Employee Health and Well-Being, and How they are Linked to Employee Engagement
Employee health and well-being have become increasingly important topics for organisations around the world. Employers recognise that their employees’ health and well-being are integral to their productivity, engagement, and overall job satisfaction. Employee engagement is also a critical factor in organisational success, as increased engagement leads to better performance, reduced turnover, and increased loyalty.
Research has shown that there is a strong link between employee health and well-being and their levels of engagement. Employees who are healthy and experience a sense of well-being are more likely to be engaged with their work, more motivated, and more productive. In contrast, employees who are struggling with health issues or personal problems may become disengaged, withdraw from their work, and lose motivation. This can lead to reduced productivity and performance, increased absenteeism, and turnover.
To understand the link between employee health and well-being and engagement, it is important to examine the factors that contribute to each. There are several key components to employee health and well-being, including:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Stress management
- Work-life balance
These components are strongly linked to employee engagement, as they impact an employee’s ability to perform their job, their motivation, and their overall job satisfaction.
Physical health is an essential component of employee health and well-being. When employees are in good physical health, they have the energy and stamina needed to perform their job effectively. They are less likely to be absent from work due to illness or injury, and they are more likely to be productive throughout the day. Physical health is also linked to mental health, as exercise and other physical activity can help reduce stress and improve mood.
Mental health is another vital component of employee health and well-being. When employees are struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or burnout, they are more likely to become disengaged from their work. Mental health problems can lead to decreased motivation, lower productivity, and increased absenteeism. Employers can take steps to support employee mental health, such as offering access to counselling or mental health resources.
Stress management is also an essential component of employee health and well-being, as chronic stress can lead to physical and mental health problems. Employers can support employee stress management by offering stress reduction programs, such as mindfulness or meditation training, and by promoting a culture of work-life balance. When employees feel supported in managing their stress, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work.
Finally, work-life balance is critical to employee health and well-being. Employees who are struggling to balance their work and personal lives are more likely to experience stress, burnout, and other health problems. Employers can support work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flexible schedules, or job sharing. When employees feel that they have a good work-life balance, they are more likely to be engaged with their work, motivated, and productive.
In addition to understanding the components of employee health and well-being, it is essential to recognize how these factors impact employee engagement. Engaged employees are those who are committed to their work, feel valued and respected, and are motivated to perform their job to the best of their ability. When employees are healthy and experiencing a sense of well-being, they are more likely to be engaged with their work, as they have the energy and motivation needed to perform at a high level.
In contrast, when employees are struggling with health issues or personal problems, they are less likely to be engaged with their work. They may feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and unmotivated, leading to reduced productivity and performance. Employers can take steps to support employee health and well-being, such as offering access to health and wellness programs, promoting work-life balance, and supporting mental health.
The evidence clearly shows that employee health and well-being are linked to engagement. When employees are healthy and experiencing a sense of well-being, they are more likely to be engaged with their work, motivated, and productive. Conversely, when employees are struggling with health issues or personal problems, they are less likely to be engaged with their work, leading to reduced productivity and performance.
How can companies in the UAE reap the benefits of a more engaged work force?
Overall, employers must take the following steps to support employee health and well-being if they want to improve engagement and drive success in their organisation.
- Offer access to high quality and comprehensive health and wellness programs (such as expatriate focused Member Assistance Programs which offer broader and more expat-specific support for expatriate workers and their spouses than traditional Employee Assistance Programs)
- Promote better work-life balance which is something of increasing importance considering a recent report that Dubai based expats work some of the longest hours in the world: https://www.businessinsider.com/dubai-most-overworked-city-burnout-expat-lifestyle-2022-6 and considering the recent findings from the most comprehensive study of the 4-day working week performed in the UK by Cambridge University that proved employees are more productive and engaged when the working week is reduced from 5 to a healthier 4 days: https://www.euronews.com/next/2023/02/21/uk-four-day-week-trial-hailed-as-a-major-breakthrough-as-92-of-companies-keep-the-shorter-
The new weekly work system introduced by the Government of Sharjah has improved the productivity, satisfaction rate and happiness of the employees by almost 90 per cent: https://www.gulf-insider.com/sharjah-4-day-week-sees-90-increase-in-productivity-of-employees/
The 4-day workweek is gaining popularity globally, as companies seek ways to improve employee well-being, boost productivity, and reduce costs. By reducing the number of workdays, employees have more time to rest, recharge, and focus on personal interests and family life, which can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced burnout, and better work-life balance.
- Support mental health. Employers can create a work environment that fosters engagement, motivation, and productivity, but it is also important to ensure proper mental health coverage through the health insurance they provide. Mental health is indiscriminate in who it affects but unfortunately still misunderstood and optionally omitted from health insurance policies to save a small amount on the premium. This is however not advisable with mental health issues are on the rise and as many as 1 in 5 people affected globally.
It is time for employers to recognize the link between employee health and well-being and engagement and take action to support their employees’ overall well-being.