Brief • 5 min Read
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the global authority for driving market transformation through healthy buildings, organizations and communities, released findings today from IWBI’s 2023 State of Workforce Well-Being Poll, showing almost everyone (96%) agrees that a healthy work environment is necessary for employee productivity. According to findings, most of the American workforce also say health and well-being is a “must have” for organizations and something employers should be “ethically obligated” to support.
IWBI’s 2023 State of Workforce Well-Being Poll, conducted by The Harris Poll, sought to better understand how U.S. workers prioritize and experience the investment by their employers to promote health, well-being and equity in their work environments. The Harris Poll surveyed over 1,000 full-time employed U.S. adults 25 years old and older during a two-week period in January 2023, providing an important look into the current state of the workforce, including a timely perspective on many trends initiated and magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years. Throughout the findings, employees consistently showed a strong, positive view of health-first practices, an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and workplace flexibility. The key findings report of the poll can be found here.
“What these poll findings make clear is that employees deeply value their well-being and they expect their employers to as well,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO, IWBI. “Employers who invest in the health of their employees have a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the talent they need to be successful in today’s economy.”
The poll found that the vast majority of employees place a high value on a healthy work environment and how an organization invests in their health, safety and well-being. Specifically, the poll found:
- 96% of employees agree that a healthy work environment is necessary for employee productivity.
- Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) agree that employers should be “ethically obligated” to create a work environment that enhances the health, safety and well-being of their employees.
- More than 8 in 10 (84%) employees agree that supporting the health of employees is a “must-have” for companies.
- 81% agree that their company’s physical work environment has a major impact on their health and well-being.
With the current spotlight on issues related to the return to the office, the poll also found that most employees (74%) look forward to going to their physical workplace. However, general health issues top the list of employee concerns about returning to a physical workplace, tied with commuting, among employees who work remotely at least one day per week. Specifically, the poll found:
- Nearly three-quarters of employees (74%) agree that their company workplace is a place that they look forward to going or would look forward to going.
- General health concerns, which include health and safety concerns and mental health concerns, top the list of employee concerns about returning to a company’s physical work location full-time or part-time (49% tied with commuting), among employees who work remotely at least one day per week.
The poll also showed that employees view organizational DEI efforts as a vital part of a company’s commitment to health. Further, a company’s DEI efforts strongly aligned with employee job satisfaction and comfort in the workplace. Specifically, the poll found:
- 83% of employees agree that DEI initiatives are an important part of a company’s overall commitment to employees’ health and well-being.
- 78% of employees say that their company’s commitment to DEI is an important part of their job satisfaction.
- 83% of employees agree that companies that actively promote DEI initiatives facilitate a more comfortable workplace.
“This poll, both timely and important, gives us nationally representative data on how today’s workforce is grappling with a staggering amount of change over the past few years,” said Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, Chief Medical Officer, IWBI. “We can glean a wealth of information from this poll about the state of our workforce here in the United States. But one message is deafeningly clear: employees want to work for companies that prioritize and invest in their health and well-being, helping support equity, a welcoming culture, flexibility and other health-first strategies.”
Most of the national workforce agrees that healthy employees are critical to a company’s bottom line. In fact, 95% agree (62% strongly agree) that a healthy workforce is essential to a company’s financial success. Further, according to the poll, employees view a company commitment to health and well-being as key to other critical company performance factors, including employee engagement, company reputation and employee recruitment and retention. Specifically, the poll found:
- 95% agree (52% strongly agree) they are more likely to engage with a company that visibly cares about the health and well-being of its employees.
- More than 9 in 10 employees (92%) agree (43% strongly agree) that a company that is committed to employee health and well-being stands out from the crowd.
- Nearly 4 in 5 employees (79%) say they would not feel any loyalty to a company that does not prioritize their health. And nearly 3 in 4 employees (73%) say they would not apply to work for a company that does not show it proactively invests in employee health and well-being.
Finally, the poll found many workers are taking part in flexible work arrangements, and those that do are worried about potential return-to-office mandates.
- On average, employees say they work remotely two days per week; and more than two-fifths of employees (45%) work remotely at least one day per week.
- Nearly 4 in 5 employees who work remotely at least one day per week (78%) say they are concerned about return-to-office mandates (whether their company has actually enacted a mandate or not).
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