Working 9-5, we all know it, not only the classic Dolly Parton song but also the very common working schedule for millions in the UK. Over the years, we have slowly seen this shift, an early start to get on top of things, an extra half hour or so added to the end of the workday, that one-off Saturday shift, having lunch at your desk. During Covid times, we have seen time at the desk increase substantially, with almost all workers in the UK having to adapt to an ‘at home’ work-life.
Without conscious effort by management and colleagues in the online working sphere, we see no more casual chats with colleagues about the weekend, no more ‘can you check this for me quickly’ and no more office birthday cake! There are no more natural work time interruptions and perhaps an even a larger expectation on employees to produce more.
What we see is the separation between life and work is blurred. Forget balance. Without strict management, work-life can start to seep itself into every second of the day.
I have recently entered my career journey, and for me, it was difficult to adapt to the 40-hour workweek. I went from my flexible part-time job to a rather structured work environment. But luckily for me, I joined an organisation where psychological safety and employee wellbeing is a priority. It eased my transition into the workforce, and it is something I am very grateful for. Without this work culture, I would not have been able to thrive in the way I have, in the short time I have been with BetterSpace.
What is Wellbeing Time?
Wellbeing time is one avenue to try and create more balance for employees in a time of home working. At BetterSpace, wellbeing time refers to 4 hours a week to take as we please, so long as it is used to look after our wellbeing, in line with the six pillars of wellbeing model. Sometimes this includes time spent engaging with the BetterSpace platform.
My wellbeing time is usually used to manage stress, both personal and professional. For example, I often hike with my partner to get out of my head and back into nature. Some of my colleagues have used it to give blood, some have used it to go to exercise classes, some to get some sleep and well-needed rest, some (maybe me) have used it to just sit on a patch of grass and feel the sun, to help the stress of the day float away.
Does it impact productivity?
An important question to ask, but fear not. In Deloitte’s 2020 report, for every £1 invested in employee wellbeing, the company makes £5 in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.
Let me give you a personal anecdote. I love to run. I am not the fastest, and I certainly do not run the furthest, but it is something that when I was working part-time, would always have priority in my day. During my first weeks at BetterSpace, like any person starting a new job, my mind often got cluttered trying to figure out the ins and outs of my new career.
Being allowed to take time to run gave me the ability to work smarter, clearing the clutter from my mind.
But personal anecdotes can only go so far. So instead, let me ask you a few questions.
- How productive are you when you are tired vs when you are well-rested?
- How productive are you when you are hungry vs when you have had a satiating meal?
- Do you produce the best quality work when you are stressed and anxious or motivated and excited?
Employees are happier, healthier and produce better quality work when they have good mental health. So it is a no brainer, look after your employees, and they will look after you.
Making it work in your organisation
Every organisation is different. What works for us at BetterSpace may not work, copy and pasted into another organisation with different organisational structures and missions. For example, hospitality workers do not have the luxury of taking an hour off in the middle of a shift on a busy summer’s day. Smaller businesses may have more freedoms and can work with each employee individually to create a genuinely holistic and personalised wellbeing plan.
The important thing is to start.
Jim, CEO of BetterSpace, wrote a compelling blog series on Employee Burnout. It is a fascinating read when considering a holistic wellbeing strategy for your organisation, which may include wellbeing time. Find part 1 here.
Ever-increasing work hours and decreased connection to the people we spend most of our working week with will inevitably lead to individuals putting less priority on their wellbeing. UNLESS we decide to make wellbeing a strategic priority.
Wellbeing time is just one aspect that should be considered as part of a holistic wellbeing strategy.
BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs.
This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.
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