Employee wellbeing refers to the effect someone’s job has on their health and happiness.
Most people spend an average of 42.5 hours at work each week. So does that mean that employees have a duty of care to better support employee wellbeing? By sustaining positive employee wellbeing, it can not only help ensure your staff are more supported but is also beneficial for the company as it increases productivity, better attendance and helps with staff retention.
Most employers understand how crucial employee wellbeing in the workplace is, even more so since COVID-19, but are unsure on where to start when it comes to creating a positive environment for their employees.
It is important to start by working out what you want to achieve and the barriers that stand in the way of that, such as lack of time or cost. However, remember there is a difference between ‘employee wellbeing’ and general ‘perks & incentives’. Whilst offices kitted out with games areas, beanbags, and discounts on local restaurants will not negate from an unhealthy environment, effective employee wellbeing emphasises a good work/life balance.
Workplace Wellbeing Ideas
At Henderson Scott, all of our offices are full of natural light as we believe this creates a productive workspace. Our offices also feature comfortable breakout areas with relaxed seating, tables for eating at and games such as Xboxes, putting greens and dart boards, where our employees can switch off over lunch time and experience a full break, away from their desks. We find these things effective, however there are some more strategic approaches to employee wellbeing such as flexible working and offering access to active lifestyle programmes.
Introduce Flexible Working
Flexible working allows employees to have the freedom to choose where/when they work. It promotes a great work/life balance, which is important to most people. Since COVID-19, a lot of companies have successfully adopted working from home policies, including us, across all our offices we have implemented work from home (WFH) days and flexible working for those who need it.
Home working has a big impact on employee wellbeing, as spending more time with family and saving time / cost on commuting contributes towards limiting stress, burnout and dissatisfaction.
Flexible working can be formal (part of the contract of employment) or informal – agreed between the employee and their manager and taking place on an occasional basis. If you’re thinking of introducing flexible working to your organisation, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) provides advice on implementing flexible working practices.
Encourage a Healthy and Active Lifestyle
Another contribution towards employee wellbeing is physical activity and healthy eating.
Simple changes, such as encouraging employees to take the stairs rather than the lift, or walking to colleagues’ desks instead of using Teams or Email can increase your employee’s activity levels.
To further support a healthy and active lifestyle, you may want to consider organising a company sports team or competitions such as a fit bit challenge, access to lunchtime activities such as yoga or walking or even standing desks.
At Henderson Scott, we try to encourage our employees to make healthier choices by having a water cooler on the sales floor in all of our offices and also providing fresh fruit throughout the week to promote healthy eating. We also created a ‘Mindfulness Box’ which we posted out to all our employees, to help them through the pandemic. It featured a fitness tracker and due to the competitive sales consultants in the office, this then resulted in fitness competitions such as who walked the furthest during the week!
We did some research of our own into what fitness apps came up on top and recommended a selection of these to our employees, including FITON and MyFitnessPal. Furthermore, we collaborated with a healthy meal subscription company called TWEAKD, who provide delicious meals and juices that are scientifically ‘tweaked’ to help you hit your performance goals. They ran a short online session with us to explain how their meals can help increase your physical and mental health, which also included a free TWEAKD meal delivered to the employees that joined, for them to enjoy during the lunchtime session. Since our partnership, all Henderson Scott employees who sign up to their meal subscription receives 10% off their order. Partnering with a healthy meal subscription company is a great way to encourage your employees to eat healthier, resulting in better productivity.
Create a Supportive Environment
Whose responsibility is it to promote wellbeing in the workplace? Well, it’s everyone’s responsibility, however, it is particularly HR professionals, senior managers, line managers and occupational health (OH) who are responsible for supporting relationships with teams. The first step to creating a supportive environment is showing your people that they are valued, and that you are listening.
According to research carried out by the CIPD, stress continues to be one of the main causes of short and long-term absence with 79% of survey respondents reporting stress-related absence in their organisation. Here are some of the ways organisations can take a preventative approach to manage stress:
- Using staff surveys or focus groups to identify issues
- Stress audits
- Providing access to counselling (All Henderson Scott employees have access to LifeWorks and Bupa Healthcare. LifeWorks provide free online counselling sessions, podcasts and even a digital GP service.)
- Mental health first aid training
- Implementing work/life balance policies
- Stress management and resilience training (such as coping techniques and mindfulness)
At Henderson Scott to further support mental wellbeing in the workplace, we will be holding a mental health educational training session for our Directors and Managers. The aim is to increase their knowledge and understanding around mindfulness and learn how to better support the members of their teams, especially anyone suffering with their mental health. In addition to this, we will be nominating 4 people across the business as our dedicated Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA). MHFA training is something that more and more companies are trying to implement. This means that there is a dedicated person to manage health and wellbeing proactively, minimise the impact of mental ill health on the business and our people, and promote and maintain healthy workplaces.
It has become more apparent that the shift is moving away from viewing wellbeing support as a ‘nice-to-have’ employee benefit to an essential. An increasing number of organisations are putting it to the forefront of their overarching business strategy due to the knock-on effect on other areas, including marketing, profit and loss, and sales and talent retention. To improve workplace wellbeing the above steps are a great place to start, but ultimately every organisation is different, so it’s about finding what works for you.
At Henderson Scott we are passionate about providing a positive working environment for our employees and we are committed to continuing our strategic investment in the mental well-being and supporting initiatives across the business. If you are interested to find out more about us and why we were voted as an award winning employer in 2020 click here.