The pandemic may be over but its effect on employees is not

Posted October 18th, 2022 by Urban Legal Recruitment

In the past, work-life balance was considered the best antidote to feeling overwhelmed at work. Before the pandemic, work was usually confined to a particular location during defined working hours. Today, access to technology and virtual work makes it much harder to achieve that sought after work/life balance. 

According to a recent  Gallup report, “it’s not just the hours, imbalance or location that leaves workers unhappy. It’s what’s happening at work that makes them miserable.” 

So what’s happening at work and how can it be addressed?

Stacy Cowan, founder of Urban Legal Recruitment reports, “Working through the pandemic has shifted employee expectations, requiring  new ways of operating. Organizations need to listen to what their employees are saying, but also what they aren’t saying, and make some adjustments.”

Identifying the issue

So why is how employees are feeling so critical to business success? 

Well, there are the ethical and moral considerations of creating a workplace that honours employees. According to McKinsey, job satisfaction is the second most important determinant of an employee’s overall satisfaction with life, second only to mental health. 

Another reason why companies should care about how their employees are feeling is that worried, stressed and unhappy employees are simply bad for business. 

According to pwc, 62% of Canadian employer respondents claim maintaining morale and company culture has been one of their biggest work challenges since the start of the pandemic. And while many organizations are responding to these challenges with bonuses, higher salaries, and other benefits, top companies understand that what employees really want is to be trusted, treated with respect, and to have a sense of purpose.

In a Fortune article, ‘Top 100’ companies are described as having:

  • half the turnover and employees who are six times more likely to help recruit talent;
  • 80%  of employees looking forward to coming to work and feel psychologically and emotionally healthy; and 
  • 90% of employees saying their company is a great place to work and they feel cared for.

There is no question that how employees (and leaders) are feeling impacts both the individual and the organization.

Addressing the issues

Working and leading in today’s workplace is taking a toll on both employees and leaders.  Here are some things that can be done to identify and address fear, worry and burnout. (How to Lead When Your Team is Exhausted - and You Are, Too)

  1. Raise awareness. Use your internal employee communication channels to share articles, and blogs that are related to emotional, physical, intellectual, social and mental health and wellness. This doesn’t just provide information, it makes work a safe place for employees to talk about how they’re feeling.
  2. Ask/Listen. Not everyone will feel comfortable openly sharing how they feel. Conducting a confidential survey allows people to share in a psychologically safe way. Just as importantly, communicating the survey results and how they will be addressed in a timely way reinforces that the organization cares and is willing to take action.
  3. Train leaders and managers to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety in both themselves and their teams. Ensure resources are in place to support them.
  4. Visibly support work/life balance. It’s not enough to just talk about balance. Ask employees what they need and take measures to ensure they are taking time to disconnect from their work. Encourage leaders to set the example. Even something as simple as automatic ‘out of office’ messaging during non-working hours can visibly demonstrate a culture that values work/life balance.

“When organizations take the necessary steps to provide a physically and psychologically safe workplace, they don’t just benefit the employee,” says Stacy. “These organizations positively impact their bottom lines with higher levels of loyalty and commitment and a reputation that attracts the best and brightest.” 

Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. If you have any questions, are considering a change, or just want to chat, we would love to hear from you.