How workplace wellbeing drives business success
Workplace wellbeing is about more than helping employees to feel happy and healthy – it also benefits companies’ bottom lines, with engaged employees driving successful business performance.
Research shows clear links between employee engagement and company performance. For example, business units in the top quartile of Gallup’s global employee engagement database are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive than those in the bottom quartile, while satisfaction and commitment rates are shown to be strongly linked in research carried out by Krys and Décathlon and Mértis and Davidson.
Providing environments that facilitate well-being can help with recruitment and retention, as well as performance. Plus, a company that has a well-being policy in place can convey a socially responsible and innovative image to prospective employees, partners and customers.
As Csongor Csukas, Executive Director, International Property Management at BNP Paribas Real Estate, says: “Fostering well-being and all its connotations, such as the ability to work together, plus greater aptitude for innovation and change, ultimately increases productivity.”
Showing satisfaction: indicators of workplace wellbeing
What drives the combination of satisfaction and engagement that constitute workplace wellbeing? Factors can include the job itself and how gratifying it is to the employee, as well as mutual trust between the employee and the company, and the working environment itself.
“Workplace wellbeing is a very personal perception,” says Csongor Csukas, “so it’s important to understand the expectations not just of the company itself, but also the individuals who work within it.”
One clear factor in workplace wellbeing is a strong connection between the individual, the company and its structures.
Anne du Manoir, Chief Human Resources Officer at BNP Paribas Real Estate, says wellbeing is manifested when the individual’s values connect with the company’s values.
“Although individual commitment promotes validation, motivation, self-esteem, confidence and personal development, the employee also develops through social connection, through skills acquired in the workplace and through contact with others,” she explains.
“There is mutual dependence between the individual and the group which is embodied in hierarchical relationships in the culture, values and work methods that we adopt with our peers or team, and in relationships between generations.”
Fostering wellbeing and all its connotations, such as the ability to work together, plus greater aptitude for innovation and change, ultimately increases productivity.
Environmental influences on wellbeing at work
Creating a pleasant working environment that supports collaboration and provides space for socialising is a winning proposition for both employees and companies: six in ten employees feel that their work environment has a positive effect on their efficiency, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).
Catherine Papillon, Chief CSR Officer at BNP Paribas Real Estate, sees workplace wellbeing as being facilitated by: “…more space dedicated to eating areas, sporting activities and relaxation, or even persona services to simplify daily life and promote good physical and psychological health for employees. Meeting areas to encourage conviviality and conversation; a coffee corner or games room shared kitchen gardens, exhibition areas etc.”
And it is not just efficiency that can be improved by providing good working conditions, according to Csongor Csukas.
“Providing a pleasant working environment has a significant impact on employee engagement, improving a company’s ability to attract and retain talent, as well as boosting the creativity and performance of its employees.”
Although individual commitment promotes validation, motivation, self-esteem, confidence and personal development, the employee also develops through social connection, through skills acquired in the workplace and through contact with others
Wellbeing benefits for investors
For investors too, the ability of buildings to support employee wellbeing is crucial.
“When you invest in a building you naturally worry about poor occupancy rates, periods of empty rental units, etc,” says Csongor Csukas.
“You therefore have a significant interest in users feeling content, and in the same way, enjoying their working environment. If they present a positive image of their workplace externally that will make your building more appealing and, ultimately, increase its value.”
Catherine Papillon points out that real estate certifications (HQE, BREEAM, LEEDS) and labels (Well, Osmoz, Wirescore) emphasise wellbeing at work and have become criteria that are monitored by non-financial rating agencies.
“Integrating the concept of workplace wellbeing into a building means it is more likely to attract investors and users, and generate tangible value,” she says.
The risks of ignoring wellbeing at work
While workplace wellbeing has mutual benefits for companies, employees and investors, the lack of it has mutual disadvantages. Companies that fail to acknowledge the importance of wellbeing may pay the price in employee absence and lack of motivation, engagement and commitment.
“Unhappiness at work can, for example, cause burn-out and absenteeism, both of which damage the social climate and are costly to companies,” says Anne du Manoir.
“For employees to contribute positively to the company’s performance, important criteria must be taken into consideration: the proximity of public transport, safety, services available and potential flexibility of work, among others.”
Planning buildings around wellbeing and having the right policies in place, however, will benefit all.
As Csongor Csukas, Executive Director, International Property Management at BNP Paribas Real Estate, says: “Workplace wellbeing is a notion that every company operating today has to focus on if it wants to be appealing and, therefore, successful.”
Other content which might interest you: