Health and Wellbeing at Work: Why It’s Time to Take Action
For years, “workplace wellbeing” has been a hot topic for businesses in almost every sector. As studies show that happier and healthier employees lead to more significant profits, more companies are beginning to wonder what they can do to support holistic wellness for their staff.
Research finds that mental health issues alone account for £70 billion in losses for companies each year. What’s more, a third of the days taken off work in the UK are a result of career pressure or stress. This means that if employers want to create a productive and robust culture in their organisation, they need to take steps to protect both physical, and mental wellbeing.
Investing in a comprehensive workplace wellness program builds loyalty among staff, saves businesses money on lost productivity, and even improves your employer brand.
What Are the Benefits of Workplace Wellbeing?
Healthy employees spend more time in the office, plant, or shop floor, and less time on sick days. This automatically leads to better efficiency and ROI for organisations. However, the benefits of a workplace wellness program can go further than you’d think.
Promoting a culture of good health can also help to make you an employer of choice – particularly for the millennial generation and gen Z. Studies continuously show that younger candidates prefer to work for businesses that deliver a healthy work/life balance. Other advantages of workplace wellbeing include:
- A safer work environment: In hazardous work environments, like manufacturing floors and engineering plants, poor health can lead to dangerous behavior. Employees that are fit and alert are less likely to have accidents. In fact, HSE suggests that workplace fatigue costs the economy in the UK up to £240 million per year in accidents.
- Greater productivity: When employees feel their best, they’re more able to focus on the task at hand. Freedom from stress, good eating habits, and more can all energise hires and make them feel more motivated to accomplish their work.
- Happier staff mean happier customers: According to workforce reports, employees in a workplace wellness program feel more satisfied in their jobs. When you feel happy at work, you demonstrate a better attitude to the people around you and are often more willing to go the extra mile. This can lead to more satisfied customers.
- Better retention: Team members who feel comfortable in their roles are more likely to hold onto their jobs for longer. In a world searching for work/life balance, workplace wellbeing can convince your hires that they’re better off in your company.
3 Ways to Improve Workplace Wellbeing
While plenty of companies agree that workplace wellbeing is an essential part of creating a high-performing team, establishing a plan for healthier employees isn’t always easy. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for wellness. Depending on the type of business you run, your wellness initiative might focus more heavily on:
- Stress and overwhelm
- Physical health and fitness
- Safety and support at work
Though your plan will depend on your specific company, here are a few ways that you can start making your organisation more robust.
1. Establish Awareness of Mental Health Issues
Mental health concerns are one of the most severe problems in the workforce right now. According to some studies, they cost employers up to £26 billion per year.
The first step in overcoming problems with stress, anxiety, and depression, is making sure that your staff feels comfortable talking to you about their issues. This means that businesses need to work at overcoming the taboo around mental health, letting staff know that there’s support available for them from employers.
An open-door policy for people who need to talk about anxiety and depression is a great way to get started. You can also think about providing employees with information on therapists and counsellors they can talk to when they need help with mental health. Some companies even host mental-health fitness sessions, where hires are taught how to handle stress and reduce overwhelm.
2. Get People Moving
Despite the rising popularity of standing-desks and other solutions for workplace wellness, the average person spends up to 8.9 hours a day sitting. For employees in the technology or sales sector, it’s possible to spend all day perched in front of a computer. Unfortunately, this can lead to blood pressure issues, joint problems, and more.
Employers and business leaders can fight back against the problem of stagnation with a fitness plan. For instance, you might give some of your hires free passes to a local gym or encourage them to get up and walk around the office at least a few times a day. Companies can even install alarms that remind their staff to get up and move every few hours.
3. Bring “Wellness” into the Company Culture
Finally, for organisations to successfully infuse wellness into their operations, it needs to be more than just a word. Better wellbeing needs to become a way of life for the entire team.
Programs for better workplace health can lead to reduced healthcare costs, less absenteeism, and better productivity. However, the best strategies need buy-in from all your employees. This means finding a way to integrate wellness into your hire’s daily routine. You can do this by:
- Creating support groups for people with mental health concerns
- Offering resources to support positive change (like gym memberships or wellness centres)
- Adding healthy snacks and drinks to the staff room
- Promoting preventative care through better nutrition plans and on-site vaccinations
- Regularly offering education and training for good health
- Rewarding employees for meeting their wellness goals.