Can Data Analytics Improve Workplace Well-being
Can Data Analytics Improve Workplace Well-being
While there are many factors that can increase stress levels in individuals today, the workplace is one of the most prominent causes. Prolonged stress increases the chances of poor mental health among individuals which lead to other symptoms like insomnia, perpetual fatigue, irritability and lack of concentration. According to the World Economic Forum, individuals are now more likely to prioritize their health and well-being emerging from the pandemic. As such, companies that have identified this trend are stepping up to better support their workers through various initiatives. Organizations may reinstate flexible working arrangements to better accommodate their employees as well as offer emotional support. However, according to a report done by Adecco, 45% of workers surveyed said that their employers do not support their well-being despite 74% of companies saying that ensuring employee well-being is important. So why is there this disparity and how can it be bridged?
Exhibit 1: Worker VS Company well-being support perception (source: Adecco)
To tackle this issue, companies must address the root of the problem which is the work itself. Oftentimes, work is stressful due to its complex and fast-paced nature. While employees may be able to handle it, tolerating long-term stress has consequences. Challenging tasks with tight deadlines add to the stress employees face. Over a prolonged period of time, it can reduce their productivity levels and deteriorate their ability to perform well. Hence, tackling this might be the best way companies can go about improving well-being.
Improving Workplace Well-being With Data Analytics
Identifying Data that Potentially Indicates Poor Well-being
Employee well-being is a potentially sensitive topic that employees might not be comfortable disclosing. Thus, organizations can use other indicators to assess mental health without invading their privacy. These indicators include already present data like absenteeism rates, performance data and workplace incident reports.
Absenteeism rates allow employees to determine both the frequency and duration of absence. Regular absenteeism could suggest that the employee might not be fully present due to mental health issues. Perhaps there is a need for more rest days to properly recalibrate. Performance data also enables employers to gain an overview of whether team members are able to handle their workload. Poor quality of work or the inability to meet deadlines could indicate high stress levels or an overloaded employee. Lastly, a high number of workplace incidents could be an indicator of both physical and mental fatigue.
Gathering Employee Feedback
Leveraging on data analytics is a good way to obtain secondary data about workplace well-being but garnering feedback via employee surveys enables organizations to tackle the issue at a more personal level. Instead of inferring from secondary data, the organization would be able to pinpoint specific workplace stressors. Scheduling employee meetings with the Human Relations (HR) department can also allow them to better understand the problems. As such, more tailored solutions can be developed to promote workplace well-being.
Strategies to Promote Workplace Well-being
Tackling workplace well-being issues as they arise is a good stop-gap solution. However, more can be done on the companies’ part to prevent these issues from developing. This often starts with promoting work-life balance and preventing burnout. There are several factors that employees can consider implementing for their employees.
Offer Flexible Working Arrangements
Emerging from the pandemic, many employees have grown accustomed to the hybrid or remote working arrangement. Their lifestyles have evolved to include more personal activities where previously not possible. For example, flexible working arrangements allow employees to utilize the time spent commuting for more enriching activities like exercising or spending time with their families. This allows them to better juggle both their personal and work life. Organizations are often concerned that hybrid work arrangements result in the inability to monitor employees. However, with proper data analytics tools higher-ups can be certain that milestones of a project are being met and is on track to completion.
Encourage Work Quality Over Quantity
Working at a fast pace is often praised as it regarded as being productive. However, this is often at the expense of the team member when they work extra hours to complete their tasks. Over a prolonged period of time, the quality of work has the potential to deteriorate. There will be periods of time where work is busier than usual, but it should not be accepted as the norm. Employers should encourage employees to produce high quality work instead of churning out large volumes of low-quality work. By reducing the emphasis on quantity, it also reduces the probability of work having to be redone or improved.
Promote Taking Necessary Breaks
During the workday, it is important that team members take time to recharge. Extended periods of time staring at the screen can cause fatigue and eye strain. Taking regular breaks not only helps to reduce physical stress, but also helps employees recalibrate and refocus. Ultimately, this could increase long-term productivity and well-being.
Review and Redistribute Employee Workloads
With the right data analytics tools, employers can obtain end-to-end transparency on the workload of team members. This enables them to easily identify employees who are taking on significantly more workload and optimize the resource allocation. Team workloads can be redistributed, and members are less susceptible to burning out.
The path to improving workplace well-being is non-linear, but with data analytics and changes in internal priorities, organizations have the potential to provide optimal support for their employees. Once strategies have been implemented, organizations can continue to use data analytics to track the progress of their employees and gain insights. This allows them to ascertain if the solutions have been beneficial to employees so further adjustments can be made.
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