Could wellness matter more for a career than salary?

This seems like a strange question. But I think it's important to answer. It's the New Year and we all know what that means – making New Year's resolutions.


But how do we make them? These aren't exactly ordinary times. We are living in a world of mask wearing and travel restrictions, while our Covid Passes and identity cards are checked when we enter a gym, go to the cinema or a restaurant. Most of us are also currently working from home.

That's not to say we shouldn't look at the year ahead optimistically. In a fingers-crossed post-pandemic world that we might enter, a fresh perspective on work makes sense.

One area where we should focus is wellness.


But first what is wellness?


The term is used a lot and is often misunderstood, so I think it makes sense to define it. Wellness is the act of practising healthy habits daily to attain better physical or mental health. It's about not just surviving but thriving in the workplace.

Interestingly, this has become a top priority for many employees since the start of the pandemic. A lot of this is to do with those times we spent working remotely in a different setting.

Many of us thought deeply about our lifestyles and how we work during the pandemic. It's no coincidence that now most candidates I meet consider flexible working as one of the most important attractions when considering a new job.

We now want to work to live, rather than live to work. Wellness forms a big part of this.

Wellness goes beyond flexible working

HR teams have been working around the clock. It's a story that is not often told. But they have really been the champions in the companies that they work for.

Employees have dramatically changed their preferences since the pandemic. In fact, this goes beyond flexible working. All the perks that a company may have offered pre-pandemic, need to be reconsidered. Company canteens and corporate cars may no longer be as attractive compared to working from home or being given home office equipment.

Many HR teams have had to tirelessly work to rewrite the benefit packages that they offer workers. Our working lives have changed and so have our needs. This is an opportunity for companies to make a real difference, to change what they offer employees and build on their employer brands.

We are facing a significant shortage of skilled workers in Switzerland, so how a company looks in front of potential employers is extremely important.

Right now, focusing on wellness could be a clear winner in 2022. The optics look good, plus it could lead to a more satisfied workforce. It also increases the chances of retaining existing employees, while attracting new talent.


Why wellness matters


Social distancing and remote working had a huge impact on work. It's revealed so much about employee wellness and how mental and emotional health in the workplace can be affected. The pandemic meant that companies could really assess how productive employees could be in a remote setting away from the office. They also needed to trust their employees more and give them more autonomy.

It has also given them a chance to really think about how they can make their businesses more compassionate and holistic in the way they promote wellness and mental health in the workplace. Creating a more digital interactive environment for employees to socialise and offering more flexibility at work have been important.

Some companies have been trying to offer better access to professional healthcare services, including mental health support. Other groups are looking at childcare arrangements even if a parent works remotely and is at home. Mental health days are also being granted to help employees relax and reset their minds. The point is that this is an area of intense focus.


Communication is essential


One of the biggest gripes that most candidates have is communication. Even now, I meet candidates that tell me that the reason they want to move is because they don't feel their being listened to.

This actually has a huge impact on wellness, particularly mental health. Many candidates often feel lost in the jobs they are doing because they feel disconnected from senior management. This is why employer engagement is so important.

It shouldn't just be about work. It should also be social. It can also be used to encourage social connections between employees that go beyond work.

This is about creating an environment where employees can prosper and exceed their potential in the organisations that they work for. Wellness could have a significant impact on employees’ productiveness and engagement. Plus, it also helps retain employees and attract new talent.

For many employees wellness now matters more for their career than the actual salary.