The Economics of Wellbeing at Work


Posted on: Feb 03, 2015 by Marianne Hewlett

Does employee wellbeing have a direct impact on your organization’s bottom line? Have you ever considered “wellbeing” and “happiness” as important for your business?

Think about it - when employees are ill, don’t show up or don’t perform their best, it lowers productivity and costs money. On the other hand, employees who are fit and engaged are more productive, generate ideas, drive innovation and greatly benefit your organization. Isn’t it time you started to take wellbeing at work seriously?

Happiness drives success

When we launched a company-wide wellbeing@work initiative at Atos around five years ago, many felt cynical about the impact it might have on our business. Most commercial organizations manage through financial performance, where the human aspects of the business are merely a side dish to the overloaded business plate. Employee wellbeing is often viewed as the sole responsibility of the HR department, which makes it easy for everyone to point the finger when staff morale is low and absenteeism figures are on the rise.

Time for a wake up call. Wellbeing and happiness at work are the responsibility of the entire organization. From board members to managers and the employees themselves, everyone has a role to play in turning the workplace into a happy and inspiring environment where everyone can perform their best and enjoy what they do!

If you need convincing that a happy workforce benefits both your top and bottom line, here are a few indicators about happy employees that should cheer you up:

  • Increased productivity – they achieve better results
  • Higher quality – they care about the quality
  • Lower absenteeism – they look forward to going to work
  • Less stress and burnout – they cope better with everyday pressures
  • Attract the best talent – they like working in a happy environment
  • Higher satisfaction – they provide better customer service
  • Higher sales – they sell more as their happiness is infectious
  • Increased creativity and innovation – they are more creative and enjoy working in diverse teams.

Research conducted for the Science of Happiness by the iOpener Institute in Oxford, UK found amongst 41,000 respondents that a happy worker is a high-performing one. Their research shows that happy employees are “on task” 80% of the time, leaving 20% for chat, connecting with colleagues, coffee moments, disruptive calls and technology or tool breakdowns (down time). However, employees who are unhappy at work spend only 40% of their time on task, which is equivalent to just two days a week. This represents an enormous cost to businesses, particularly when you consider it amounts to a staggering 100 working days a year!

In my next post I will look at key areas that form the foundation of wellbeing at work and sustainable, successful business - encouraging a positive mindset and creating an inspiring work environment based on new styles of leadership, recognition and trust.

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About Marianne Hewlett

Senior Vice President and member of the Scientific Community
Marianne Hewlett is a Senior Vice President at Atos and a seasoned marketeer and communications expert. Passionate about connecting people, technology and business, she is a member of the Atos Scientific Community where she explores the Future of Work and the impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society. She is a strong ambassador for diversity and inclusivity – and particularly encourages female talent to pursue a career in IT – as she believes a diverse and happy workforce is a key driver for business success. As an ambassador for the company’s global transformation program Wellbeing@work, she explores new technologies and ways of working that address the needs of current and future generations of employees. A storyteller at heart, she writes about the human side of business and technology and posts include insights into the future of work, the science of happiness, and how wellbeing and diversity can drive success.

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