How to improve wellbeing at work in 5 steps
25 June 2021
Tackling the challenge of ‘how to improve wellbeing at work’ is often described as a priority for business leaders. There is no doubt that improving employee wellbeing is beneficial to an organisation. But amongst the sometimes vague and varying definitions of ‘wellbeing’, it can be easy to overlook just how important your health is in supporting your role at work. Often employees forget the role good wellbeing plays in how well they perform at work until they are unwell and have to take a sick day.
Research consistently demonstrates that organisations perform better when employees are healthy, focused and motivated. To put this in context, FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee health and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10%.
A company that prioritises health and wellbeing in the workplace will not only reduce absences, but also attract and retain talent, improve productivity and boost morale.
There are small steps that organisations can take to ensure wellbeing is a priority in their employees’ day to day working lives.
Ideagen have rounded up 5 ways you can improve employee wellbeing in your workplace.
Worrying about the future or ruminating on the past can have a negative impact on the mind and body, so simple steps to help us be more mindful and live in the present by observing how we feel right now can make a real difference.
To help employees become more mindful in your organisation, it can be useful to:
- Introduce regular mindfulness sessions
- Provide training on how to be more mindful and the benefits of mindfulness
- Encourage employees to slow down and take breaks in the workday.
Feeling the benefits of mindfulness does not require hours of meditation a day; it can be as simple as stopping to take notice and paying attention to what is happening around us.
2. Stress awareness
Rates of work stress, depression and anxiety have all been increasing in recent years. Exacerbated by the pandemic, this has presented new challenges that have put a huge strain on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
There are several ways organisations can work to combat work stress, including encouraging employees to:
- Go for a walk at lunch
- Take one task at a time to avoid multitasking
- Stay organised
- Avoid conflict
- Get clarity on requirements for tasks to avoid burning out
More generally, workers should be encouraged to check in with colleagues and make sure fellow employees are finding time to relax or do activities that they enjoy. Taking the time to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep are also important factors in the day-to-day management of stress.
3. Social connection
Strong social connections at work have been shown to make employees physically healthier and happier, which in turn improves work performance. For many, having good friends at work can be the difference between staying in a role or leaving the company.
There are several steps organisations can take to foster good relationships between employees, including:
- Create a social space for colleagues to socialise and decompress
- Encourage team buildings and provide resource to facilitate this
- Connect different departments through volunteer events or lunches
- Find reasons to celebrate and bring people together.
Fostering positive relationships at work does not necessarily mean that all employees should be best friends. Rather, it is about creating a positive social environment in which peers feel a sense of mutual respect and belonging.
4. Awareness of mental health and psychosocial risks
Raising awareness of mental health and psychosocial risks can come in many forms. It may be useful to implement company-wide training on wellbeing or embed mental health training within new starter inductions. Appointing wellbeing champions is a great way to have friendly points of contact for staff, and internal comms channels can be utilised to spread the word.
In turn, this helps to promote a culture of openness, wherein employees feel comfortable to speak out about difficulties. In many cases, this may require additional training for managers on how best to handle difficult and sensitive conversations.
5. Learning and development
Feeling fulfilled and having a sense of purpose in work is a crucial but often underestimated part of wellbeing at work. Providing opportunities to grow and develop are key and can come in the form of formal training courses, learning lunches or walks. Making work interesting helps fuel focus and motivation among employees.
Learning and development programs help staff feel valued and show an organisation’s commitment to their development.
To maintain the competitive edge, wellbeing initiatives can no longer be seen as a ‘nice to have’. Improving employee wellbeing must be a priority, and employers should be considerate about how their wellbeing strategy builds on and aligns to their health and safety policy.
Ideagen is here to help. From wellbeing training courses to health and safety management systems, we have the tools to help you foster a healthy and happy workforce.
Our eLearning Management System, Q-Pulse WorkRite, has recently released its new People and Wellbeing edition, including courses on mindfulness, stress awareness, and mental health.
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