How Does Employee Wellbeing Affect Workplace Performance?

By Carly MacLennan
Illustration of Carl the Yeti sitting on a couch feeling anxious and distressed.

Employee wellbeing is always a multifaceted and holistic consideration. While the most obvious factors are your employees’ physical and mental health, there are numerous others — and virtually all of them are heavily interconnected. For example, the quality of relationships employees have with one another, relationships with their manager, and the working environment they’re placed in are all important to determining their wellbeing. In turn, both of these factors (and more!) can have flow-on effects on their physical and mental health too.

Perhaps most importantly, wellbeing and employee performance are closely linked. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown examples of this into the public eye in an unprecedented fashion. At one end of the spectrum, you had obvious stress and concerns about job security in a very unstable environment, with many people suffering serious effects on their mental health as a result. Conversely, after seeking it for years, the pandemic also saw many people working from home for the first time. Productivity actually went up for many businesses. Employees demonstrated a commitment to working in a new environment and also enjoyed the benefits of a reduced commute and better connections to their families.

It’s also important to note that both of these extremes were often commonplace for the same people: there was increased pressure, but a better working environment to cope with that pressure. Accordingly, “employee wellbeing” isn’t a flat template that can be applied universally. Does worker wellbeing affect workplace performance? Yes, but’s it going to look different from business and even employee to employee.

How to implement better employee wellbeing is a discussion in itself, though we tend to believe that the core principles of Connect, Listen, and Lead will go a long way. But today, we want to take a look at some of the key benefits that can be derived from prioritizing employee wellbeing in your organization.

Employee wellbeing and its effect on performance

image with text - 1. Higher work satisfaction. 2. Better cognitive performance. 3. Positive workplace bias. 4. More likely to commit to workplace goals. 5. Longer employee retention

No matter what industry you’re in, there are some key benefits that can be derived from focussing on employee wellbeing. Here are 5 of them:

1. Higher work satisfaction

This is the foundation for all of the other points on this list. Employees with better well-being are going to be more satisfied in their job, and accordingly bring more positive energy and morale to the workplace. If they’re satisfied with their work, they’ll go above and beyond to do better at it.

2. Better cognitive performance

Or, in layperson’s terms, applying themselves directly to the task at hand. If outside problems are otherwise occupying their mental space, employees can’t devote as much to their day-to-day tasks. However, employees whose wellbeing is cared for are able to more effectively engage with the tasks before them.

3. Positive workplace bias

When people know about something good, they want to tell other people about it! Employees with a positive workplace bias can be some of your most effective sources for future recruitment opportunities and as brand ambassadors — whether that’s in the office itself, in person to outsiders, or on networking sites.

4. More likely to commit to workplace goals

Looking after employee wellbeing means that your staff are far more likely to commit to long-term plans and workplace goals, rather than fobbing them off or being vague about their ability to complete them. And that leads directly to our final point...

5. Longer employee retention

image with text - By focusing on wellbeing, you’re retaining valuable talent and reducing costs

The workplace is like anywhere else in life — people are going to seek places where they feel valued and taken care of, and avoid places where they don’t. It’s perfectly normal for employees to go through peaks and valleys in their wellbeing journey, but if someone consistently feels that their wellbeing is being ignored or overlooked, they’ll eventually leave. This is a problem — you can lose valuable individual staff knowledge and have to spend more time and money training new employees. So by focusing on wellbeing, you’re retaining valuable talent and reducing costs further down the line too.

Start improving employee wellbeing today

Here at Motivosity, we understand the importance of looking after employees. Our Recognize system and archive of employee recognition resources can help you develop better insights into your staff, and look at ways to enhance their wellbeing. So if you’re looking at ways to enhance employee wellbeing, why not get in touch with Motivosity today?