How Small Daily Habits Can Engage Your Employees and Improve Team Performance

Simple steps to support your colleagues, whilst improving performance overall.

Anna Hayes - 22 March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, and widespread health and wellbeing problems are among the most significant.

69% of adults report feeling worried about the impact that COVID-19 is having on their lives, with concern about the future and immediate stress and anxiety some of the key issues that people are facing.

There has been a reduction in many healthy behaviours that people used to do every day without even thinking about it. Activities like walking have been hit as lockdown restrictions have limited how much time many people spend on the move. Chronic disease is now widespread, and some experts predict that about 80% of cases are related to the lifestyles that people live.

Added to this mix is a challenging economic environment that has caused people to develop fears about their finances. A survey by Intrum showed that 55% of UK respondents reported a decline in their financial wellbeing as the pandemic hit in 2020.

It isn’t business as usual for employers, and there are important reasons for businesses to adapt to the new environment. A higher than usual percentage of your employees are inevitably facing additional challenges, so there needs to be an increased level of focus on the support you provide. Addressing new problems requires senior leadership teams to look closely at HR strategies in light of what they now know, quickly adapting to how staff needs and behaviours have changed.

There’s no doubt that the world has changed dramatically since the pandemic started, and some of these changes look permanent.

What does a good people strategy look like right now?

Reshaping a business to appropriately respond to the changes we’re living through requires a full and honest reassessment of your HR strategy.

It’s important to take a step back to question everything with an objective view. Be honest about how it’s all shaping up in 2021, and don’t be afraid to rip up ideas that seemed great at the start of last year but just don’t make sense any more.

Is your strategy still fit for purpose? Are the methods you’re currently using to look after and motivate your staff still appropriate in this new environment? And how about your systems and processes, are you still able to monitor behaviour, get employee feedback, and help create positive changes to culture and the behaviour of people in your organisation?

We’ve spoken with hundreds of senior HR professionals about this, distilling the challenges to four key strategic themes:

  1. Responding to the changing environment

Office life has ground to a halt for many businesses and been replaced with remote workforces who are facing higher levels of stress.

Remote employees often work in new environments that may not encourage a healthy lifestyle. HR strategies in 2021 need to focus on how businesses can bring their remote workforces together as a team and help them maintain a healthy work environment.

2. Recruitment and retention

The pandemic has caused a shift in expectations for both employees and potential hires alike.

The aspects of what makes a business attractive to work for now will be vastly different to those a few years ago. As an employer, now’s the time to review whether you’re doing enough to differentiate yourself from the competition in the eyes of prospective hires.

Question whether you have a happy workforce. Are you doing enough to keep staff motivated and helping them feel supported in times of great uncertainty? Identify ways in which you can make small changes quickly that can make a positive impact.

3. Reassessing benefits

In challenging times, like right now, employees appreciate easy access to health and wellbeing benefits more than ever.

When was the last time you stepped back to assess what your benefits package means to your employees? Does what you offer make a positive difference to their lives, or is there more you can do?

Increasingly, there’s more of a need for value-driven benefits. Using appropriate tools to analyse how employees engage with wellbeing benefits is one of the best ways to measure value.

Your return on investment will grow as more people use the benefits you offer, and the right level of support can also lead to positive changes across the whole business.

4. Take a unified approach to benefits

The traditional approach to building employee benefit packages is often disjointed and can result in a scattergun approach that ends up with nobody quite sure what help is available and how to access it.

The inefficiencies that follow can mean that your benefits are not aligned with their purpose.

Technology is empowering employers to consolidate all aspects of their benefits packages to help surface insights that give HR teams the information they need to make strategic decisions. Analysing data on how people engage with your wellbeing benefits can help to make sure that the support you have in place is driving the best possible results.

Small daily habits can be a catalyst for change

“The wellbeing of your staff isn’t about fancy gym memberships, it’s about the culture,” says Dr. Chatterjee. “Employers need to encourage staff to take five minutes out, which might just mean having a cup of tea with the team and not talking about work. I honestly believe that if every person in the UK followed the Feel Better in 5 ethos, we’d have a happier, healthier society. It’s that simple." Dr. Rangan Chatterjee.

Work plays such a significant part in people’s lives.

The wellbeing risks that come bundled with investing so much time and energy at work means that the right wellbeing support can make a huge difference to businesses and the people who work in them. A growing number of employees now expect their employers to help them stay healthy.

However, there is a significant difference between what employees expect and what employers deliver. Our survey has suggested that a whopping 50% of employees don’t feel supported to work remotely.

“You don't have to have people change 40 things at once or do this huge thing. You just have to help them feel successful on something really, really small. “ BJ Fogg

When supporting the wellbeing of employees in a radically changing world, it’s important to take a close look at the benefits you offer to make sure they still help.

The steps you can take to help boost the wellbeing of your staff aren’t all as demanding or resource-intensive as you may fear. Instead of perks like happy hours or team outings that rely on people being together in a normal world, why not shift focus to rewarding employees for living a healthy lifestyle?

According to REBA research, 65% of people say that they would do more physical activity if rewarded for this by their employer. Instead of expecting everybody to be sitting at their desks for your next team call, why not encourage them to call in while out for a walk? Perhaps this could become a weekly or daily tradition? This way your team will be taking a break from their computer screens and exercising at the same time. Breaks for meditation and mindfulness are also hugely valuable. Developing habits here can help to improve concentration and reduce stress.

Micro-habits play an important role in making positive lifestyle changes that last, which is why they are deeply embedded in the YuLife app. It combines behavioural science and gamification to boost mental and physical health by rewarding employees who develop healthy daily habits.  

This makes it much more than simply an insurance product to be added to a list of perks. This is a transformative solution which represents a solid investment in the wellbeing of your employees. The outcome is significant - a happier, more motivated, and more productive workforce.

There’s no time like now

Now is the perfect moment for businesses to reassess their HR strategies and the traditional HR frameworks that they’ve operated in for years.

As the needs and expectations of employees have shifted, there’s a real opportunity for businesses to take a proactive approach to improve employee wellbeing.

“We have an opportunity to really make a difference and inspire people to live their best lives”. Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

To achieve this, businesses need to have the right benefits in place and the best tools to make sure they work.

Deploying the right benefits through the best technology makes it quick and easy for businesses to offer important wellbeing solutions that make a real and immediate difference.

YuLife offers companies of all sizes an easy way to offer extra financial protection that comes bundled with the health and wellbeing benefits that employees expect and value.

Click here to get a quote and learn more about how YuLife’s is working with hundreds of growing businesses to provide Group Life Insurance that engages, rewards and protects their people.

Anna Hayes

Anna joined the YuCrew in 2020. She loves doing walking challenges with her puppy and reading in her spare time.