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Your employees are one of most important assets to your organisation and should be treated 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 to improve their wellbeing.
Employee wellbeing relates to how your staff’s job, duties, expectations, stress levels and environment affect their overall health.
This piece explores employee health and wellbeing in the workplace. It’ll also offer some helpful tips for improving wellbeing at work.
Wellbeing programmes were first introduced as an employee perk in larger organisations. In today’s working environment, they now often form part of a standard company benefits package.
This is because organisations understand the benefits of ensuring their staff are healthy—physically and mentally.
The result? Various benefits for both employers and employees. Here are some of the most common examples:
Reduced sickness absences: An effective wellbeing programme aims to educate your staff so they’re able to adopt healthy behaviours. 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.
Improved engagement: 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 tend to feel less motivated in their role and less loyal to an organisation when managers don’t provide advice or engage with them.
Increased productivity: Wellbeing is essential to improve productivity in the workplace and 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 to the others.
Although providing free fruit and yoga classes are one way to go, promoting health and wellbeing is more complex than that.
An effective employee health and wellbeing strategy should demonstrate your values and highlight the ways you’ll 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. Leading by example, showing managers adopting this thinking will help employees to feel comfortable in being able to follow suit. A culture that encourages employees to work longer hours to ‘prove themselves’ or for fear of losing their job, leads to 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. So, 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 as a means of supporting employees dealing with problems in their personal lives. Problems that in the long run may affect their health, wellbeing and work performance.
Mindfulness training: By practising mindfulness in the workplace, your staff learn to live in the present. 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.
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