With an explosion of burn-outs and psychosocial risks, increased stress, the covid crisis leaves its mark on employees. The health of employees has become a major concern for employers. Whether your company has chosen 100% remote working or a partial return of the teams at the office, actions to improve well-being at work and working conditions have become essential to tackle this re-entry and meet the challenges imposed by new collaboration patterns. We share with you the good reflexes to adopt for a Zen re-entry.

Where is the well-being of employees at?

The health crisis has a major impact on the well-being of employees. The physical and psychological health of employees has deteriorated for a year and a half. Burnouts "explode" and the psychological distress of employees is very high, according to the barometer of the psychological health of French employees, carried out by OpinionWay in spring 2021. Here are the main insights from this study:

  • In Belgium the burnout rate increased with 22%
  • 56% of employees are in psychological distress;
  • In the Netherlands and in Belgium, youth and young employees are particularly exposed. 60%% of them say being in psychological distress2.
  • Teleworkers are also more at risk. 46% of them are in psychological distress. this is a higher number than their face-to-face colleagues (40%)
  • 40% of those questioned in France stated to have sleep problems, 37% musculoskeletal pain and tension, 19% digestive problems, 26% headaches and 10% nausea;

Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 employees believe that their management "does not realize the psychological state of the employees and does not act accordingly". Yet 80% of French employees expect their company to take play a role in their well-being. This means that many actions remain to be taken to reverse the trend and improve the quality of life at work, whether face-to-face or remotely, in such a specific context. 

Well-being at work: our best tip for a good start at re-entry !

Train your managers in QLW

Managers are on the front line to support changes in collaboration methods while being the first affected. They must adapt their management to remote work by granting more autonomy and confidence, recreating rituals, and regaining team cohesion. Remote work invites managers to revisit their practices and permanently modify their managerial style. Training your managers in Quality of Life at Work (QLW) will help them take on their new managerial role, more humanistic, promoting the well-being at work of teams but also theirs. 

To achieve a better quality of life at work, managers need to acquire new skills such as knowing how to adapt, listening, fostering collective intelligence, provide feedback, giving more meaning to work, etc.

To achieve this, you can organize training sessions led by specialized organizations or even promote peer-to-peer experiences.

Take care of the physical and mental health of employees

Should the positive effects of regular physical activity and sport still be demonstrated? In any case, it is acclaimed by employees. 83% of employees would like to practice sport at their workplace. Sport is more essential than ever in their life balance. Indeed, 40% of employees believe that sport helps fight stress and clear their heads according to a study conducted by Decathlon in 2017 (look for another figure) and explain that employees need new benefits. Facilitating the practice of sport in a company thus represents a real advantage for employees and in the improvement of working conditions.

The benefits of sport in the workplace

Companies have every interest in facilitating sports practices in the workplace. Indeed, the regular practice of a physical and sporting activity has positive effects on the work but also on the health of the employees:

A productivity gain ranging from 6% to 9%;

  • An improvement in the company's profitability ranging from 4 to 14%;
  • A 35% drop in absenteeism for companies that have adopted a sports program.

The practice of sport is one of the preferred avenues for improving health and well-being at work. It is for this reason that more and more managers facilitate access to physical and sports activity at work.

Rethinking the workspace

Are you preparing to welcome your employees back to your premises by the fall? Take advantage of this new start to rethink your workspace and thus improve the well-being of your employees. If your concerns are primarily aimed at minimizing the risk of contamination and respecting barrier gestures, you must also create a friendly space after months of being away. Here are our tips:

Take care of the reception of your employees by creating a more convivial workspace: add plants, reorganize the cafeteria space, set up comfortable reflection spaces by adding armchairs and sofas to encourage brainstorming. 

Also, prefer spaces where employees can work or meet while standing to fight against a sedentary lifestyle and back pain. 

Finally, you can adopt a coworking-style organization by inviting employees to change places regularly and by switching between open and closed spaces for meetings.


Strengthen team cohesion

After months of estrangement, the teams need to regain group cohesion. Remote working has brought about new group rituals and new ways of talking at a distance. If these channels will continue with the extension of remote work in a partial way, the return to the office, even a few days a week, should allow the strengthening of team cohesion.

If the sanitary conditions allow it, do not hesitate to organize team buildings and face-to-face sporting challenges. Moreover, 80% of French people say that practicing a sport allows them to better manage relationships with others at work, a great way to bring teams together !

Sports team building, what is it about ?

The goal is always to improve team cohesion in order to find work pleasure or a greater investment in the heart of the company, there is no shortage of examples of sports activities. Whether you organize a challenge in the heart of nature, an Olympics-themed course, or a real sporting challenge in commando mode, your employees will always come out of it growing. It is also not uncommon for them to be thematic in order to make the activities more entertaining and immersive.

Remote challenges

Initiate challenges also remotely if you continue to telework to bring employees together. This will show that the company is dynamic and always looking for ideas to facilitate internal team cohesion.

Here are our tips:
  • Organize group and online sports sessions by inviting your employees to share their sports challenges internally.
  • Promote the best sports results obtained by employees. This will help to disseminate motivate other employees to practice physical and sports activities!
  • To promote cohesion between teams, you can invite your employees to share their best healthy recipes throughout “Food” challenges. The goal is for everyone to offer a healthy and tasty recipe at the same time, to take the dishes in photos and/or videos, and then submit them to a vote. 

Sources :

- The seventh wave of the Opinion Way barometer "Impact of the health crisis on the psychological health of employees" was carried out online from April 30 to May 10, 2021, with a representative panel of 2.007 employees, according to the quota method. 

- Source: https://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/epidemie-de-coronavirus/detail_coronavirus-l-epuisement-pandemique-explose-en-belgique-surtout-chez-les-jeunes?id=10695492

- France Bleu

- Employee health and business performance, Malakoff Médéric, 2016

- Study of Harmonie Mutuelle

- Study carried out by CNOSF - MEDEF - AG2R in 2015

- Study - Cisco July 2021