With lockdown easing delayed, some companies rejecting access to unvaccinated staff, and further travel restrictions, it is an incredibly stressful and turbulent time for UK employees. It may be unsurprising then that, last week, it was announced that Bumble had closed its offices worldwide temporarily to combat workplace stress.
It was a story that naturally caught our eye at Edays. Whilst it was refreshing to hear that a large organization like Bumble had taken this important step to help staff switch off and focus on themselves, it raised questions amongst our team about whether many businesses are adequately prepared to support staff during times of increased stress. Should employee burnout really be allowed to get to a point where drastic action like this is necessary for the good of the company and its workforce?
Time out to burnout?
Our data shows that tackling burnout is likely to be a long-term challenge for organizations and their HR departments. Over the last two years, the UK workforce has seen a dramatic 113% increase in stress over the last two years. This has only been compounded by the uncertainty of the summer holiday this year which has resulted in an increase in holiday cancellations by 32% and 77.4% of people stating that they found it hard to ‘switch off’ when holidaying in the UK.
If we’re seeing an increasingly stressed workforce that is struggling to switch off, a one-week shutdown isn’t necessarily going to be a long-term solution – it may press the reset button, but if employee wellbeing isn’t addressed, it’s simply delaying the inevitable.
Traditional financial incentives may not be viable for many businesses around the world at the moment, but this means that now is the time to prove to your workforce that absence matters and that you value their wellbeing instead. Financial benefits aren’t the be-all and end-all! HR leaders should be tracking their employee leave and absence rates and regularly encouraging employees to take breaks to help build this all-important healthy culture of absence.
The coming summer months may not be the post-pandemic party we had all been hoping for, but this is all the more reason for businesses to encourage wellbeing and workplace satisfaction amongst their employees. A circuit breaker business burnout lockdown will only kick the ball down the line – this is a lesson for us all to learn from. The real key to a happy and healthy workplace lies in the hands of the business leaders – ones that show they understand just how much absence matters.