A happy and healthy workforce is the key to any successful business. Employee well-being can help create a positive working environment, minimize overall stress levels, and increase employee engagement and satisfaction. At the same time, job stressors and negative mental health at work have serious consequences.

The Manager’s Role in Promoting Well-being

Managers play a key role in balancing team well-being and achieving results. It can be uncomfortable and overwhelming for managers to promote employee well-being. Most struggle to find practical solutions that they can bring to their teams.

According to Gallup, a manager’s role is to create an environment that empowers employees to manage their own well-being. Follow the four steps below to create an environment that fosters well-being.

  1. Invite: Do not push employees to celebrate well-being but advocate the importance of a healthy lifestyle and help employees prioritize their well-being.
  2. Provide:  Provide a welcoming, approving, and safe environment that actively encourages employees to participate in well-being practices.
  3. Model: Managers should share personal well-being practices, providing examples of well-being in action.
  4. Care: Managers should express genuine care about employee well-being by encouraging employees to set well-being goals and following up on progress.

The Pandemic’s Consequence on Employees’ Well-being

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the workplace and wreaked havoc on employee well-being. A well-being report found that 45% of employees were worse off in mental health and 42% in social connections at work during the lockdown. It is reported that the most common stressor is workload followed by management style and the work-life imbalance when working from home (WFH). 1 in 4 employees reported feeling stressed due to non-work-related factors (e.g., relationships and family). Managers are left to their own devices to help their teams deal with various stressors, and improve well-being, while still delivering on performance goals.

As a consequence, managers are the most susceptible to having low well-being.

Common Causes of Low Employee Well-being and Solutions for Managers

It should benefit managers to understand that low well-being may be caused by work and non-work-related factors. Managers should be accountable for resolving work-related stressors while providing the opportunity for their employees to manage non-work-related issues too. It is futile to garner alignment and push for performance from those with low well-being.

Here are common contributing factors and what you can do as a manager to help your teams overcome them.

Cause

What it’s about

What you can do

Loneliness

Loneliness occurs when employees feel the absence of connectedness and a lack of social relationships. Lonely employees tend to withdraw from their coworkers, stop communicating and interacting with their peers, and stop participating in group activities. The feeling of loneliness and isolation can lead to self-doubt and insecurity, decreased engagement, reduced motivation at work, and can lead to depression.

🎯Set up team-building activities or team lunches


🎯Show interest in the team members' lives outside of work


🎯Set up one-on-ones for employees to share their feelings and thoughts

Stress

Stress contributes to a range of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms that can impact employee well-being. High-stress levels can decrease the employees’ ability to focus and make decisions. It can also lead to physical discomforts such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. Extensive workloads and poor workplace relationships are amongst the top causes of work-related stress. 

🎯Review workloads and distribute them optimally 


🎯Reduce the number of unnecessary meetings or video calls


🎯Consider flexible working arrangements 

Exhaustion

Exhaustion happens when employees feel worn-out and drained due to a long period of constant stress. It is also one of the signs of burnout. Employees who experience exhaustion often feel that they lack a sense of control over what happens at work and in their personal lives. This results in poor sleep, decreased energy, and decreased motivation at work. Employees who are emotionally exhausted might demonstrate changes in job performance such as failure to meet deadlines, lower productivity and commitment, and increased absenteeism. 


🎯Allow employees to take regular breaks or naps


🎯Limit over time by giving it on an approval-only basis


🎯Provide employees with healthy foods that are good sources of energy

Insecurity

Common workplace insecurities center around themes such as salary, workload, recognition, advancement, relationships, performance, success of others, confidence, and job stability. Insecure employees might fear losing their job, lack self-confidence, and feel anxious about their goals, performance, abilities, or relationships with others. The feelings of insecurity can lead to decreased motivation and productivity, stress, and burnout.

🎯Conduct regular pulse surveys and act on feedback to show that the employees’ opinions matter


🎯Recognize your employees for putting in the right effort, even if the results are lagging


🎯Communicate to employees exactly what is expected of them 


🎯Provide training opportunities that promote growth and development

The actions managers take play an integral role in the well-being of their teams. Employee well-being impacts productivity, engagement, and collaboration. Managing well-being starts by understanding the cause, and that’s where pulse surveys and one-on-one conversations are essential. Stress and workload are often the factors attributed to low well-being, but other factors are prevalent and require different solutions.

Managers should advocate for and support well-being at work by setting a good example of a healthy lifestyle and expressing genuine care for others. Meanwhile, managers should not take sole responsibility for their team’s well-being. Instead, they should focus on creating the right environment and providing support.

Happily.ai helps managers improve well-being with real-time insights and nudges that provide timely interventions. Managers can have a pulse on their teams and quickly identify those stressed or experiencing low well-being. Make well-being a top priority today and learn more about Happily.ai here.

Happily.ai | Engage and develop your teams and leaders to build a winning culture
Enable your teams to perform their best. Get the employee engagement, embedded values, and positive relationships that create a workplace people love

References

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236249/manager-role-employee.aspx

https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/work/how-to-improve-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/

https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/life-sciences/our-insights/using-digital-tech-to-support-employees-mental-health-and-resilience

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/350881

https://www.customermonitor.com/the-managers-guide-to-workplace-well-being

https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-exhaustion#symptoms

https://hbr.org/2022/05/managers-what-are-you-doing-about-change-exhaustion

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/02/25/seven-smart-ways-to-help-out-your-exhausted-employees/?sh=506f8e4b169f

https://blog.vantagecircle.com/workplace-loneliness/

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/loneliness-at-work.htm

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/workplace-insecurities-and-how-to-fix

https://www.betterup.com/blog/job-insecurity

https://www.insightsforprofessionals.com/management/leadership/managing-insecure-employees

https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/health-wellbeing-work-report-2021_tcm18-93541.pdf

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