Changing work patterns have profoundly changed employees’ expectations of quality of work life (QWL). This is a need that more and more organizations are trying to meet. Indeed, 81% of French employees believe that their company is taking initiatives to improve their QWL. However, these actions do not always have the desired impact. So how do you go about improving the QWL of your employees? And what role can new ways of working play?
Also read: Work Methods Undergoing Profound Change
Why should you care about QWL?
According to the Actinéo 2019 barometer, 46% of French employees feel stressed at work. Stress reduces employee efficiency and can quickly turn into burnout.
It’s thus in the company’s interest to do its utmost to improve the quality of work life for its employees. Moreover, this can have several benefits:
Decreased absenteeism and presenteeism
Several studies have shown that QWL reduces absenteeism, the cost of which in France amounts to approximately $4,813 per year per employee²—nearly $16.8 billion nationwide.³ A major challenge, therefore. And according to the Chapman Institute, the implementation of a QWL approach would make it possible to reduce absenteeism from work by 25%.⁴
In addition to absenteeism, a good QWL also helps to reduce presenteeism, i.e. the fact that an employee is “too” present at work, even when his or her state of health should not allow it. This phenomenon is said to affect half of the French workforce, representing an annual cost of €14 billion.⁴
Happy employees also mean more committed, motivated employees. According to the 2016 Edenred-Ipsos barometer, 37% of employees who define themselves as happy at work show greater motivation and involvement.
The more employees feel good about their company, the more they’ll do their best to achieve objectives, with an increased contribution to the company’s performance.
As a result, QWL plays a critical role in the productivity of your employees.
According to Bloom at work, a company whose employees are fulfilled at work is 43% more productive than average, its employees are on average 86% more creative and put 65% more energy into their work.
An employer branding tool
According to Gymlib, 50% of employees judge an employer on the QWL benefits it offers, and 61% place more importance on happiness at work than on salary.
A QWL policy therefore makes it easier to attract new talent, but also to retain existing employees. Indeed, it can reduce recruitment costs by 50% and reduce turnover by 28%. It’s thus essential for your employer branding strategy!
New ways of working, a lever for QWL
According to Speak and Act Dynamic QWL 2019 barometer, 50% of employees consider that their work environment doesn’t promote productivity. And 62% believe they don’t have spaces dedicated to well-being.
To meet employees’ new expectations, many companies are turning to remote work, hybrid work, digital workplaces, flex offices, or co-working. These new ways of working make it easier for teams to be agile, and are an opportunity for companies to rethink their office layouts and create spaces that promote well-being, such as gyms or relaxation rooms.
Among these work methods, teleworking is by far the most popular: 81% of employees are in favor of remote work,⁵ and with good reason. Indeed, according to a study by Owl Labs, employees working remotely are on average 22% happier than their colleagues who spend most time at the office. Moreover, the latter say they have a better work-life balance, are more focused, and less stressed.
Another advantage is that working from home or in a third place such as a country house or a co-working space can reduce commuting time, which is more than one hour per day on average.⁶
In addition to telecommuting, a flex office—i.e. not having a dedicated office—can also have a beneficial effect on QWL, as it will create more cohesion within the company.
Digital tools are another QWL trend that employees are increasingly fond of (see below). In addition, 46% of them (including 56% of managers) want to have “intelligent” connected furniture, ⁶ which may require investments on the part of the company.
How to reconcile new ways of working and QWL?
The new ways of working can therefore be an important QWL lever. Let’s look now at what the best practices are for promoting this well-being at work.
Recognizing employees’ work
To improve QWL, it’s important to show how everyone’s contributions together help the company achieve its goals. According to a 2019 Randstad study, 18% of French people do not perceive the meaning of their work and feel like they have a “bullshit job.” To avoid this loss of meaning (also known as brownout), recognizing employees’ accomplishments becomes crucial.
No need to start off pompously, a simple “thank you for your work” or “bravo for this very clear presentation” can sometimes make the difference. Team messaging or collaborative platforms are ideal for doing this before witnesses (via a message posted in the chat or with an animated GIF)—which will be even better perceived. Of course, don’t hesitate to invite your employees for a drink to congratulate them on their work.
Recognition can also come from peers. At AXA Banque, the #ITAGYOU system allows all employees to assign “tags” to the colleagues of their choice to recognize efficiency, innovative spirit or even good humor. These tags can then be transformed into gift vouchers.
For the employees, this system helps reinforce conviviality and develop a culture of feedback. According to the Happy at Work 2019 survey, 62% of employees associate feedback with work satisfaction. Thus, don’t hesitate to make your managers aware of this practice!
Providing a more flexible work environment and work schedules
According to the Actinéo 2019 barometer, 32% of all employees believe that having more flexible working hours can improve their quality of life at work. In addition, 25% would like to have more freedom to choose their workplace, an aspiration that is even stronger among millenials (35%).
There’s also every reason to believe that the COVID crisis—which has furthered the spread of remote work practices—has increased employees’ desire for greater flexibility.
Due to their greater digitalization, the new work methods make it possible to offer employees greater flexibility in terms of working hours and workspace. For example, combining telecommuting and the digital workplace will allow employees to access their workspace from anywhere while remaining in contact with their colleagues.
Using the right tools
So, what are the right tools to improve QWL? Several solutions stand out from the crowd.
The enterprise social network
The enterprise social network is a great way to connect employees, wherever they are. No need to send out bulk emails anymore: now you can chat live with any colleague, partner, or provider. You can also send surveys to your employees to get their feedback. Thanks to their feedback, you’ll have all the keys in hand to improve their QWL.
Also read: Best Enterprise Social Networks
The digital workplace
Today considered as the office of the future, the digital workplace unites all the tools that employees need to work (documents, business applications, communication, and project management tools). Accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device, the digital workplace adapts to the needs and constraints of all work environments to offer a personalized user experience—a lever for well-being at work.
More than ever before, employees need flexibility and recognition at work. These can be addressed through remote work, hybrid work or flex office. But while these new ways of working are a source of well-being for many, choosing the right tools—and supporting their deployment—is just as crucial.
Hoping to improve the quality of work life in your own company through innovative collaborative tools? Contact us! Our team will be pleased to guide you with your QWL project and to present our solution.
¹ 2019 QWL barometer by Speak and Act Dynamic
² Malakoff Humanis absenteeism simulator
³ Institut Sapiens barometer (2018)
⁴ Gymlib’s white paper on quality of work life (2018)
⁵ 2020 survey by Zevillage and Neo-Nomade
⁶ BVA study for Salesforce “Employees and Mobility” (2018)
⁷ 2019 Actinéo barometer
Author: Emmanuelle Abensur