There has been a surge in positive attitudes regarding wellbeing in the workplace over recent times. It is no surprise that studies show healthier and happier staff are more productive and therefore, encouraging health and wellbeing in the workplace should be a key priority.
The team at Four have recently implemented their own health and wellbeing policy and programme. Here, we look at what other SMEs can do to encourage health and wellbeing within their workplace.
Health and wellbeing relates to the physical and mental health of an individual, focusing particularly on their work life. When a workplace implements a health and wellbeing policy, they aim to focus on improving productivity through supporting staff with their workloads, emphasising good physical practices and providing resources to promote awareness of mental health issues.
The importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace is ever increasing due to the rise in mental illness, stress and fatigue over the general UK population. Every workplace should aim to actively support their staff both mentally and physically, no matter what the industry.
To avoid the risks of staff needing to take days off to deal with avoidable mental and physical health issues, businesses need to emphasise the importance of staff support and care. The key to a productive and motivated workforce can be simple when staff health and wellbeing is prioritised.
Many companies are slow to implement a health and wellbeing policy. Multinational companies such as Facebook and Google are famous for their expensive and well publicised initiatives, but what can smaller companies do to implement initiatives in a cost-effective way?
1. Understand health and wellbeing
Wellbeing in the workplace combines many different factors and represents different things to different people. For some this means ensuring that they have the right social circle, for others it is identifying what their purpose at work is and how they are going to achieve their goals.
2. Find out what problems your staff may be having
How happy are your staff on a scale of 1-10? Conduct a health check to find out the answer and do this regularly to ensure that you are effectively supporting your staff. Always concentrate on the positives; ask what makes them happy at work and what would make things better.
3. Elect a wellbeing champion
Wellbeing champions are employees who choose to focus on improving the wellbeing of their fellow colleagues as part of a wider company initiative. They should be passionate about wellbeing themselves and be a positive role model for employees. Their role should be to raise awareness of available activities, to facilitate or come up with new activities and to collect feedback from staff.
4. Put a programme together
There is no set definition for a workplace wellbeing programme. Be holistic in your approach; health and wellbeing isn’t just about salads and jogging, it encompasses emotional health as well as physical.
5. Create a productive and positive working environment
People work better in a productive and positive environment. Prevent fatigue and headaches with good lighting, stimulate brain function with inspiring colours and encourage collaborative working with spaces designed to encourage team support.
6. Promote good nutrition
The workplace is often a breeding ground for bad eating habits. Overcome this by providing free, healthy nutritional snacks and drinks and encourage people to eat away from their desks with a separate eating area.
7. Promote exercise
Research has shown that devoting work time to exercise can lead to higher productivity. Implement a cycle to work scheme, provide on-site yoga or fitness training sessions or coordinate walking meetings instead of cooping your colleagues up in a boardroom.
8. Focus on emotional wellness
The way employees think and feel has a direct impact on everything from productivity to communication. Promoting good mental health can be one of the most important steps to improving an organisation.
9. Enlist the help of others
Enlist the assistance of specialists. Four has worked with business psychologists Carter Corson, who have conducted various sessions to assist our busy team. We have also worked with yoga and mindfulness experts and wellbeing coach Amanda Brown at Cloud 10, who advised on strategies for helping employees to be happier at work.
10. Maintain your policies
Ensure that you consistently update and work on your strategies, adapting to the needs of your employees and listening to their views and thoughts to ensure an effective and productive workplace.
There is no excuse for not supporting your staff’s health and wellbeing in the modern workplace. Implementing an effective policy not only benefits your staff hugely, but will benefit your business with a return on efficiency, productivity and motivation.