When we consider how, in a physical and visible sense, organisations impact on people’s day-to-day lives, the business case for an organisation to seek to improve both the reality and the perception of its presence becomes clear.
That impact is strongest at the workplace. An organisation’s ability to influence the health and wellbeing of its employees however, extends beyond the physical boundaries of the business premises. Increasingly through technology employees are bringing the workplace in to their own homes and into their community. A 2015 Deloitte report found that employees have become hyper-connected to their jobs through pervasive mobile technology. Communities are having to live with the effects of commuting patterns, deliveries and emissions, along with the sights and sounds associated with day-to-day business activities.
Combined, these create a ‘footprint‘ that defines the organisation, the impact of which can be a significant contributor to people’s overall level of happiness and wellbeing. Unmanaged, the footprint an organisation makes can be detrimental to employee health and wellbeing and thus become a barrier to success.
WHAT QUESTIONS DOES THIS PROVOKE FOR WELLBEING AND ENGAGEMENT?
It is worth noting that there is often a failure to capture and articulate the economic benefits of health and wellbeing in a way that resonates (Work Foundation 2014).
However, a New Economics Foundation review suggested that if employees are ‘happy’ and buy in to the strategy of the organisation, then they will in turn put in maximum effort. Where that strategy overlaps with community interests in a positive way, employee buy-in is likely to be enhanced. How an organisation seeks to develop and control its community footprint is therefore a matter that is worthy of attention, and its leaders may wish to consider the following questions:
- 1In order to achieve optimal results from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and organisational health and wellbeing programmes, should the level and type of organisational investment in managing their footprint substantially change?
- 2Are organisations currently going far enough and moving fast enough to ensure that predicted problems can be managed or mitigated (e.g. climate change, interruptions to supply, material substitutions, technological advancement)?
- 3Population/workforce demographics – do organisations understand the changing expectations and demands of their local communities, customers and workforce and how this will affect their existing footprint over time?
- 4Do organisations place value in a ‘culture of wellbeing’ and through their HR practices consciously link this to organisational outcomes.