OHS leaders need to be aware of the changing nature of employer’s responsibilities, which were the key findings of a recent report on workplace wellbeing, which also found that 73% of Australian employees are stressed about work while 62% are stressed about health and fitness.
The Workplace Wellbeing report, which was conducted by not-for-profit workplace research organisation Reventure, said that workers believe employers should create an environment that increases employee trust and satisfaction (86%) and an environment that proactively addresses stress in the workplace (85%), but only two in five workers believe their employer understands how to improve wellbeing in the workplace.
“This inconsistency between a worker’s expectations and what employer’s deliver will need to be addressed,” said Reventure managing director Lindsay McMillan.
A further 51% of workers believe unrealistic workload expectations have the greatest negative impact on wellbeing in the workplace, while lack of time (47%) and costs (40%) were thought to be the biggest challenges to engaging employees in a wellbeing program.
The focus on worker wellbeing has dramatically increased over the past few years, according to McMillan, who said this rise can be attributed to a range of factors, in particular the rapidly changing work landscape.
“The introduction of new technologies constantly redefines how and where we work which has caused many workplaces to re-evaluate their work culture,” said McMillan.
“OHS roles are fairly technical and they are often based on legislation and ensuring the safety, health and welfare of people,” said McMillan.
“Wellbeing is quickly becoming a factor when addressing the health of people with mental health seen as an underlying and unaddressed issue in many workplaces.”
According to McMillan, Australian workers who have a wellbeing program are more inclined to believe their wellbeing is taken into consideration when making business decisions.
“Employers have also seen the impact of these programs stating that it has had a positive impact on their employees’ productivity, performance and relationships.”
McMillan also noted that in order to obtain better wellbeing in the workplace, one in four workers are willing to sacrifice company perks and one in five would sacrifice promotions.
“If we look at this from a recruitment standpoint alone, employee wellbeing programs are seen as important by two in five Australian workers when job searching with 8% proclaiming that they will not apply for a job without an employee wellbeing program,” said McMillan.
“It is likely that this trend will continue in the future, with a strong focus on wellbeing becoming a pre-requisite for any potential job offering.”