Wellbeing within the workplace – is it necessary?

A student’s life is focused around the next deadline and the next event, but do you consider what is going to happen after your degree? Have you considered what your values are within the workplace? Is it money, power or making a difference which drives you? Have you ever considered whether it matters if the company looks after your wellbeing?

An employee’s physical and mental wellbeing is becoming a prominent issue within the workplace and from reports, it has been argued that wellbeing is crucial for productivity. This can even be witnessed by the way in which influential companies like Google are looking after their employees, by providing them with a workplace which enhances their creativity. Many companies have followed this idea of looking after the wellbeing of their employees like Richard Branson who allows his employees to take as much time off as needed, but on the understanding that when they are at work they are productive. Leading many to question whether this is an effective way of looking after employees?

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The awareness of employee’s wellbeing can be seen as an issue which has been recently discussed in government, after the release of various reports. In particular the recent review on mental health in the ‘Thriving at Work’ by Stevenson and Farmer. It can be seen that the government are understanding the importance of looking after the wellbeing of employees as they have supported key schemes like the Time for Change Campaign and IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). Yet many would argue that the government are doing little to enforce changes within the business sector, and it brings to light the question of whether the government should ensure that the businesses are supporting their employees.

The government are not the only ones who are concerned about wellbeing as an increasing rise in graduates who are asking companies what they do for there employees. This is showing a change in a generations expectation within the workplace, and one might even argue an exciting change in the way businesses look after their employees. The millennial generation is often labelled as individuals who often see themselves as entitled to getting what they want. However, one could argue that this view is misinterpreted and that many millennials are working harder than ever. Due to the use of technology in the workplace forcing many employees to be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This has had an increasing impact on the wellbeing within the workplace particularly with stress, as employees are no longer able to completely switch off from work, and the expectation to be on call 24 hours a day is expressed by most businesses. Which brings to light the question as a workforce and a new generation, is the millennial generation entitled to be concerned over how businesses treat them as employees?

Whereas many would argue that it is not up to the business to look after their employees, but rather it is the individuals own option too. One could speculate that this might be because of the cost it has on businesses, but also that a business is there for work and all problems should be left at the door.

On the other hand, this view is becoming outdated as proven studies have shown that there is an increasing risk of the lack of support in the workplace which could mean that young people are worn down earlier. When in reality as a nation this needs to be prevented as due to the rise of an older working generation and the fact that people are receiving their pensions later on in their lives it is becoming increasing crucial to ensure that employees are able to work for a long time. Therefore, it means that looking after an employee’s health can help ensure that they are able to work for a longer period because they are still able to work productively.

Overall one can believe that as a future graduate it is important to understand how businesses support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Which many well-established and highly influential businesses like Google are focusing on in order to increase more productivity out of their employees. It can be strongly argued that society is entering a new way of working where the welfare of employees is becoming a more prominent issue and one which will see a change in the way employees work.

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