From boardroom to warehouse: why wellbeing is important at all levels

Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at new research to support employee wellbeing and performance from the monotonous jobs of manufacturing to the decisions made by C-suite executives

Recent academic research into employee wellbeing typically tips in favour of knowledge workers, with the majority of research looking at how office environment, peer interactions, and corporate wellness programs impact wellbeing. However, new research published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology finds that practicing mindfulness can benefit employees at all levels.

The study entitled ‘It’s so boring – or is it? Examining the role of mindfulness for work performance and attitudes in monotonous jobs’ suggests that in monotonous jobs, employees who practice mindfulness have greater job satisfaction, are less likely to quit and think their job is less boring. However, mindfulness was found to boost the quality but not the quantity of work.

The research was based on a study of 174 blue-collar workers at a Mexican manufacturing plant whose job is to conduct highly repetitive tasks with no additional incentive for performing well. The researchers measured the employees’ mindfulness using a six-point mindfulness attention awareness scale, before assessing their boredom levels and attitudes four weeks later.

‘Improving performance from the warehouse to the boardroom…’

After four months, the researchers collected data about the number of coupons employees has processed and the number of errors they had made. They found that higher levels of employee mindfulness meant they were less bored and performed work tasks to a higher standard, albeit a lower quantity of work was conducted.

The study suggests that if an organisation prioritises quality of work over quantity, then they should recognise and support employee mindfulness throughout the entire organisation from the warehouse to the boardroom. Investing in employee mindfulness programs can increase work quality and increase staff retention even in the most monotonous jobs.

Wellbeing from the top down

While better employee wellbeing has proven benefits for worker performance, initiatives need to come from the top. A recent survey of 1,050 C-Suite leaders in the UK, US, Canada and Australia by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence found that 86 per cent said they’d welcome more organisational support when it comes to how they can advocate for employee wellbeing.

One in five leaders said that an increased focus on employee wellbeing has complicated their job, added stress, and negatively impacted their own wellbeing. Despite this, a third of those leaders said focusing on wellbeing initiatives made them better leaders, made their job more rewarding, and made them feel connected to a bigger purpose.

To that end, 96 per cent of C-suite executives feel responsible for their employees’ wellbeing and 83 per cent said they plan to improve or expand their organisation’s wellbeing benefits over the next two years.

The commitment to supporting employee wellbeing makes sense given that C-suite executives hold their own wellbeing in high-esteem with 81 per cent of C-suite leaders claiming that ‘improving their wellbeing is more important than advancing their career’ and 69 per cent would seriously consider quitting their job in favour of a role that better supports their own wellbeing.

As more and more research surfaces to support the benefits of a healthy workforce, its clear that the boardroom holds the key to empowering employees at all levels.

Wellbeing Engagement Paradox

As workplace professionals continue to share research and thought-leadership around employee wellbeing, the WORKTECH conference series is bringing back its annual WORKTECH Wellbeing event on Tuesday 20 September in London.

The event will address challenges and opportunities relating to physical, mental and organisational wellbeing. Among a line-up of pioneering thought-leaders, Dr Ben Wigert of Gallup will present the idea of the ‘Wellbeing-Engagement Paradox’ and explain what the latest data from Gallup’s continuous tracking survey on employee engagement and wellbeing means for organisations looking to improve the wellbeing of their workforce.

Find out more about WORKTECH22 Wellbeing here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. This edition is posted 3 August 2022.
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