VHI has revealed the findings of the latest, ‘Vhi Health Insights Report’ series. The report titled ‘The Corporate Social Network: Employee Engagement and Well-Being in a Changing Workplace’ is the fifth in a series of in-depth reports by Vhi into the health of Ireland’s corporate employees.
The research, which was conducted by B&A and overseen by an expert panel, looked at the complexities of social engagement in the corporate workplace and the implications these might have for employee wellbeing.
The research coincided with the unprecedented circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Data was gathered both before and during the pandemic.
Findings show that among those working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, 78% would consider working from home more post-pandemic. For 40% of corporate employees, communication with their boss or immediate supervisor improved under remote working restrictions.
Additional findings from the report show:
Although professional communication improved due to working from home, the opportunity for social engagement declined with corporate employees reporting increased stress, as well as increases in dissatisfaction levels with mental health (up to 41% extremely dissatisfied) and social life (up to 62% extremely dissatisfied).
A high proportion of corporate employees in Ireland believe they have formed strong friendships at work (70%) and place a high level of trust in their corporate colleagues (65%).
51% are dissatisfied with the quality of interaction in wider working relationships such as inter-departmental meetings.
Dr David Morris, Head of Wellness at Vhi said: “It is clear through the research that social interactions and friendships in the workplace are key to an employee’s overall happiness and wellbeing and have a direct impact on an individual’s capacity to participate fully in day-to-day life.
“It was encouraging to see evidence of the strong relationships that can form in the workplace. We were also pleased to find that the remote working environment has led to an improvement in communication between employees and their employer.
“As we look to the future, the challenge for employers will be around how to create a work environment that fosters greater engagement of corporate employees resulting in the enhancement of work and life satisfaction levels. How we will work post Covid-19 remains to be seen but there will be learnings for us all to take forward in terms of how we engage and communicate with our colleagues, manage our overall wellbeing and a healthier work-life balance.”The Vhi expert group, considered the opportunities and challenges that the new work reality is presenting. It was agreed that the opportunities lie clearly in helping employees to use the time spent working from home to enhance their sense of autonomy and take control over their work.
The other benefit was the pathway to improved communication resulting from the use of digital tools. The challenges being faced lie mainly on the lack of opportunity for social engagement and a greater disruption to work-life balance.