With the start of a new year, comes a whole new set of targets and challenges, so it may come as no surprise that at this time of year, the wellbeing of staff is the last thing on employers’ minds.

Reports show that only 18% of the UK population experience high levels of wellbeing and consider themselves as ‘thriving’.  Poor health and wellness have such a huge impact on the bottom line, it’s no wonder businesses are suffering with low productivity, presenteeism (attending work but not performing) and low morale.

In order to tackle the issue, it’s important to recognise that the wellbeing of employees is not merely about physical health; it encompasses a lot more than that, including mental health and social and environmental wellbeing, both inside and outside of the workplace.  Employers can optimise what they do to give their employees the best possible experience in the workplace, without a significant investment, and it will pay dividends.

How can you improve wellbeing in your organisation?

  • Make sure that employee wellbeing is firmly on your agenda for the year. Consider developing a wellness program, with a steering group to manage the overall wellness agenda within the organisation.
  • Make wellbeing in the workplace a topic of conversation with staff. Bring it to life by promoting wellness events and challenges that employees can take part in.
  • Make wellbeing the individual’s concern; when employees maintain personal responsibility for their own changes, it has the most effective outcome.

Ways you can invest in staff wellbeing

Here are a few ways that businesses have invested in staff wellbeing.  Try implementing a couple of ideas and monitor the progress.  And remember to ask staff which incentives they would find most beneficial:

  • Introduce a theme to each quarter such as heart health, or cancer awareness and set up an event. Whether that’s a bake sale, office challenge or charity event.
  • Google have sleep pods in their offices to help enhance energy levels; you could implement something similar with beanbags in a quiet, warm room.
  • Many businesses invite professional massage therapists into their organisation. This has proven to help boost morale and reduce stress; individuals come back feeling refreshed and ready to continue with their day.
  • Fruit bowls are a great way to encourage employees to eat healthy alternatives to sugary sweets
  • Consider free medicals and flu jabs for staff
  • Set up an in house yoga, meditation or pilates class, or provide a discounted gym membership
  • Appoint workload and break monitors; this helps to avoid employees taking hidden breaks such as checking emails or nipping to the toilet. We can only manage up to 90 minutes of concentration, so a formal 5-minute break away from the desk can really help.
  • Some organisations invest in resilience and stress management training to help arm their workforce with the tools and techniques to cope under pressure.

Some of these ideas may seem a little frivolous, but if employees are free from stress, anxiety and ill-health they won’t be suffering, and will look forward to coming into work.   The key is to maintain a positive atmosphere, one where individuals feel cared for and invested in; it is the key to keeping staff motivated. Motivated staff are happy staff, and we will always get the best from a happy workforce.