We are hearing more and more about the need for wellbeing in the workplace, but what does it really mean? Surely, wellbeing means healthy eating, keeping fit and that is something as individuals we are responsible for ourselves. Why should employers pay out for wellbeing benefits or consider it as part of an HR strategy? Shouldn’t it be the individual’s responsibility?
Well the short answer is, YES we should all, as individuals, want to keep fit, have a good diet and ensure we get a balance between work and life so that we remain happy and healthy in our lives generally; but there is an element of responsibility that employers should be taking to ensure that they promote a healthy way of working and living, which in turn promotes a positive workplace, healthy bodies, healthy minds and ultimately more engaged employees.
We all want to work in a fun, vibrant and positive working environment and with the right supporting management styles this can easily be achieved and doesn’t have to cost your business a fortune.
Stress is one of the leading causes of long-term absence in the workplace and costs businesses thousands each year. So why not try to combat some of the stress of the day to day working life by adding some healthy and energy building ‘downtime’.
As an employer, providing support for your employees (which also includes your line managers) is really important and it helps keep everyone moving forward in a healthy and productive way and by improving you and your team’s wellbeing you will see some serious benefits to your business!
To help combat workload pressure, we’ve put together a list of ideas, which include some very simple and FREE wellbeing benefits:
- Offer spaces in your office to take time out – a kitchen or sofa area – Office space comes at a premium, so if this isn’t possible then allow your employees time out and/or regular breaks to relax.
- Be available and have your line manager trained and available for employees to talk to.
- Provide an employee assistance programme – which can be set up and run internally or is often included with private medical or general health assurance packages. These programmes give employees a help line to call for employment, financial or medical queries and very often include counselling. This will help them, but also allow them to do this confidentially with a trained counsellor.
- Provide healthy eating options in the office; fruit and herbal teas such as mint, green or camomile alongside your normal caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee) will help encourage your employees to be healthy inside and calm the mind.
- Have water freely available.
- Build a no blame culture that gets to the bottom of problems and finds a positive way forward rather than pointing the finger and raising anxiety levels. This will help employees identify areas where they have made mistakes and allow their line manager to work with them to rectify it and put in place measures that mean it won’t happen again.
- Ensure all your employees have proper job descriptions and are aware of what their role is and the KPI’s or targets that they will be measured against. It’s never nice if you aren’t shown what to do and if they aren’t aware of what’s expected, how can you expect them to achieve anything. By being open and upfront you will lower anxiety/stress levels and ensure the team are all pulling in the same direction.
- Allow your managers the ability to be open and acknowledge health problems. Employees must feel confident in approaching HR to discuss the issues affecting their performance at work. If they are able to ask for help without being penalised you will have a much healthier environment and you will be able to deal with the problems head on.
- Offer Flexible working. Flexible or remote working is a straightforward way to improve wellbeing. Surveys have shown that employees would happily take a pay cut and work part-time to spend time with their families but some employees aren’t aware it’s an option, so if it is, let them know. You are more likely to lose talented employees due to lack of remote working or flexibility in hours.
- Have a sickness policy that allows employees to take sick days and doesn’t force them to come into the office when they are unwell. Remote working can help with this if they are able to work but would prefer to be recouping at home at the same time. It will save them spreading germs and cut down the time they feel unwell as they have time to rest away from the office.
- Create a wellness programme to support employees when they are unwell but also help boost them when they are well and working hard. Including a wellness programme when hiring is a very positive thing and is often the deciding factor when accepting a new job.
- It is predicted that one third of UK adults will be obese by 2025. By including a physical wellbeing programme you are helping to lessen that ratio. Joining programmes that help with physical wellbeing not only helps employees health, it supports positive mental wellness and builds team support as employees will feel more included in the community within the business. It also helps retention as they are working with like-minded people and enjoy the comradery.
- Your Physical wellbeing programme can include; discounted gym access, onsite fitness courses, personal training sessions, mindfulness and yoga classes, stress management and nutritional classes. Adoption of healthier working should allow for regular breaks from screens, 5 minute stress-busting walks, downtime and break out areas in the office.
Let technology take the strain
Build in technology to help organise, simplify and support workloads.
- HRIS: In the HR industry we recommend using a good HRIS portal to help track and log everything linked with your employees including holidays, absence and training along with employee documentation. All in one place with easy access for line managers and employees.
- Hiring Software: If you are hiring on a regular basis sign up to some of the recruitment portals that offer free process platforms, websites such as Indeed or Reed offer free advertising, tracking and response platforms to help co-ordinate everything and take the pressure off.
We would encourage all employees to start utilising the health and wellbeing provided by their employers, this includes line managers and owners, who are notorious for not taking time out for themselves, if they burn out, who will steer the ship forward then?
As you’ve seen from the lists above these ideas don’t have to cost anything, but they will add huge value to the general wellbeing of your team and ultimately the business.