Employees whose working locations do not match their preferred environment are twice as likely to struggle with their wellbeing, a new study has revealed.
The second annual State of Work-Life Wellness Report from Gympass found that “mismatched” individuals – people who work remotely but would prefer to be in the office or those who would rather be home based but have to attend a workplace – reported a significant negative impact on their overall wellbeing compared to their “matched” counterparts.
Mismatched employees were also discovered to be more likely to have higher levels of stress, lower emotional wellbeing and suffer more from sleep loss due to work-related stress, according to the corporate wellness platform’s research.
The survey of more than 5,000 employees across nine global markets, including the UK, further found that these workers were twice as likely to report being unhappy working at their current company.
Most (90%) of UK respondents believe their emotional wellness directly affects their productivity, while more than two in three (67%) admitted that their productivity suffers when they feel lonely and less connected at work.
Cesar Carvalho, co-founder and CEO of Gympass, said: “The workplace ‘mismatch problem’ underscores a larger issue: that wellbeing is unique to each individual. Flexibility is a crucial consideration as companies navigate the return-to-office landscape.
“Everyone is different. Companies can take better care of their employees by offering flexible, preventative benefits that not only make employees happy and healthy, but save your company money in the long term.”
The 2024 edition of the report highlighted that almost all (96%) workers seek employers that prioritise wellbeing, with 88% of UK respondents claiming that wellbeing and salary are of equal importance – up 10% from last year. A similar proportion (86%) would think about leaving an organisation that does not focus on employee wellbeing.
In terms of leadership, 91% of professionals at director level or above can take time for their wellbeing, compared to around three in four (76%) managers and two in three (66%) of non-managers.
Most global workers surveyed believe that emotional and physical wellness increase their productivity and workplace satisfaction, cited by 91% and 86% respectively, while around three in four (77%) engage with their organisation’s wellbeing programme.
Carvalho added: “Company leaders and managers: If you feel good about your wellbeing, you cannot assume that the rest of your team does, too.
“Leaders must ensure that employees, especially non-managers and those early in their careers, have the same time, resources and flexibility to take care of themselves. Wellness is not a seniority perk; it’s the most important thing to keep your employees healthy, productive and engaged at work.”
Luke Bullen, VP, head of UK and Ireland, corporate business, at Gympass, commented: “Wellness has become an intrinsic part of our work life, and the data in our report highlights this. But our data also highlights that wellness is not a universal experience and what works for one employee might be inappropriate for another.
“HR leaders should be actively encouraging their staff to engage in the wellness solutions that are right for them and their lifestyles – ensuring that everyone is supported in the areas they need it.”