There was a time when the line between work and home life was drawn pretty brightly.
Stressed about that missed mortgage payment? Better leave that stress at the office door. Feeling nervous while you wait for those test results to come back from your doctor’s office? Set those feelings aside from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. That’s company time.
Fortunately, employers have largely recognized that this approach to work is unrealistic and unsustainable — not to mention unfeeling.
That’s a good thing, because the past 17 months of pandemic life have left that once-bright line between the personal and professional more distorted than ever before. The past year-and-a-half has also left employees feeling more fried — physically, mentally, emotionally, financially — than ever before.
Employee well-being is the theme of this issue of #evolve. On the pages that follow, we’ll look at how the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of employee health, and the role that employers can play in helping employees maintain overall well-being. For example:
For this issue’s cover story, WorldatWork’s Jim Fickess spoke with corporate social responsibility pioneer Bill Novelli about the concept of “doing well by doing good,” and how working for a company that shares their societal values improves employee well-being.
Dennis Healy, chief sales officer at ARAG, looks at the plight of workers who also serve as caregivers for loved ones. Throughout the pandemic, this group has struggled mightily with trying to preserve their own well-being while looking after someone else’s. As Healy points out, employers can help.
A growing body of research shows the pandemic’s tremendous toll on employees’ mental health. And personal strife is inevitably going to affect one’s job performance at some time, to some degree. Workers can’t just shed all personal baggage and shut out all distractions when they arrive at the office. There’s no switch for that.
WorldatWork CEO Scott Cawood summed up this reality pretty well when he recently sat down with #evolve editors for a Q&A on mental well-being in the world of work.
“The fact remains that each and every employee, contractor and worker is also a human being,” said Cawood. “And, while we don’t like to admit it, they are the full person 24 hours a day, which includes the time they are working with you.”
That’s an important point to remember. Employers can’t eliminate the stressors in employees’ personal lives, even temporarily. What they can do is make employee well-being a priority for the organization, and make sure that employees know that. They can provide tools, resources and, maybe most importantly, the flexibility that employees need to find work-life harmony (or something close to it). And we hope that some of the content in this issue helps your organization in its effort to determine what its workers need to be their best 24 hours a day, including the time they’re working with you.