Employee well-being and satisfaction are often stated by companies and leaders as one of their priorities. Unfortunately, the reality looks often different. Maybe it is possible to improve the situation by moving this topic in the center of a planning process.
I don’t want to blame leaders. I think that many really want to create a work-environment that improves or at least acknowledges the need for employee well-being and a good work-life balance. I attended several meetings and read a lot of e-mails in which leaders reminded the team to not work too much and too long and to get rest. However, sometimes even the same day, they ask people if they can finish this job, or do this task. This strikes me as strange. Didn’t they listen to what they were saying? Or was it just something they had to be saying, because it is considered as “good leadership” if they address the issue. But addressing the issue isn’t enough.
I understand that it might be difficult to plan for employee well-being while setting up the plan for a year-long project with many employees. Though, if it isn’t addressed in this planning stage than it might be difficult to find and implement the right action steps later on. When things change, it is often already too late, and you have many over-worked or even sick employees who will still come to work to do their job and finish the project. I think that system is a bit off. The employees feel guilty when they “abandon” their team and their project, especially in difficult situations. But do leaders and managers feel guilty when they design and plan in a way that doesn’t take the well-being of its people into consideration?
So, I argue to make this topic the center or one of the focus topics of the planning phase. Even better, the initial project set-up. What can bring employee well-being? How do we ensure a good work-life balance? What do we do during stressful and work-intensive times? Make a healthy workforce a part of your project vision. Come up with measurable action steps. And hold people accountable to implement these actions. A healthier, less stressed, less overworked workforce will prove its worth in the long run.
Have a wonderful day and take care!