When you think back to 2022, what comes to mind?
We’ll take a guess and say Covid-19 is the first thing you remember. Following that might be crippling staff shortages, or even supply chain issues. With so many factors at play, we all felt an unnerving mix of uncertainty and concern. And while there was light at the end of the tunnel, at the time, what was ahead of us remained unclear.
The rising cost of living and inflation were impacting our day-to-day lives. Data released by the ABS revealed the CPI (Consumer Price Index) had risen 3.5% in one year. What was even more concerning was that we saw the biggest rises in automotive fuel prices since 1990. This meant that higher fuel and transportation costs were hitting our pockets directly – this drove the price growth of goods and services up.
Let’s not forget the worldwide phenomenon of the Great Resignation. Our Employee Movement and Retention survey from September 2021 signalled that 48% of workers in Australia planned to look for a new role within the next 12 months. The shift in attitude toward work saw employees question the type of work they were doing, and they began to think more about how they could seek fulfilment in their professional lives. It caused an entire change in the way we thought and felt about work.
To say that there wasn’t a lot going on in Australia in 2022, would be an understatement – and the events influenced your employees in a major way. Instances like these can and did significantly impact one’s sense of wellbeing, and those lessons are still as important today as they were a year ago.
What’s in the report?
- We cast our minds back to 2021
- The seven dimensions of wellness
- The key findings
- Mental health and the pandemic
- Career health and the Great Resignation
- Financial health and a fluctuating market
- Are we supporting working parents?
- The big picture on employee health
- Survey demographics and methodology
The Wellness at Work Report’s key findings
KEY LEARNING: Employees are loyal to workplaces that care about wellness
We know that employers like to see returns on their investments.
Especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), you need to know that your efforts were worth it. The writing was on the wall; we found that employees who rated their employer’s commitment to wellness as good were 63% more likely to say they were loyal to a business as a result. This could have saved major costs associated with turnover and made all the difference to a growing company.
Over half of Australian employees were struggling with burnout at work
When it came to mental health, burnout was spreading quickly across the working population. Workers had felt a sense of extreme fatigue recently, with 53% signalling that it had affected them within the past three months (November-January). This came as no surprise, especially as we were continuing to feel the effects of Covid-19 and staff shortages. Only 32% were sure that they felt no sense of burnout from their work.
The majority of Australian workers felt they were in meaningful work
Being fulfilled in our professional lives contributes to our overall sense of purpose and wellbeing. After a tumultuous two years, we could see firsthand that it had left a wave of burnout – but we were also sharing some positive news. The majority of Aussie employees were finding fulfilment in their working life, with 69% of workers agreeing that the work they did was meaningful to them. Encouragingly, only 12% disagreed with this statement.
The pandemic had many employees questioning their careers
Even though many employees found their work meaningful, the importance placed on a career overall may have shifted. 36% of workers agreed that Covid-19 had decreased the importance they placed on their career. In line with the Great Resignation, this signalled that more workers could have been seeking a change of scenery, an industry-swap, a side-step, or even a move to an entirely different working model. As many had made the switch to remote working during the pandemic, they might have been considering how work could fit around their life, rather than how their life could support their work.
Aussies accepted others in the workplace
We all wanted to love going to work each day, and a big part of this was feeling comfortable to be ourselves. We found that 72% of workers agreed their workplace accepted them for who they were as a person. This was great news for employees, as their work environment could heavily influence their overall wellbeing. Only 8% disagreed with this.
Over half of Australian workers were stressed about finances
Whether it was due to the loss of work, the uncertainty of the pandemic, or skyrocketing inflation, Australian employees were worried about their finances. 56% said that they were stressed about money. Females were slightly more likely to be stressed about finances (60% of females vs. 52% of males), while those aged 18-24 were 31% more likely to be stressed.
The big picture on employee health
Throughout this report, we’ve explored the experiences of employee wellbeing during one of the most unique periods of our time. By uncovering these issues, we hope to help businesses better care for their teams and create better workplaces.
When we zoom out to a general view of workplace wellness, it’s clear that Australian businesses are heading in the right direction, even if there still is progress to be made.
What’s encouraging is that 52% of employees rated their employer’s commitment to improving overall wellbeing as good, while only 15% rated it as poor. This shows that although many states in the country endured some of the longest and most strict lockdowns in the world, employers were still focused on their team throughout these trying times.
If we focus in on specific areas of wellness, we can see some similar trends emerging. 45% of employees rated their employers commitment to mental health as good, and 27% rated it as poor. When it came to financial wellbeing, 40% rated their employers’ commitment as good and 26% rated it as poor. When it comes to career progression, 42% rated their employers’ commitment as good and 25% rated it as poor.
While these results are encouraging, there is still room for improvement. Remember, employees who feel supported in their wellbeing are more likely to be positive and productive in the workplace – something that all employers should be aiming to consistently achieve.
But it’s not just job satisfaction that’s driving the need to support employee wellness. Future-thinking employers know that for a peak performing team, employee wellbeing has to be above average. High-growth and resilient businesses are created by healthy and inspired employees, who are given the environment to do their best work. The data in this report confirms that these teams are more likely to be productive, present and loyal.
Report survey demographics and methodology
The findings in this report were determined from a survey organised by Employment Hero. The 11-minute online quantitative survey was deployed using the Glow Survey platform, and survey responses were collected from the national research panel Dynata. To complete the survey, respondents had to be employed in any capacity (full time, part-time, casual) and not own the business they worked in.
The survey was deployed using nationally representative quotas for age, gender, and location, but no active quotas were placed on the number of completed surveys. In total, there were 1,007 survey participants.
There were 307 working parents surveyed, making up 30.4% of the overall sample. The survey collected responses between the 13th of February 2022 and the 25th of February 2022.