The health of your teams is your responsibility
Deloitte sounded the alarm three years ago; thanks to the mass of digital information flooding employees, mental exhaustion now accounts for 10% of payroll costs, due to fatigue, concentration errors, exhaustion, disengagement or absences. This leaves managers stuck between wanting happy and healthy teams and demanding performance standards that would seem to undermine it.
This issue is already well understood by British and Northern European companies, where it directly impacts the healthcare costs of its employees. On the other hand, it has only recently been taken into consideration in France, where occupational health costs are largely reported by social security, using the government’s bonus/penalty system for sick leave to deal with increased sick leave due to psychosociological issues.
Is the tradeoff between wellbeing and performance an inescapable dilemma for managers? Perhaps not. Germany has introduced an interesting approach to this apparent contradiction that doesn’t oppose wellbeing, health and performance, but instead reconciles them using the German Trade Union’s reference guide “Gute Arbeit”, (“Good Work”). This repository gives about 40 points on which to evaluate whether working conditions are healthy, and if they allow for doing good work.
This approach is constructive (unlike RPS surveys in France), and companies can benchmark each other. This repository – and it’s worth taking a look at it – gives the keys to solving the well-being versus performance dilemma, including the mental burden conditions of knowledge workers (self-direction, deadline pressure, level of interruptions, mental regeneration, immediate impact of their work and so on). Essentially it is a KPI for future managers, complete with instructions.