Wellbeing at Work

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Health Assured team

31 October 2019

Your employees are one of the most important assets to your organisation and you should treat them as such.

With a majority of the workforce spending most of their lives at either work or thinking about work, employers now recognise the importance of investing their workforce’s wellbeing.

Not only is it linked to your staff’s engagement, productivity and job satisfaction, it’s also connected to the overall success of your organisation.

This piece explores employee health and wellbeing in the workplace. It’ll also offer some helpful tips for improving wellbeing at work.

Let’s look at the connection between wellbeing, productivity and happiness at work.

What is Employee Wellbeing?

Employee wellbeing relates to all aspects of working life for your employees, encompassing both the safety of the physical environment to how staff feel about their workload and workplace.

It is how your staff’s job, duties, expectations, stress levels, and environment affect their overall health. When looking to improve workplace wellbeing, you need to look at all areas of the business. It also means your wellbeing programs at work can start almost anywhere as they can be implemented in any area.

Studies have proven poor wellbeing to be detrimental to employee output and workplace morale. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive.

The benefits of improving staff wellbeing

Wellbeing programmes were first introduced as an employee perk in larger organisations. In today’s working environment, they now often form company's wellbeing strategy. 

This is because organisations understand the benefits of ensuring their staff are healthy—physically, mentally socially and financially .

This provides various benefits for both employers and employees. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Physically healthier and improved general wellbeing
  • Reduced sickness absences
  • Better job satisfaction and positivity
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced stress
  • Attract and keep top talent
  • Reputation as a great place to work

An effective wellbeing programme is proactive and aims to educate your staff so they’re able to adopt healthy behaviours and improve their physical and mental wellbeing at work. When they’re conscious about potential health risks such as stress, depression, high blood pressure, or cholesterol, they’re more likely to take steps to prevent it. And with that, you can expect to see a reduction in the number of unplanned absences due to ill health.

Employers now realise the link between employee engagement and wellbeing. Research from CIPD suggests that to get the best out of your employees, you should be trained in identifying the signs of and dealing with stress. The same study indicates that employees felt less motivated in their role and less loyal to an organisation when managers don’t provide advice or engage with them.

This means wellbeing is essential to improve productivity in the workplace. With the work environment often being a social one, it’s no surprise the wellbeing of one staff member can have a knock-on effect on the others.

How to improve employee health and wellbeing

By improving the health and wellbeing of your people, you’re not only improving their quality of life but you’re helping to create a more motivated, engaged and high performing workforce – resulting in greater organisational success.

Although providing free fruit and yoga classes are  often well received, promoting health and wellbeing is more complex than that. It affects all aspects of working life, in and outside of the work environment.

Effective employee health and wellbeing at work policy should show your values and highlight the ways you’ll holistically support your staff in living healthy and fulfilling lives in and out of work.

Staff wellbeing ideas include:

Promoting a healthy work-life balance

The first step to ensuring employees’ wellbeing at work is to foster a culture that encourages a healthy balance between their home and work life. Encourage employees to work smarter not longer to avoid the potential of mental health conditions developing such as anxiety and depression or even experience burnout.

Investing in fitness

As well as improving productivity, physical activities are also good for longevity, joy and improved health. While not every organisation can afford to provide an onsite gym, subsidised gym memberships and setting up walking or running clubs are an easy way to encourage physical wellness amongst employees.

By encouraging and investing in health and wellbeing activities for employees, you’re showing that you value their health and input to your organisation.

Consider flexible or remote working options

Wellbeing isn’t just about their physical health, it’s about their overall quality of life. Employees have other commitments outside of work that are just as important to them as their job, including their friends, families and hobbies.

By offering flexible working options, you’re empowering them to be able to change their working habits to fit their commitments outside of work and improve their work-life balance.

Employee assistance programmes

Many organisations now offer EAPs (employee assistance programmes) to support employees dealing with problems in their personal lives. Problems that in the long run may affect their health, wellbeing and work performance.

EAPs allow for employees to call a confidential phone line, which connects them to qualified counsellors to talk about any personal issues. Many even offer structured formal counselling sessions if the employee is showing symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. 

Mindfulness training

By practising mindfulness in the workplace, your staff learn to live in the present rather than stressing over the future. Many staff get caught worrying about what they need to do and procrastinate what they should do that moment.

With an effective training programme, they can increase productivity, and focus on their day-to-day work. Studies show that it can also reduce stress and anxiety by as much as 40% and 58% respectively.

Health and wellbeing at work ideas

If you already have good policies in place, showing your employees you are willing to go the extra mile will help boost morale and wellbeing at work.

Whether this is a one-off wellbeing day at work or more broad wellbeing at work initiatives, these acts can help boost a wellbeing policy.

Here are a few different health and wellbeing activities at work:

  • Improve the office environment with natural light and add plants
  • Subsidise gym memberships
  • Set up a cycle to work scheme
  • Healthy work snacks
  • Casual dress code or casual dress days
  • Encourage breaks with break rooms and leisure activities such as a pool table
  • Thank your employees
  • Regular team-building events

This list of wellbeing ideas at work is by no means exhaustive, but it highlights how easy it can be to have a health and wellbeing at work strategy.

Need help with wellbeing policy at work?

Want to find out more? Why not book a free consultation with one of our wellbeing consultants? Call 0844 891 0352 for ideas on promoting health and wellbeing at work.

 

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