“New Normal” of workplace change affects absences, well-being

MC&A March Newsletter - "New Normal" of workplace change affects absences, well-being

“New Normal” of workplace change affects absences, well-being

“New Normal” of workplace change affects absences, well-being

Almost half of employees report they or their colleagues have taken time off after an organizational change, according to new research by Morneau Shepell.

Its survey of 1,018 employers and employees across the country found most employee respondents reacted negatively to organizational change; 40 per cent said it adversely impacted their health and well-being and 30 percent said it affected their job performance.

But workplace change is “the new normal” with technology, new business models and globalization. Futurists predict the intensity of organizational changes will increase over time.

The survey conducted found 66 per cent of respondents have experienced at least one organizational change with their current employer, including restructuring (39 percent), downsizing and layoffs (35 percent), job redesign (35 percent), redesign of office space (29 percent) and mergers (15 per cent).

While employers usually focus on how they communicate with employees during large organizational changes, they should put as much effort in helping them deal with the individual changes such as job redesign. When someone’s job changes, that’s the most personal experience someone could have.

Employees experience a lot of stress from confusion, so employers should not only give information in advance of the change but provide clear updates throughout the transition so staff don’t feel like details are being hidden or rationed.

In terms of demographics, Morneau Shepell’s research found employee respondents age 30 and under are more than twice as likely to take sick leave due to mental-health concerns compared to those older than age 30. Rarely do particular groups get called out, but the evidence is overwhelming. The youngest cohort is twice as likely to take time off than other generations.

For employers, this statistic has significant implications as younger employees represent the future workforce. The probability that companies may face higher mental-health costs, is a reality that needs to be addressed and monitored.

Morneau Shepell’s survey also found the majority (75 percent) of employee respondents ranked work culture as the most important issue to address regarding mental health in the workplace. But nearly half (47 percent) of employer respondents indicated a negative culture as the top issue in the workplace, while 24 (percent) said they have no idea how to support a mentally healthy work environment.

Employees whose workplace has a positive culture are less likely to have taken mental health sick leave in the past two years, according to the survey. In fact 61 percent of employees polled reported their colleagues have had a positive impact on their mental health.

Activities like team building and regular meetings can help build a positive work culture.

excerpts provided by: Transcontinental Media G.P. originally published on benefitscanada.com

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