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What is at the heart of each and every company? PEOPLE, of course! And do you want your people miserable and unproductive at work, or happy and at the top of their game?
Thankfully most of us would agree that the type of messaging shown in the image is not appropriate for the modern-day workplace (but still, LOL that this sort of thing actually even existed)
Employee wellbeing is commonly defined as how your team are doing and how they feel about various aspects of their life – and all areas of work have a huge impact on it.
Yes, we know - wellbeing can be a bit fluffy and vague as a concept. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.
The opposite, in fact.
It’s right up there in terms of things to consider when running a business or department, whether you’re a lean, mean team of 5 or a juggernaut of 5,000.
Ultimately, you will want your people to be feeling good & functioning well, in all areas of their lives.
Employee wellbeing is key to the long-term success of a company. It’s that simple.
And in day-to-day terms, we need to take a look at efficiency & productivity levels.
How would you say your teams are performing on this front right now?
It also really helps with general office feel-good vibes if the entire team aren’t counting down every minute until they can leg it out the door at 5 pm (unless you’ve scheduled some after-work drinks on a Friday, in which case who can blame them 🥂)
Ultimately, performance and environment matter.
It’s important to look after your people.
Not only will the quality of their individual work be better with overall improved outcomes, but there will also be less absenteeism, a stronger company-brand reputation and attraction & retention of staff will be more straightforward.
Wellbeing – it’s all just a load of health and lifestyle choices, isn’t it?
But it’s not just physical actions - there are some other factors to throw in the mixer. Namely, an individual’s social and emotional needs. There’s no getting away from it - these areas need attention too.
And by giving your team the tools to take care of themselves, you’ll be rewarded with a happier, healthier workforce.
Hold tight, some truth bombs incoming.
Here’s what to expect, when the employee wellbeing strategy is off-key.
+ unhappy, unmotivated staff
+ low office mood
+ collective lack of energy and unproductive results
+ stressed-out and burnt-out employees
+ negative impact on mental health
+ lack of creativity + spark
+ disconnected teams
+ copious sick days, absenteeism and presenteeism
+ toxic company culture where no one feels important or valued
And in this scenario, you’ve got 99 problems and employee wellbeing is one.
Before we all board the express train to negatives-ville, let’s lighten the mood and look at what should happen when you get it right.
Expect ALL the good stuff.
Focus on the team, and the results will come thick and fast.
Some key benefits, for you, the employer:
+ A happy, positive, satisfied workforce, performing their best at work and at home
+ Improved team morale and productivity
+ Create a more energetic and creative environment
+ A more resilient workforce
+ Save costs from reduced sick leave from ill health, stress or work-related mental health issues
+ Loyal, proud employees – a bonus for attraction & retention in a competitive recruitment market
+ Significant ROI and improved business outcomes
+ Boost in company culture
And, for the employee:
+ Better focus on tasks and results at work
+ Better individual health and enhanced coping mechanisms
+ Sense of support, belonging and personal value
+ Improved relationships with co-workers, and management
+ Space to grow in other areas of personal life
+ Less conflict, more respect
+ Higher morale
Fun fact: 62% of employees in a recent survey identified employee-wellbeing as a key deciding factor when applying for a new job.
We know what you’re thinking.
As we all know, the current economic climate and everyday life stressors are, shall we say, a teeny bit challenging. 😬
So now, more than ever, it’s important to get employee wellbeing right.
On average, we spend over a third of our entire life at work so obviously, we should all try and make it as enjoyable as possible.
And when you factor in that we spend another third of our life sleeping (or trying to sleep) it doesn’t leave much time left, for activities.
Let’s consider ways you can support and prioritise your employee's physical, emotional, and social health.
1) Walking Meetings
2) Encouraging Boundaries
3) Ergonomic Work Set Up
4) Flexible Working
5) Communication is Key
6) Company Exercise Challenge 👀
Meetings, meetings everywhere.
Unfortunately, sometimes we actually need to do important stuff, and make decisions/exchange ideas. In fact, many professionals spend up to a third of the work week in meetings.
(Disclaimer: We know there are a lot of purported ‘a third’ stats in this article. We promise we have sourced these in good faith, and haven’t just made them all up, despite how it may look)
Anyway, all the while, office life can be pretty sedentary. Sat down on your chair all day, save for a few tactical trips to the “accounts department” and a few escapes to the kitchen for a tea break and chin-wag.
It’s no wonder we’re all struggling to meet the recommended amount of exercise per week (which according to the NHS, is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity a week for the average adult. But I’m sure you already knew that didn’t you 👀)
So, kill two birds with one stone by encouraging your employees to take informal meetings outside whilst going for a walk. Ideal for those situations where screen sharing is not required.
And ideas flow better outside, anyway. Great for creativity.
This isn’t just for the in-office crew either. Remote workers could dial in and get involved on speakerphone, whilst walking around their local area themselves (or even sitting in their garden/local park) It all counts.
Even the most dedicated Gen Z “quiet-quitter” has the ability to get drawn into work emails on their personal time.
The pandemic and the uptick of WFH exacerbated the blurring of lines between work and home life. And not in a good way.
Healthy boundaries are essential for positive wellbeing and a good work/life balance. Employees need time to switch off from work mode, rest their minds and enjoy a chance to recharge.
Remember back in the day (circa 2012), your typical commute to work would involve grabbing a quick coffee & chocolate croissant from Pret, reading the entire London Lite on the tube and avoiding eye contact with everyone around you. All the while with NO annoying laptop bag to carry – because all your work & responsibilities were carried out on your office desktop at work, that fortuitously, was not designed to leave the desk.
There were boundaries, there was time to yourself, and it was good.
Fast forward to our present ‘always on’ culture and it’s difficult to know when work is work and home is home.
With our laptops and mobiles, we can work anywhere and everywhere.
This can cause all kinds of added stress and ultimately, leads to employee burnout. Ooosh.
Thankfully, a lot of employers are wising up to the problems this creates and taking steps to de-normalise the fairly new phenomenon of being always available.
Some corporates have banned emails out of hours (although obviously, this doesn’t work as well for those in the ever-growing asynchronous work pattern camp)
Other, more practical, solutions include encouraging staff to turn off notifications at weekends and cementing company policy to completely detach from work on annual vacations – by encouraging handovers of key projects to other members of staff and signposting external communications to the relevant places on out-of-offices.
One of the best things to do as a leader, for a truly inclusive culture, is to start modelling behaviour you would like to be replicated.
So, take that lunch break, and take time to switch off regularly. Let the people see it.
Find ways for your team to build boundaries back into their lives, and they will thank you for it.
Bit of a dull one, this. But good ergonomics are essential.
Everyone should have a proper set-up, including a desk and a decent chair, even if they’re working from home.
👈🏽 How many of us are channelling a similar position to this cat right now? I reckon it's at least 75%.
Do away with ailments like discomfort, hunched shoulders, headaches, and eye strain by focusing on creating a productive and comfortable workspace for your team.
Make sure all employees have a proper, ergonomic chair to sit in.
And better still, make sure they’re sitting in it properly - feet flat on the floor, thighs parallel to the ground, using the backrest to support the lumbar curve and arms at 90 degrees.
Consider other important things like monitor stands, wrist wrests, headsets and blue light blocking glasses - speak with your employees and find out what would help them feel most comfortable and supported.
This is a good question. It’s even more important to check in on these sorts, and make sure they’re coping thriving.
A few easy wins
This is a vital one. Allowing people to fit their work in around their other responsibilites (like caring for someone elderly, or parenting) is a game changer.
Flexible working is not just a buzzword, it’s an actual real-life paradigm shift and key to business growth.
Added flexibility is a great benefit for an employee and one that they’ll really appreciate - increased loyalty and efforts are pretty much guaranteed.
It’s not always possible, in certain industries and that’s fair enough. But whereever you can make it work, trust your people to deliver in whatever way works best for them and they’ll feel valued, loyal and a whole lot more motivated.
It’s pretty difficult to portray your personality and join in with office high jinks from behind a computer screen and for those working remotely, this can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Scheduling an individual one-to-one video call occasionally will make sure you can check in on how your employee is doing and any concerns they may have.
Employees will value the connection and chance to express their feelings.
Keep a regular stream of office communication channels flowing to everyone in your workplace - be it via slack, newsletter, email, social media or your designated workplace platform.
Celebrate your wins, share news and send updates.
Everyone likes to be in the know, especially those who can’t find out in person at work. Effective communications contribute to employees feeling trusted and respected.
Allowing your employees to make suggestions and submit ideas for improving company communication is wise too.
You never know what new opportunities they might come up with!
Lastly (and maybe most important) remember to make sure all of your own company wellbeing initiatives, partners and EAP providers are clear and easy to find & access for employees.
If they’re hidden away in a corner of an intranet, there’s a good chance they’re not being used and providing the support they could be.
Did we mention we have an amazing business manager feature on our wellbeing platform that does all this and more? 🙌🏽 Drop us a line if you want to know more.
You didn’t think we’d miss the opportunity to sneak this one in, surely?
An exercise challenge is a brilliant way to motivate employees to get moving and get their activity levels up.
Not only will they be positively impacting their own health, but they’ll also be strengthening team bonds, and building a healthy corporate culture around something un-work-related.
You know you want to!
There are plenty of ideas out there, including our corporate team challenges which are fully inclusive and deeply engaging, no matter if you WFH or are at the office.
You don’t need to have an all-singing, all-dancing challenge solution though.
If you work in an office block, challenge employees to take the stairs instead of the lift for a week.
Get a plank challenge going in the morning coffee break.
Organise a once-a-week virtual workout for everyone to join in with if you have an area big enough.
Prizes always help and a sense of fun & camaraderie – more people are likely to take part if it’s light-hearted and casual.
We hope this has been a useful roundup. If you want more ideas or to chat through these ones, get in touch.