Worker Wellness - Out of sight, not out of mind

 
Worker Wellness - Out of sight, not out of mind
 October 2021   

New data shows people in non-office jobs are far more dissatisfied than those in office-based roles and feel forgotten about when it comes to caring for their wellbeing.

And those who top the list are tradies, health workers and teachers, who say their needs are not being met, says Jane Kennelly, Skills Consulting Group GM of Wellbeing. 

The recently released Skills Consulting Group 2021 Work Wellbeing Index, a survey of nearly 1500 workers and 105 HR managers, showed that non-office workers – those employees who are not connected to a desk, such as production workers, tradies, retail staff, drivers, nurses and teachers – have an overall wellbeing score of just 59% compared to 65% for office workers.

And, when broken down by industry, the Index shows that those working in Healthcare scored wellbeing at 56%, followed by Construction/Trades at 57% and Education, along with Retail and Agriculture workers, at 58%.

“This is really compelling data,” says Ms Kennelly. “Traditionally, programmes have addressed wellbeing overall within an organisation. But, for instance, face-to-face counselling may not work for some or access to services that are only in normal office hours just isn’t workable. For workers who do shift work or people who are always mobile and working in different locations, such as tradies for example, the delivery channel needs to be much more flexible,” she says.

“To date, programmes have tended to put everyone into one basket – when what people need in terms of their wellbeing is diverse and so the programmes that will best address those needs need to be diverse as well. Organisations need to ensure they customise their approach.

“More personalised tools, more check-ins to ensure those who work outside or in a different way to a conventional office still feel part of the team… those are just some of the ways that Kiwi businesses can really begin to make an impact.”

Ms Kennelly says finding that the lowest levels of wellbeing are in the education, healthcare and construction industries is not hugely surprising, particularly in the COVID environment. All non-office based industries rated low levels of overall wellbeing, other than manufacturing (see table below).

Ms Kennelly says that by breaking down the Work Wellbeing Index data into office and non-office jobs, as well as by industry, we are able to get a greater understanding of the true level of wellbeing within Kiwi businesses.

Across all aspects, non-office workers rated their employers lower – in particular, that their manager genuinely cares for their wellbeing and acts upon it. Office workers rated this at 67% compared to 59% for non-office workers. They also rated the structures and programmes their company had in place to ensure their wellbeing at work was cared for at 54%, compared to office workers at a higher 61%.

“Qualitative feedback shows that, yes, the overarching needs are similar for both groups, but the working practices and demands on those outside the office environment are actually quite different,” says Ms Kennelly. 

For example, she says, health and safety was highlighted as a must for non-office based workers...

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