June 13, 2022

Understanding the Well-Being Movement

A major focus in the world today is well-being. We have seen many posts and articles that dive into physical, mental and emotional well-being. What we have also seen is a myriad of solutions to address the issues associated with these topics.

Let’s dissect a few of these.

Work from Home (WFH) – WFH has been a major topic of discussion since the pandemic first started in early 2020. At the time, roughly 10% of the workforce was remote, now we sit at ~40% of workers at home exclusively or part-time. Remote workers that were surveyed reported that they were 22% happier than workers who always work onsite. On the flipside those that WFH tend to work more hours which can contribute to burnout. Finding the right balance is key and a hybrid role may be the sweet spot for most people.

The 4 Day Work Week – At this time, it has not yet been broadly adopted and we certainly remain skeptical about this approach. We believe it’s only a band-aid for solving some of the workplace issues that adversely impact our well-being. According to 4-day week, a global a non-profit, 78% of employees with 4-day work weeks are happier and less stressed. The concern with this is that salaried employees may see no impact on stress, if needing to meet the same overall output.

Unlimited PTO – This is another measure that has not been widely adopted as of yet. We find this to be potentially harmful to well-being. The ambiguity here can create another cause of stress for employees. Not having structure can create concerns that an employee may be abusing a generous policy and therefore may take less time off. According to Fortune Magazine only 9% of employers offer this perk.  This policy sounds good in theory, but the results are mixed in practice. It is only as good as the company culture or the boss that’s administering it.

Employee Assistance Programs – These programs offer support to employees on substance abuse, mental health, legal troubles etc. Over the last 20 years we have seen a two-fold increase in employers providing this benefit to their employees. Looking at a SHRM article from late 2019 we see that under 10% of employees actually use these programs. The reason could be that many people don’t trust that their information will remain private or that these programs are ineffective.

What does this mean?

As we know, we are in the midst of a “Great Resignation”. There are several factors contributing to this including burn-out and a push for overall well-being. It is important to understand the shift that companies are taking to combat this and what the real and implied benefits are.

Our sentiment is that we will only see change to well-being when the output expected becomes more reasonable and companies resource their teams more appropriately.

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