily on workload for a number of reasons, such as visibility in the office and interaction with concerned colleagues. A large body of research prior, throughout and now post-pandemic, points to the work environment and guidelines for work behavior as being of significant influence on employees physical and mental health.[2]

There are many factors that contribute to people’s happiness in the office workplace – a sense of purpose, positive relationships, autonomy and flexibility, recognition and feedback. Each of these is very much linked to “team psychological safety”, the concept first described by Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School in her 2018 book, The Fearless Organization.[3] Professor Edmondson noted that creating a safe environment could be empirically shown to improve corporate performance, but this was not universally accepted by many traditionalists. 

Research shows effects of the pandemic have a lasting impact on worker health.

During the pandemic, many employees around the world were confined to work from their homes for extensive periods. Many employees developed a strong sense of isolation that for some evolved into a comfort to be away from the office. The concerns around psychological safety evolved into a second branch, namely psychological well-being. This is a serious challenge for many human resource managers today, as confirmed in many recent studies.[4]

What employers can do is control the environment in which their employees work, and ultimately even the whole workplace experience. There is a strong link to smart offices, and by extension, software that helps employees to manage their time, interact with colleagues, secure resources and simplify their work-life balance. Employees want to be empowered to manage these new dimensions and need appropriate tools to do so. Evidence indicates that companies that have embraced these tools are improving both psychological safety and well-being in the workplace. 

The changes that followed the pandemic are leading to other longer-term, structural effects such as the significant vacancies of office space in major cities around the world. Building owners and landlords are now investing in creating attractive office spaces with more concepts focused on social interaction, encouraging employees to meet on-site and attracting tenants with a strong focus on employee wellness and corporate culture. 

Tools to improve employee well-being

Investing in software such as ROL Intelligent Office transforms the workplace experience for employees and offers important tools to mitigate wellness and health issues across organizations. Data-driven insights allow managers to identify issues earlier and be more proactive. Overall these tools are proving to be essential to create a healthier working environment. 

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