The idea of taking care of your staff’s wellbeing is not exactly novel. However, over the last few years, the health, life satisfaction, and social wellbeing of your staff has really come to the fore.

In no small part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge shift toward happier, healthier, more flexible working arrangements.

Not only do these HR considerations make for better and more productive employees, but they should also be recognised as important (in their own right), as we’re all valuable and multifaceted individuals.

1) Really championing remote and flexible work

The pandemic showed the world that many employees can work from anywhere on the planet that has an internet connection.

Not only do many employees work effectively remotely studies show they also tend to perform even better by organising their own day and location.

As long as you’re not in retail (with a physical shopfront), or operate in a very location-specific space, there could be some real benefits to allowing your staff to work from anywhere that suits them – whether it’s from home or a café in Bali.

In fact, almost all research shows that,

“Remote and hybrid employees were 22% happier than workers in an onsite office environment and stayed in their jobs longer. Plus, remote workers had less stress, more focus and were more productive than when they toiled in the office. Working from home led to better work/life balance and was more beneficial for the physical and mental well-being of employees.”

Many argue, as long as work is being done well and monitored effectively – it doesn’t matter where your employees are.

Let’s look at some key benefits of embracing remote work according to Forbes:

  • Much higher rates of work and life satisfaction – meaning happier and more productive staff.
  • Increased staff retention through better life outcomes and job respect.
  • Better mental health outcomes due to an increase in control over one’s working life.
  • Lower overheads and commuting expenses for both employees and employers.
  • Your business is more competitive as an employer as many top employees now seek remote work.
  • As location doesn’t matter anymore, you can recruit the best talent from anywhere on the globe.
  • You can retain talent and not have to foot the cost of recruiting and training new staff.

So, as a business owner with employees on your payroll, be flexible. Maybe your trusted employee needs to work remotely

Is there a real downside here or only benefits for all involved?

Pro Tip: Just be sure you follow good IT hygiene practices and use a cybersecurity checklist when your employees are remote or overseas.

2) Health is a true priority – including mental health

There was an explosion of health consciousness throughout the pandemic! And as a result, physical and mental health became top priorities for many employees and employers.

At first this was due to limiting exposure to COVID-19, but soon evolved into a higher and much needed respect for mental health.

When people were isolated and restricted, mental health issues presented themselves. As a result, we all need to be more mindful of championing good mental health and removing stigma from these very real and harmful concerns.

What can you do to protect your employees mental and physical health?

  • Allow more flexible working arrangements to reduce stress and allow more life satisfaction.
  • Respect the fact that sick days aren’t always there for physical ailments – make allowances for mental health days too.
  • Keep some COVID-19 arrangements like hand sanitisers and increased cleaning regimes.
  • Find ways to support healthy lifestyles such as providing healthy foods and supporting workplace sporting activities.
  • Organise online or offline yoga and meditation courses and classes.

3) Helping with the cost of living – without breaking your own bank

Helping your staff with financial wellbeing is a well-documented way of increasing retention and staff satisfaction, and it doesn’t have to mean pay rises.

With the cost of living soaring and wages stagnant, you can still provide meaningful ways to help your employees financially.

Helping your staff manage their finances better will reduce stress, lead to a more positive view of your business, reduce mental health issues, and generally help with the cost of living.

To assist your employees to manage their finances think about the following:

  • Offering salary sacrifice schemes.
  • Make sure you offer the best superannuation products possible and offer ways to add more to their super.
  • Offer access to financial advice and advisors.
  • Offer remote work to eliminate commuting and meal expenses.
  • Provide affordable in-office lunch and snack solutions like bread, fruit, spreads, coffee, tea, toasters, and sandwich presses.
  • Offer performance-based bonuses where possible and appropriate – giving both you and your employee financial benefits.

4) Providing further learning and education avenues

One of the best ways to recognise and respect the growth of your employees is to offer training and education.

This is also an excellent in-house benefit, as a better-trained employee will better serve your business and increase your bottom line and customer satisfaction.

Not only will they be better and more efficient at their jobs, but they’ll also feel more compelled to perform at their peak and stay invested in the business.

You can undertake all sorts of training, from offsite courses to in-house training, or embrace the glut of free or affordable online training courses.

The benefits of continual staff training and education:

  • Better trained staff will help grow your business, become more efficient, increase sales and marketing outcomes, and boost customer satisfaction.
  • You’ll increase staff retention and attention to their roles.
  • It will boost morale and increase a sense of pride and accountability.
  • You can ready employees for promotions and added responsibility.

*If you’d like to hear more HR advice, read our article by Jess Morris, Reckon’s Head of People and Culture, about why it’s important to make your business a great place to work.