Over the past year we have all had to handle difficulties with work. There are those who are struggling to keep people employed, those who have lost their jobs, those who are worried they will lose their jobs and those whose jobs have become a hundred times busier as they try to make up for the roles of furloughed colleagues. With all those people struggling however, spare a thought for the wellbeing of those in HR.
In the past we have spoken about the role that stress plays in our work life, its impact on the work that we do and the problem that raises both for employers and employees. Throw in a global pandemic, and it’s perhaps little surprise that in 2020 stress-related leave for those in HR. The HR Review wrote that when e-days, a global absence management software, tracked different professions and their rate of stress-related absence over the last year, they found that HR professionals were among the top sectors to be experiencing high levels of stress in 2020.
Of course, they were not the only ones, work related stress has been a heightened issue across the board. The quoted research also highlighted that stress-related absence amongst healthcare workers rose by 146%, the Governmental and International Affairs sector saw a 39% rise, and overall, stress-related absences around the UK saw a 64%.
This presents us with two nationwide issues. The first is the health and wellbeing of individuals, and finding manageable ways to support them through and beyond difficult periods. The second is the wellbeing of businesses and how they can support employees and thereby ensure a happy, healthy company as well.
We know that unhappy, over-stressed employees is not good for a business, resulting in increased sick days and decreased productivity. This is one of the many reasons leading organisations invest in the wellbeing of their team – mentally, physically and emotionally, and that doing this had a significant impact. In a survey reported on by The Telegraph in 2015 it said “lost productivity for the most supportive companies measured 5.9% of the wage bill, compared with 10.7% for those with the worst ethos.”
While there is no online yoga class that will eliminate the impact of something as unexpected and challenging as the global pandemic we have all experienced, taking employee wellbeing into account as we begin to navigate a return to work is integral to making that transition easier and sustainable.
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