A recent study of 1,000 UK adults by Central YMCA found that one in five felt being at work actively decreases their happiness. The study revealed that finding time for leisure, socialising and family and friends was the key to good wellbeing.
66% of respondents said they were happiest when spending time on holiday, 56% said it was when they were with family and 49% when they socialised with friends. These statistics continue to back up how crucial a good work-life balance is.
Despite this, a study undertaken by SPANA last October found that British workers are on average putting in the equivalent of 38 working days over and above their contracted annual hours.
Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, commented on the findings:
“Gone are the days of it being seen as acceptable for employees to work all the hours under the sun. Priorities are changing now, with a new generation of millennial workers bringing a new perspective to the workplace – often valuing ‘soft benefits’ like flexitime, access to additional training, gym memberships and a better work-life balance more than monetary benefits such as bonuses.”
“The challenge for employers now is how they can make the workplace somewhere where people feel good and therefore more motivated and energised.”
“There are a number of great resources available as a starting point – including the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s guidance on promoting health and wellbeing at work which suggests: having a flexible working policy that allows employees to exercise before work or during their lunch break; arranging discounts for staff at local health clubs; and subsidising activities such as yoga.”
Interestingly, Central YMCA’s study also revealed how higher levels of mental stimulation such as learning a new skill or tackling challenging problems positively impact wellbeing. Respondents who felt they were mentally highly stimulated went on to rate their wellbeing an average of 6.9 out of ten, compared to the national average of 6.13/10.
Rosi continued: “Those employers that are able to foster better wellbeing and a high level of mental stimulation for their employees will reap the benefits that a happier workforce brings – often more likely to stay in the job and be more productive, friendly, relaxed and creative.”
In order to retain and motivate employees, it’s crucial that employers make sure their employees are stimulated mentally and balance their work with socialising, leisure, and family time.
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