Recent studies contain fresh warnings that over a third of employees are expected to quit their jobs in 2024, thanks to a growing gap between employee expectations and job offerings.
Findings from Nuffield Health’s Healthier Nation Index – a survey of 8,000 UK adults – have highlighted disparities between employee expectations and their actual job experiences. More than 21 percent of those surveyed rated their working lives as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, pay is now the top consideration for 64 percent of employees when looking for a new job – and it’s not just a higher salary that is important to workers. Studies have shown a lack of transparency over pay equity decreases employee engagement by 13 percent, in addition to decreasing employee intent to stay by 15 percent.
Emphasis on personal wellbeing and greater work-life balance is also a bigger priority to today’s workforce. 61 percent say this is ‘very important’ compared to just 53 percent in 2015.
Its essential businesses foster a culture where employees can excel both at work and in their personal lives to attract and retain top talent. Positive working environments – which provide both physical and mental wellbeing support, healthy salaries, job security and work-life balance – are an essential component of a thriving organisation.
So, how businesses can play their part in supporting better working lives for their employees?
1 Provide wellbeing resources
If you think an employee’s mental health is being seriously affected by their workplace, it’s important to signpost them to your company’s wellbeing offerings.
Businesses can provide support for stress and personal problems through employee assistance programmes (EAPs) or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). EAPS offer direct, confidential contact with experts who can support individuals with emotional distress, from family issues, work-related problems, addiction, and mental ill-health.
2 Prioritise workload management
Effective workload management means ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and are not overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
To achieve this, businesses should regularly review the distribution of tasks and responsibilities among team members. Open and consistent communication with employees helps gauge their stress levels and capacity. Encouraging staff to provide feedback about their workload, whether it feels too heavy, just right, or manageable, is essential for maintaining a balanced and satisfying work environment.
Managers should regularly solicit feedback from staff about their workload—whether it’s too heavy, just right, or manageable—which can also help achieve better job satisfaction and balance.
3 Allow flexible working
Flexible working allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives. They can adapt their schedules to accommodate family commitments, personal interests, or health needs. This balance reduces stress, enhances overall well-being, and fosters better job satisfaction.
Contrary to the traditional belief that fixed working hours equate to productivity, flexible working often leads to higher efficiency. Employees can work during their most productive hours, resulting in better-quality outputs.
4 Lead by example
Managers should lead from the top-down, setting and modelling boundaries between work and home hours. Helping employees realise they do not always need to be available is critical.
To help enforce this messaging, there should be regular communication between managers and their teams, with agreements as to when the employee can be contactable, when face-to-face office meetings are necessary and when a manager or employee should call each other in an emergency.
5 Offer professional development opportunities
Supporting better working lives for employees also involves providing opportunities for professional growth and development. Businesses can promote skill enhancement, career advancement and personal growth through training programmes, mentorship, and continuous learning initiatives.
Investing in employees’ professional development not only enhances their job satisfaction but also contributes to their overall wellbeing, enabling them to feel valued and challenged in their roles.