Employee wellbeing or a wasted work day?

A productivity dichotomy

by Mark Armstrong, CEO

Regardless of whether the office as we know it is dead or not one thing for sure is that working practices around the world have changed for good. My initial thoughts when writing this blog were on the ‘wasted workday’ focusing on employees abusing the working flexibility that is offered with Unified Communications platforms. However, this quickly started me thinking about the flip side and the fact many employees are over working even to the point of burnout which is well researched and documented.

Unified Communications has the ability to facilitate a creative, positive and collaborative workplace, improve employee retention and increase performance. It can increase the morale, productivity and wellbeing, in short it can deliver numerous business benefits.

However, 64% of office based employees have experienced burnout (Workhuman) which is bad for them and bad for the business. Employees that experience burnout are 63% more likely to need time off sick (Gallup). Employee burnout, if not addressed quickly, can lead to a multitude of health and wellbeing problems including insomnia, vulnerability to illnesses, even alcohol or substance misuse, and clinical depression.

The flip side of burnout that can be seen in some employees is a disproportionate amount of time spent on personal activities. Research shows that the average time spent on this during work time is between 1.5 and 3 hours. The average UK salary is £31.7K or £611 per week = £16 per hour. Even with a low figure of 1 hour per day on personal matters this costs the average company £3,840 ($5,000 USD) per employee per year. For a company with 1,000 employees this equates to a cost to the business of a staggering £3.84M in wasted salary. There are two sides of viewing this, on the one hand it is a substantial cost that can be reduced whilst on the other, and maybe more controversial, a benefit associated with a salary to ensure a level of employee happiness and wellbeing.

With these potentially contradicting attitudes to work, organisations must strive to create a working environment which is both productive and rewarding in equal measures.  Common sense must prevail and with this a successful work life balance can be achieved.  Here at Code, for example, we have implemented a wellbeing program which includes gym membership, Pilates classes, even a monthly massage for employees to completely decompress. If you need to attend the odd Friday afternoon round of golf, go for it, we wouldn’t expect you to book time off and it is entirely your decision if you want to come to the office or not. We like to think we have a company ethos of ‘you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours’.

As with most things, prevention is better than cure when considering employee wellbeing vs. a wasted workday. Activity levels should be monitored on an ongoing basis (here comes the shameless plug 😉) which is where Clobba comes into its own. Insights into abnormally high or low levels of workloads for employees using Unified Communications platforms can be seen at a glance and informed decisions can be made. You can’t manage what you can’t measure!