Workplace wellbeing is key to business performance. Those who embrace it will benefit. Those who do not will suffer.

If 2022 was the year that workplace wellbeing came into the spotlight, then 2023 is the year it becomes a star.

The link between wellbeing and performance has been well and truly solidified in the minds of all and sundry and now comes the time when this must be acted on, lest businesses be left behind by those who are using this connection to their strategic advantage.

To help you plan your wellbeing approach this year, here are 5 things we see having a big impact on the business landscape and how to take advantage of them.

A focus on people – employee experience.

The ‘employee experience’ is more than just a buzz term, it’s one of the most important and all-encompassing areas of any people strategy.

How your staff feel about coming to work each day will have a huge impact on the work they create and how long they’re willing to create it for you.

When you combine an increasingly competitive talent market with a growing trend of high performers burning out, the workplaces who create the best employee experience will tend to attract and retain the best talent and keep them producing their best work over a long period of time.

Accepting wellbeing as a core value – commitment > resources.

Wellbeing is not a fad. It is central to the human experience and whilst some companies will still treat it as an annoying trend they need to be a part of and throw money at, more and more will adopt it as a core value.

The irony is that the companies that truly commit to wellbeing and ingrain it into their everyday practices will see tangible benefits, even without spending large amounts, whilst the ones who sit by and throw money at it without truly realising its potential will likely see no return on their investment.

Redefining flexibility – individual flex agreements.

Flexible work is having an enormous impact on productivity and wellbeing but it’s not exactly perfect.

Deloitte report showed that while flexibility is so important to workers that 2 in 3 of them would forego a pay rise to improve theirs, 1 in 3 of them are working more hours than before without additional compensation.

Part of the blame for this falls on the fact that most people and companies are still tinkering with flex work and have yet to find the right balance.

The solution for this will be a move towards individual flex agreements.

This is a simple agreement between workers and their managers about what work needs to be delivered, and where, when and how the worker is able/willing/expected to deliver it.

This clears up all confusion and allows all parties to respect each other’s boundaries and operate within the parameters that allow them to produce their best work.

Companies that adhere to a blanket flex policy will continue to struggle with teething problems whilst those that move to individual flex agreements will discover and mitigate those problems far more quickly and efficiently.

Dedicated wellbeing personnel – outsourcing for impact.

Whilst wellbeing is incredibly important and every People Department should address it meaningfully, much of it requires a skillset that not everyone has.

This means that in order to get the best impact, at least a portion of the planning and execution will need to be outsourced to experienced wellbeing consultants.

This will take many forms, from bringing in a consultant to assist with crafting a wellbeing strategy, to having an onsite wellbeing practitioner who is responsible for anything from one-on-one health consultations to ergonomics, to lunch and learn presentations and more.

Committing to wellbeing is the most important first step companies can make and outsourcing to experts is a sure-fire way to ensure that commitment is executed properly, meaning the current talent pool of dedicated wellbeing personnel will continue to grow in both number and skill.

Sustainable ways of working – decrease capacity to increase output. 

In many ways, burnout was a central theme of 2022, with half of workers saying they feel burnt out at work. This is an unsustainable trend and one that needs to be reversed in order for companies to move forward.

For this reason, 2023 will give rise to more sustainable ways of working, namely, decreasing total capacity to increase long-term quality output.

This could mean shorter hours, lower workloads, or a shift to a 4 day work week, whose benefits have already been proven in several countries, including Australia.

This may seem counter-intuitive, working less to produce more, but over time the benefits of this practice will become so clear that we’ll wonder how we did it any other way.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and these predictions certainly need to be expanded upon (don’t worry, well be doing that all throughout the year) but they are a jumping off point for any people manager to start thinking strategically about how to enhance the wellbeing of those in their care and use it to produce higher quality work more consistently and with less issues.

Suffice it to say that 2023 will be the year that wellbeing truly takes the floor and we can either choose to ignore it and pay the price or get ahead of it and reap the rewards.

We’ll be delving into these and many more topics in each addition of this newsletter so keep an eye out for it and please do give us any feedback or questions you might have along the way.

We love getting your feedback, whether it’s nice to hear or tough to hear, it’s all useful.

Want to know more about workplace wellness? Book in for a free, 30 minute discovery call here.

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