Smart companies know that healthy, motivated, and focused staff perform better. By taking proactive steps to improve the working environment and provide support to their staff, employers can create a culture that fosters health and well-being; both physical and mental.
In this article, we will explore some of these methods- from institutional changes to tools and incentives.
What is Workplace Well-Being?
The importance of workplace well-being for businesses has gained credence in recent years. It refers to the physical, mental, and emotional state of employees in their workplace, including their ability to manage stress and be productive.
In today’s evolving post-pandemic workplaces, employers must recognize the need to invest in programs and policies that support this employee wellbeing as well as raise awareness in employees’ performance through employee monitoring software. Doing so is not only a moral issue or ‘duty of care’, but also provides tangible ROI on investment- $5.30 for every $1 dollar spent, according to recent research by Deloitte.
Workplace wellbeing initiatives should involve the creation of a positive workplace culture- where employees feel supported and encouraged to reach their full potential- as well as best practices regarding safety standards.
Good workplace well-being will not only improve overall job satisfaction among staff but can also lead to improved performance, greater productivity, decreased sickness, increased team morale, and better engagement with customers.
By investing in initiatives designed to promote employee well-being, companies are taking steps towards creating a healthier organizational culture that values its people as much as its profits.
How Does Wellbeing Affect Performance?
Positive mental, physical, and emotional health can have a tremendous impact on an individual’s performance in the workplace.
Studies show that when people feel balanced, energized, valued and content with their day-to-day lives, they are capable of working more efficiently and effectively, with higher productivity levels.
The link between well-being and performance is twofold.
Firstly, healthy people are less likely to experience unexpected illnesses or ailments that could prevent them from performing at their peak. Being mindful of their diet, physical activity, and mental well-being can help people stay energized and alert even when faced with long work hours or deadlines.
Secondly, positive psychological states such as optimism and resilience have been found to improve performance in areas such as problem-solving and decision-making. People who feel supported by their colleagues are also more likely to push themselves to reach higher goals because they know they have a safe space where mistakes are accepted.
Overall, creating an environment where people can look after their physical and mental well-being not only improves the quality of their lives but can also have direct effects on their ability to perform tasks successfully and reach peak performance levels.
When employers foster a supportive culture for employees that enables them to prioritize good self-care practices, it will translate into better business results in the long run due to improved productivity and morale among staff members.
How Can Companies Improve Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace?
1) Encourage Physical Activities
One way to improve health and well-being in the workplace is to encourage physical activities. This can be achieved by providing people with opportunities to engage in physical activities inside or outside of work, such as by offering yoga classes, running clubs, walking groups, or even just making it easier for employees to use the stairs instead of elevators.
Employers can also provide access to gyms, offer incentives for employees who take part in physical activities, subsidized memberships, or allow for more flexible working hours, so employees have time to go for a walk during their lunch break.
By encouraging physical activities through providing access and incentives, employers can help their staff maintain good health and wellbeing which may lead to better productivity and job satisfaction.
- Quit smoking campaigns
- Weight loss challenges
- Walk/stepometer challenges
- Charity runs
- On-site exercise
- On-site yoga
- Deals with local gyms for reduced/subsidized memberships
- Wellness days
2) Provide Healthy Food Options
One way to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace is by providing healthier food options.
Bad food choices can stem from a lack of attractive, healthy alternatives, as much as inadequate education or motivation. Work canteens are often laden with grab-and-go snacks like crisps and pastries. However, with the two-pronged approach of better education and viable alternatives, you can reset this and establish a more positive feedback loop.
When your staff are better educated about the consequences of their nutritional choices, have ready access to these more positive options, and start to feel the benefits from them, a much more virtuous cycle can be established.
Healthy food options should be readily available, either through a cafeteria or vending machines, offering nutritious meals and snacks that are balanced with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
These healthy food choices can include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as fish and chicken breasts, whole grains like quinoa and oats, and plant-based proteins.
Companies should also encourage mindful eating practices by educating employees on portion control and creating designated mealtime breaks throughout the workday.
Water coolers are a simple and cost-effective way employers can help staff stay hydrated while they work.
By providing these healthy food options in the workplace, companies can help promote the improved physical health outcomes that are so integral to worker wellbeing.
- Healthy and mindful eating classes
- Canteens with emphasis on nutritional food and drink
- Installation of water coolers in every office
3) Offer Mental Health Support
Providing mental health support in the workplace is a key factor in improving the health and wellbeing of employees. It can lower stress, improve morale, foster collaboration and trust among employees, and even increase productivity.
Employers can support the mental health of their employees by offering confidential counseling, access to therapy services, hosting wellness workshops or seminars, providing mindfulness activities such as yoga or meditation classes, and creating an open dialogue about mental health issues.
Additionally, employers should ensure that staff has access to appropriate flexible working arrangements when needed and provide a ‘listening ear’ for any employee concerns or suggestions. Employers can hire staff properly trained in health care courses to ensure they know the fundamental principles of caring for the community and mental health.
All of these measures are crucial to promoting better mental health in the workplace which will ultimately lead to improved emotional wellbeing of staff members and a healthier work environment.
- Confidential conseling
- Wellness workshops
- Meditation classes
- Therapy services
4) Promoting Flexible Scheduling
Flexible scheduling is an effective method of improving health and wellbeing in the workplace.
This sense of control over their working hours can have a profound impact on workers health, with workers have feel they have little discretion over their working hours suffering not only poorer mental health, but higher rates of heart disease and increased risk of diabetes and death from cardiovascular causes.
By allowing employees to adjust their work hours, they can create a more balanced lifestyle that allows them to have time for leisure activities and take care of their mental and physical health.
This can reduce stress levels, increase productivity, and improve overall morale. Flexible scheduling also appeals to a wider range of people, including those with disabilities or chronic conditions who may need accommodation for certain hours or days, working parents who need extra time to care for children, and those looking for part-time work opportunities.
Employers benefit from flexible scheduling as well by having access to a larger pool of talented workers, the ability to adjust working hours more readily to meet customer demand or seasonal trends, and the lower turnover that comes from this improved work-life balance.
- Increased employee input into working hours
- Flexible scheduling
5) Cultivating A Positive Work Culture
Creating a positive work culture is essential for improving the health and wellbeing of all employees. This involves introducing supportive policies and practices- such as the flexible working arrangements- to create an environment in which employees can thrive and feel supported.
Additionally, employers should always seek to promote mindfulness with their staff in order to reduce stress, improve concentration, enhance creativity, and encourage openness.
Implementing these simple institutional changes will ensure that everyone in the workplace feels valued and supported while also helping them perform at their best- which ultimately leads to more productive and engaged employees.
- Having open communication channels so staff can easily raise any potential issues or concerns.
- Having clear expectations, consistent feedback, and recognition to motivate employees.
- Providing meaningful opportunities and incentives to develop professionally.
- Promoting a healthy work-life balance
- Regular team building activities.
6) Effective Channel of Communication
This is another institutional change that can reap tangible rewards in employee engagement and productivity. Empowering them with a sense of agency in the workplace has been shown to lead to a decrease in burnout rates and increased job satisfaction.
Effective communication is essential to promoting and maintaining a healthy workplace environment. When we communicate effectively, we can create an atmosphere that fosters trust, collaboration, and respect.
Good communication leads to better understanding between colleagues and management, which in turn leads to more productive work relationships. It minimizes the potential for costly misunderstandings and festering conflicts that can prove toxic in the work environment.
Furthermore, strong communication within the workplace helps create a sense of community in which team members feel comfortable expressing their opinions without fear of judgement or criticism.
It enables employees to develop valuable interpersonal skills such as active listening and diplomacy, both of which are key elements for creating a positive working environment for all.
Communication is the cornerstone for developing positive mental health in the workplace; when employees feel heard and understood, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and content with their job roles.
- Regular scheduled feedback sessions
7) Enhancing Workplace Wellness with Technology
Technology can also play an important role in this process, allowing for the delivery of health and wellness information, the ability to track individual progress, and enhance the overall employee experience.
Employers can utilize tools such as fitness trackers, digital health platforms, virtual reality headsets, and wearable devices to provide employees with access to real-time health data about activity levels, mental state, and nutrition habits.
These tools can be used to motivate employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle by setting goals and tracking progress through interactive reports and notifications. Online coaching services or telehealth consultations can also encourage employees to seek medical advice and support when needed.
By leveraging technology in their workplace wellbeing initiatives, employers can ensure that their workforce is better informed on how best to maintain their physical and mental health, while also providing them with resources that will help them reach their personal wellness goals.
- Collect information from health trackers to highlight and monitor potential problems
- Virtual doctor apps where they can monitor and manage symptoms
So, what Does a ‘Good’ Workplace Look Like?
What works well being used employee feedback to formulate this template of a ‘good’ work environment for staff- most conducive to employee well-being and optimal performance:
- More control over their job
- Clarity of what is expected of them
- Variety in what they do
- Positive relationships with managers, co-workers and customers
- Belief their workplace and pay are fair
- A sense of personal purpose and their value to others
- Opportunities to use and develop their skills
- A safe and pleasant working environment
- Supportive supervision
- A sense of job security and clear career prospects
- Good work/life balance
We hope this article has not only raised awareness of how health and wellbeing affect people’s quality of life, but also the impact it can have on their work life, and how proactive interventions from employees delivers a real return on investment for everyone concerned.