Employee wellbeing should not be seen as an optional, nice-to-have workplace initiative but an essential tool for workplace productivity and fulfillment that leads to business success. Unfortunately though, many business owners are still unsure of what employee wellbeing is and how to create a workplace wellbeing strategy.
What is an employee wellbeing strategy?
Workplace wellbeing is not just about making your staff feel happy in the workplace. It’s also about ensuring that their work duties and the working environment does not negatively affect their overall health and happiness.
Therefore, employee wellbeing is more than offering lunchtime yoga sessions or monthly social events to boost morale. Likewise, it encompasses much more than just physical health.
To create a successful employee wellbeing strategy, you need to take a holistic approach. This means accessing your employees’ unique and complex needs and understanding their physical, emotional, mental, and social state.
This might sound a bit overwhelming if you’re new to workplace wellbeing. However, once you understand how to create and implement a successful employee mental health strategy, you will quickly see its value.
Why your workplace needs an employee wellbeing strategy
While it’s true that a certain level of stress can increase performance, high levels of stress in the workplace will significantly dampen productivity and creativity. Stress increases fatigue and lowers enthusiasm. Highly stressed employees will be less likely to engage and contribute in team meetings. They will also lack creative ideas and problem-solving.
Therefore, without a workplace wellbeing strategy that focuses on keeping stress levels in a safe range, you could experience a drop in employee engagement, team productivity, and work quality. All of this will negatively impact business success.
Additionally, a workplace that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of its staff will develop a loyal workforce. Having an employee wellbeing strategy in place will likely result in staff members staying with you for longer, reducing recruitment costs and training needs. What’s more, staff who feel that their wellbeing is valued are less likely to take sick days.
What is your employee wellbeing strategy missing?
Have you arranged social events or offered counseling to your employees but had no engagement? While these tactics may be a great start, they most likely won’t suit the needs of many employees, hence the low success rate.
Business owners who don’t know how to create a proper workplace wellbeing strategy will try these outdated strategies. Then, when they don’t lead to positive results, they might write off employee wellbeing altogether, which could be highly damaging to the company.
One reason why these strategies don’t work is that they lack individuality. They simply are not tailored to the unique needs of the employees. Therefore, what many businesses’ employee wellbeing strategies are missing is a personal touch. An effective office wellbeing strategy will support each and every employee to better manage their unique workload and handle the daily stresses of their specific job.
How to create an employee wellbeing strategy
When creating your office wellbeing strategy, you need to cover employees’ physical, mental, and social health.
Good physical health comes down to having our biological and physical needs met and feeling safe in our environment. Physical wellbeing includes regular movement and physical fitness to counteract the long hours of sitting at a desk. One way to promote more activity is to introduce the option of standing desks. Or, you could hire a yoga teacher to show your team stretches they can do to relieve common physical problems caused by long periods of inactivity.
Physical health also includes nourishment. This could be simply supplying fresh fruit bowls every day, Or, if you have an onsite canteen, working with them to create healthier but equally tasty meals.
Physical comfort is another aspect of physical health. This means taking note of your employees’ chair complaints and acting on them. A comfy chair with adequate back support is a necessity for healthy and happy employees.
The environment can also play a role. If there is little natural light coming into the office, this can significantly affect your team’s mood and energy levels. While installing more windows may not be possible, other creative solutions could help. You can try adding more greenery to the office or introducing bright-colored decor.
Mental wellbeing consists of an individual’s security, esteem, self-actualization, and cognitive needs. Mental health can be broken down into two categories - cognitive wellbeing and emotional wellbeing. Your employee mental health strategy should focus on reducing high levels of stress caused by the employee’s role, workload, or the work environment.
A common cause of work-induced mental health problems is when employees feel they cannot manage their workloads. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reduce their workload unless you find it is, in fact, unmanageable and unrealistic.
But, an employee wellbeing strategy could look at what can be done differently to enable your employees to work smarter. However, you can only do this if you understand what the employee’s role entails and how much time is required for each specific task. Again, it comes down to that personal touch.
People experience good social wellbeing when they feel like they belong, are valued, and cared for. To improve social wellbeing in your company, prioritize employee recognition. Recognition drives productivity as employees feel more valued and involved in the business.
There are many ways to foster social wellbeing in the workplace. You can publicly show recognition, such as highlighting employees’ successes in the company’s newsletter or in a team meeting. Or, you offer praise privately, such as leaving a thank you note on their desk or giving verbal recognition in their one-to-one progress meeting.
Although creating an employee wellbeing strategy does cost some time and effort, the potential results are priceless. Content staff means higher quality work and happier management too.