Understanding employee wellbeing, work behaviours and work outcomes in a hybrid work context
Dragos Condrea/Adobe Stock
Analysis of employee data from one employer, Vitality, suggest that workplace behaviours are associated with wellbeing, that employees can be clustered based on their work behaviours and that improving employee wellbeing is associated with better work and performance outcomes.
What is the issue?
An increasing amount of work is now carried out through digital channels due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. New modern workplace telemetry (the remote collection of data on work patterns and behaviours), used responsibly, affords us the opportunity to understand the relationships between workplace habits, wellbeing and work outcomes at an increasingly granular level.
How did we help?
The main aim of this study was to build on the understanding of the links between employees’ work behaviours and their lifestyle, health, wellbeing and workplace outcomes. Specifically, this study investigated the following:
- Are workplace behaviours, assessed using novel data, associated with employee wellbeing?
- Is there an opportunity to improve employee performance metrics, including engagement and productivity, with wellbeing being a mediator?
To answer these research questions, the research team used the following methods:
- A literature review to better understand the interlinkages between health and lifestyle factors, work behaviours and work outcomes.
- Analysis of a proprietary employee dataset of 1,023 UK-based employees of Vitality, incorporating Microsoft-collected workplace behaviour data and other administrative and self-reported survey data. More specifically:
- Cluster analysis was used to divide employees into ‘types’ based on shared work behaviours, job characteristics and other personal traits.
- Regression modelling methods were used to examine the relationship between workplace behaviours and employee wellbeing for these various employee types. An original composite wellbeing score was constructed in order to achieve this end.
- Lastly, further regression models were run to examine the relationship between employee wellbeing (using the composite mental wellbeing score) and employee performance metrics (including employee engagement, work impairment and productivity).
What did we find?
Evidence from the literature suggests that within an organisation there exist several employee types that can be characterised, at different levels of managerial functions, by their work behaviours.
Cluster analysis revealed six cluster groupings that varied by seniority and key workplace behaviours. Further, regression analysis revealed that these key workplace behaviours are associated with wellbeing and, on the whole, when employees have periods in which they work atypically in comparison to their ‘norm’ or usual behaviour, this is associated with worse wellbeing outcomes, as measured using the composite wellbeing score.
What can be done?
The findings of this study suggest that workplace behaviours are associated with wellbeing, that employees can be clustered based on their work behaviours and that improving employee wellbeing is associated with better work and performance outcomes.
As different types of employees experience work slightly differently, this opens up the opportunity to provide individualised interventions with the goal of work behaviour change that could lead to better wellbeing outcomes for employees in terms of their mental health, work-life balance and burnout risk. This is of particular relevance given the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19.