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Working from home
Photo by Jeremy Keith

Workplace wellbeing

Lesley Brook —

The wellbeing of staff at work is becoming increasingly important and this trend has been accelerated by COVID-19 lockdowns.

There is no consensus yet on what the factors of workplace wellbeing are and how to achieve them. Bing Dai, a Senior Lecturer at our Auckland International Campus, and collaborators Stefan Quifors (AUT) and Jing Yi Chan (University of Otago) undertook a study to contribute to the empirical evidence on this subject.

The team investigated the perceptions and experiences of Human Resource managers regarding workplace wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many staff have been working from home. They conducted semi-structured interviews online with 20 HR managers in organisations with 100 staff or more. The following themes emerged.

  1. Present practices were not all they were set out to be. Amongst other things, this was attributed to lack of a structured workplace wellbeing framework, workplace wellbeing initiatives not being measured for impact, and a lack of strategic congruence.
  2. COVID-19 lockdowns changed how the participants handled workplace wellbeing, while employees were working from home. Themes related to the role of family/whānau, ergonomics of workplace during lockdown, and provision of workplace wellbeing initiatives.

The study has implications for HR managers who need to help staff to successfully manage the connection between work and non-work domains to maintain wellbeing. Further research is needed to evaluate the outcomes of the workplace wellbeing initiatives that businesses put in place during COVID-19 lockdowns.