Greater workplace flexibility and designated mental health leave key to improving employee wellbeing
With employee mental health and wellbeing an increasing priority for organizations across the Philippines, new Qualtrics research reveals 77% of workers in the country say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges. Mental health is also being impacted by remote work, with 27% saying it’s had a negative impact compared to 23% who say it’s had a positive impact.
As employers across the Philippines consider, design, and embrace new hybrid and remote work models, and look for ways to better support their people in uncertain and changing environments, the Qualtrics findings highlight the importance of understanding employee needs to successfully align the programs being adopted with their needs and expectations.
Employees in the Philippines say the most impactful changes employers in the region can introduce to improve mental health are to provide an annual paid company-wide mental health week (49%), give access to mental health resources, such as on-site counseling (44%), introduce a four-day work week (39%), or offer flexible schedules (37%). An overwhelming majority (98%) agree paid mental health days are a long-term solution for good mental health.
Defining workplace flexibility
As employers across the Philippines design new ways of working, and the prominent role it plays in wellbeing, Qualtrics research outlines how local employees define workplace flexibility. For a quarter of respondents (27%), flexibility means having control of the hours they want to work, while another quarter said being able to work from any location (27%). Others define it as being able to choose which days to work (24%) or being measured by performance instead of hours (18%).
In terms of what kind of flexibility is most important to employees in the Philippines, the majority of respondents opted for being able to work from any location (61%). This was followed by the flexibility to work an undetermined set of hours or days (53%), the opportunity to choose when to work predetermined hours (51%), taking vacation as desired (36%), and the ability to run errands during the workday (34%).
More flexibility, more paid vacation time, and paid mental health leave are also highlighted as key drivers of retention.
Measuring performance in new workplace environments
The shift to hybrid and more flexible work models is elevating discussions regarding how to measure employee performance in these new environments, with an increasing movement toward focusing on outcomes rather than hours worked. The majority of respondents in the Philippines (92%) are supportive of being measured by outcomes rather than hours, touting increased efficiency, focus, and recognition as the top reasons for doing so. A quarter (27%) also said they expect to work fewer hours under this model.
For organisations rethinking traditional ways of working, the Qualtrics findings reveal the impact of the changes being considered and implemented. Being proactive to understand how employees want to work – and the subsequent impact – will enable employers to make informed decisions ensuring the new ways of working adopted align with the varied needs of the entire workforce. This will help solve problems, such as current health and wellbeing challenges, at the root cause.
“To meaningfully and successfully improve employee wellbeing while simultaneously navigating the shift to modern working environments, employers in the Philippines must prioritize aligning their offerings with the individual needs and expectations of employees,” said Lauren Huntington, Employee Experience Solution Strategist – Southeast Asia, Qualtrics. “The most important part of any new working model is ensuring everyone benefits from the transformations introduced. By better understanding the individual needs of employees, and the business and personal impact of the changes, employers can effectively launch new ways of working while ensuring no-one gets left behind.”