HomeStrategy & LeadershipWorkforce PlanningEmployee wellbeing is crucial to productivity and workforce planning  

Employee wellbeing is crucial to productivity and workforce planning  

  • 5 Min Read

Over 269,000 employees resigned in 2024’s first quarter, 72% prioritizing wellness. This exodus indicates a critical shift in the modern workforce: employee wellbeing is no longer a perk, but a necessity for business survival.

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Tina Woods
CEO and Founder of Business for Health

Statistics show that more and more individuals are seeking greener employment pastures. In the first quarter of 2024, approximately 269,000 resignations took place. With recent studies showing that 72% of people consider wellness a key factor when considering staying with an employer, it is clear we must prioritise the wellbeing of the workforce. 

When considering wellbeing among the wider population, there are a myriad of benefits to the individuals, but these extend far beyond the individual to the economy and wider society.  

Building a healthy workforce is key to supporting productivity 

Not only does wellness play a role in employee retention, but factors like tiredness, high stress, and poor mental health have a major impact on productivity. When employees suffer from challenges relating to poor health, these struggles inevitably impact their individual working lives.  

Individuals who are struggling with burnout, anxiety and lack of energy will struggle to deliver their best work consistently. Employees dealing with high stress and mental health challenges often find it harder to maintain the energy, concentration and drive necessary for peak productivity.  

Poor mental health can also impair an employee’s capacity for clear, strategic thinking, making it harder for them to tackle complex challenges effectively. Those suffering with ill health may also struggle to find a sense of purpose (or indeed, are depressed because they can’t fulfil or achieve their purpose), which then reduces their motivation and, ultimately, productivity.  

Data from HCML shows that 95% of individuals presenting with mental health issues at work  had personal stressors worsening their overall health. Those stressors can bleed into daily lives, their work, and their communities. 

On the other hand, individuals who are physically and mentally fit tend to be more productive, creative and driven. They’re less likely to call in sick, make mistakes or seek greener pastures. 

Taking this together it is clear that investing in wellness is a smart business strategy and should be top of the agenda for any business that wants to attract and retain employees while boosting productivity.  

Sleeping on wellness  

One of the most fundamental aspects of wellness is sleep.  

A good night’s sleep is essential for energy levels, focus, and overall performance. Yet studies show that a staggering 71% of employees rate their sleep as “average” or worse.  

This epidemic of sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of factors.  While most out of these factors are outside the control of employers, supporting employees with establishing healthier sleep habits can still pay huge dividends in terms of boosting productivity, morale and retention. This can be done through supporting a healthier work/life balance for employees by reducing after-hours demands and encouraging employees to take breaks from their desks to avoid sedentary behaviour and excessive screentime.  

Healthy stress versus overly stressed  

Of course, sleep is just one piece of the wellness puzzle. Sleep can be affected by workplace stress, another major culprit behind the resignation spike, with 65% of people citing heavy workloads as a key contributing factor.  

While a certain level of stress can be motivating for some employees, and indeed help them thrive, too much of it for others can quickly develop into burnout. Employers need to carefully monitor workloads and be willing to adjust them when necessary to ensure staff do not reach a point where their work life is impacting their personal life to a degree where they become unable to do their job.  

By fostering a culture of open communication and emotional support, individuals can feel comfortable discussing their stress levels with employers which will empower business to understand when are where help needs to be introduced.  

Addressing toxicity  

Above all, we must focus on addressing toxic workplaces, hostile employment arrangements and dangerous conditions that contribute to the deterioration of the health of our workforce. 

When employees are subjected to constant negativity, bullying, or a lack of support from management, it can lead to increased stress, burnout, and potentially, more serious mental health issues.  

This, in turn, can result in higher turnover, absenteeism, and decreased job satisfaction. A recent study has revealed that one in three people have left jobs due to a negative work culture.  

Fostering a positive, supportive, and collaborative work environment can enhance employee engagement, boost morale, and foster a more productive and innovative workforce. By prioritising the identification and resolution of toxic behaviours, businesses can create a healthier, more inclusive, and ultimately more successful work culture. 

Reinvesting in people to build resilience  

The business case for prioritising employee wellness is clear.  

Businesses that make this a key strategic priority are far more likely to attract and retain top talent, maintain high productivity levels, and weather the storms of economic uncertainty. In a tight labour market where skilled workers have more options than ever, companies prioritising wellbeing will be the ones that come out on top. 

The number of resignations seen over the past year is a good reminder for forward-thinking businesses to get ahead of the curve, reinvest in their people, and build a workforce that is resilient, engaged, and positioned for long-term success.  

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