Author – Steve Hope, Health & Wellbeing Director, Adler Fairways
As another year draws to a close, and we’re deep into the realms of business and resource planning for 2024, I wanted to share my thoughts on the employee wellbeing and people risk challenges still being felt by employers throughout the UK, and those that I feel we will continue to experience in the new year.
These are just a few possible workplace issues that could be relevant throughout 2024. The actual landscape may vary depending on a number of factors, such as industry, geographic location, and global events.
It is however likely that companies in the UK ,and indeed globally, will be impacted by one or more of these issues.
Remote work challenges
With the rise of remote work brought on by COVID-19, we may continue to grapple with issues related to managing remote teams, maintaining productivity, fostering collaboration, and addressing potential burnout and isolation among employees.
Burnout and isolation are hugely detrimental to individuals and organisations, presenting one of the largest health risks facing employee wellbeing, and one that many companies are now recognising and looking to address by implementing protection and intervention measures.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
Companies have been increasingly recognising the importance of DEI and striving towards creating more inclusive workplaces. In 2024, I envisage the focus on DEI growing, with businesses focused on addressing unconscious biases, promoting diversity at all levels, and creating equitable opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Mental health and wellbeing
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health support in the workplace. As the new year approaches, companies are likely to continue looking at initiatives to support employee wellbeing, including mental health resources, flexible work arrangements, and stress management programmes.
Job displacement & job security
You may face challenges related to reskilling or upskilling employees in support of them adapting to changing job requirements, or even find yourself addressing concerns about job security and displacement. COVID-19 and working from home have impeded the ability to train and upskill staff due to isolation and the reduction in face-to-face collaboration.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance has been a longstanding concern, and one I suspect will continue to present a challenge in 2024. Organisations might explore strategies to promote work-life balance, such as implementing flexible work schedules, encouraging time off, and fostering a culture that values well-rounded lives.
Sustainability and corporate responsibility
Environmental sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important considerations for companies. In 2024,companies may face increases in pressure from employees, customers, and investors to adopt environmentally friendly practices, ethical sourcing, and contribute positively to their communities.
Cost of living crisis
A challenge to say the least for both employees and employers – this topic could easily warrant its own article, but as I have mentioned it, let’s delve a little deeper. As an employer, there are several ways you can help alleviate some of the financial pressures and support your workforce. Here are some suggestions:
- Competitive pay: Ensure that your employees are paid fair and competitive salaries that align with industry standards. Regularly review and adjust wages to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living.
- Employee benefits: Offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other rewards. These benefits can help ease the financial burden on your employees and improve their overall wellbeing.
- Flexible working: Consider providing flexible work options such as remote work or flexible hours. This can help employees save money on commuting costs and provide a greater work-life balance.
- Financial education: Provide resources and workshops on financial planning and budgeting to help employees manage their money effectively. Topics such as budgeting, debt management, and savings strategies can empower your employees to make informed financial decisions.
- Employee assistance programmes (EAPs): Implement EAPs that offer counselling services, financial advice, and mental health support. These can provide guidance and assistance to employees facing financial difficulties.
- Professional development: Invest in training and development to help your employees enhance their skills and advance in their careers. Increased professional opportunities can lead to higher earning potential and financial stability. It’s a challenge in a post-Covid world but one we ignore and fail to address at our peril. We have a generation keen to learn and develop, a competitive market for the UK workforce and a customer bank that is becoming more demanding of their services and product providers.
Regular communication and feedback
Maintain an open and transparent line of communication with your employees. Encourage feedback and address any concerns they may have regarding their financial wellbeing. This can foster a supportive and inclusive work environment. Remember, all feedback is friendly, even if it may be difficult to hear.
Whilst as an insurance specialist I cannot solve or mitigate all the issues we collectively face, I have been able to help and support many businesses and organisations in alleviating some of the impact and fears. Our wellbeing workshop offers businesses a holistic solution and is designed to help you mitigate and navigate these challenges and landscapes.
For more information and advice on employee health & wellbeing, please reach out to Steve Hope via 07920 840 741or email firstname.lastname@example.org.