Unfortunately, many companies focus on employee engagement to boost productivity, and staff wellbeing often takes a back burner. Failure to address employee wellbeing dramatically impacts organisations, from reduced productivity to high turnover and absenteeism. Therefore, employers can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Instead, many companies are coming up with programmes to support employees’ wellbeing and keep them happy at work. Read on to understand workplace wellbeing and strategies you can use to improve employee happiness.
What Is Employee Wellbeing?
Most people presume wellbeing is about protecting one’s physical health through exercise and nutrition. However, it also entails moods, feelings and mental health. Work can significantly impact mental and physical health since it heightens stress, anxiety and exhaustion, triggering problems.
When defining employee wellbeing, many people use engagement and wellbeing interchangeably. While they both contribute to productivity, they have different meanings. Engagement focuses on improving a worker’s passion for their jobs, while wellbeing focuses on work expectations, stress levels and the environment towards employee health and happiness. When employees are healthy and feel valued and supported, they perform better. Therefore, it requires a holistic approach to improve their quality of life.
6 Strategies to Improve Wellbeing at Work
When you want to improve wellbeing at work, you need a robust programme. You can use the programme to introduce ways to promote wellbeing, tackle causes of work-related mental health problems and support workers with mental health issues.
Raise Awareness of Wellbeing and Get Senior Leaders on Board
Many people suffer from depression, but it goes untreated due to unfamiliarity with treatment options. At work, many employees shy away from talking about mental health problems and often suffer in silence. However, if employers raise awareness on the importance of wellbeing and encourage discussion on mental health issues, employees will receive the support they need. Since workers take cues from their managers, senior leadership should encourage wellbeing programmes and introduce measures to create a mentally healthy workplace. You can raise awareness through:
• Cover mental health training during induction: When onboarding new employees, ensure they receive information on how your company deals with mental health issues. The workers should know how to get support within the company.
• Tackle stigma and discrimination: Senior leadership should make a public commitment to challenge the culture of stigma and discrimination. When managers vow to tackle stigma, it sends a powerful message to employees that they have a safe space to talk.
• Use internal communication channels: Encourage open communication on all aspects of wellbeing and provide helpful information on tackling mental health issues. You can use blogs, newsletters and magazines to raise awareness internally.
• Organise mental awareness conferences: You can host conferences and invite speakers to challenge existing myths. When employees hear from experts, it will eliminate negative stereotypes and encourage them to step forward when they have an issue.
Encourage a Work/Life Balance
Employers can improve workplace wellbeing by promoting employees’ quality of life. While work is important, other aspects of life are crucial in boosting workplace wellness. Most employees take on huge work responsibilities at the expense of their well-being. While long work hours are manageable in the short run, it leads to burnout, stress and diminished productivity. You can avoid such scenarios by encouraging employees to work reasonable hours and avoid overtime. Taking vacation days also gives your employees time to spend with their families and relax.
You can also encourage flexible work schedules to promote healthy work habits. For instance, employees can work remotely on some days or start their workdays later in the day to accommodate exercise. Allowing your employees to fit their family commitments around work will help them create a healthy work/life balance and promote wellness.
Promote Open Communication
Poor communication often leads to stress since employees cannot share their views with upper management. Sometimes they are overloaded with instructions that they don’t understand, negatively affecting their well-being. The management should encourage two-way communication to ensure they receive feedback from employees and communicate clearly.
Employers should also speak regularly to team leaders to check their staff’s progress and brainstorm on causes of stress. When you embed open dialogues, you encourage positive attitudes and normalise talks on mental health and wellbeing.
Introduce Peer Support and Mentorship Programmes
Most employees are comfortable with their colleagues and will feel safe to discuss issues related to their wellness. Therefore, you can encourage peer support groups to ensure employees can share their problems and support each other. Mentoring also helps new workers learn the ropes faster and gain confidence in the organisational systems.
Encourage Mindfulness at Work
Most offices have an open plan, which encourages collaboration. The downside of open spaces is overstimulation, which often leads to conflicts and high stress levels that impede productivity. Unfortunately, unresolved conflicts can create a hostile work environment. Encourage employees to be mindful of others and not cause unnecessary tension. Alternatively, you can design break rooms, where employees can take a break from a hectic schedule instead of releasing their frustration on others.
Ensure Your Workplace Encourages Physical Wellbeing
Most office work involves prolonged sitting, which is unhealthy. You can ensure employees stay physically fit and healthy by introducing wellness programmes. For instance, you can install a gym or break room where employees exercise without leaving the premises. You should also revisit the drinking options at work. Instead of offering free coffee only, you can introduce healthy teas and infused waters. Natural light can also improve mood and fight depression. You can introduce natural light with large windows or floodlights and natural light bulbs.
Employers should not ignore employee wellbeing since it has significant consequences on the company. Instead, you should respect workers’ feelings and emotions to ensure they remain productive and healthy. The above strategies will help your employees maintain physical and mental health and promote employee happiness. If you have not taken measures to make workplace wellbeing a priority, it is time to take the necessary steps.