How to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace
Workplace wellbeing has become an extremely hot topic over the past three years, and seeing as we spend one-third of our lifetime in work, it’s important that our working environment is as positive and healthy as possible.
But what exactly is workplace health and wellbeing, and why is it so important to get right?
What is workplace wellbeing?
The NICE guidelines state: ‘Health relates to a person’s physical or mental condition. Wellbeing is the subjective state of being healthy, happy, contented, comfortable and satisfied with one’s quality of life. Mental wellbeing relates to a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.” (1)
Workplace wellbeing, then, can be defined as the overall mental and physical health and happiness of an organisation’s employees and applies to all aspects of working life. Good workplace wellbeing can be achieved through a combination of an optimal work environment (quality and safety of the physical environment, manageable workload), alongside a positive, supportive company culture (career progression, supportive leadership, flexibility when needed) which combined allows people to thrive, both individually and collectively.
Does worker wellbeing affect workplace performance?
The average employee spends about a fifth of their time at work feeling unhappy, with ramifications including:
- Presenteeism (employees being present at work despite being unwell and unable to fulfil their duties)
- Absenteeism (employees being absent from work without a legitimate reason)
- Leavism (employees using annual leave or rest days to catch up on work)
- Increased mental and physical health issues
- Reduced productivity
- Higher staff turnover
The damaging effects of these factors on an individual’s health and wellbeing, as well as on an organisation’s productivity and capability, are manifold.
Why is wellbeing important in the workplace?
Alongside the aforementioned issues, failing to prioritise workplace wellbeing can also lead to an increase in work-related stress and other common mental health problems. This can have a huge impact not only on the individual but also on the productivity and success of a company.
A 2022 study revealed that 67% of professionals are experiencing stress at moderate to high levels, 60% of employees feel anxious and 56% are experiencing symptoms of depression. (2)
Are you ready to level up your organisation? Here are a few significant benefits your company will reap when you prioritise employee health and wellbeing:
Ensuring employees feel well and have a positive working environment makes them more likely to collaborate and feel safe to share their ideas, not to mention less likely to take time off. Studies show that addressing workplace wellbeing increases productivity by as much as 17%. (3)
Increased job satisfaction and employee retention
A supportive and positive organisational culture increases job satisfaction among employees, meaning they are more likely to remain loyal to the company, increasing employee retention. This, in turn, results in less money being spent on hiring and onboarding costs and creates a more stable and reliable workforce.
Absenteeism can cause a ripple effect throughout the workplace, resulting in disruption, reduced productivity levels and placing additional stress on colleagues.
With work-related stress, anxiety, or depression accounting for a shocking 55% of all working days lost due to ill health in 2021 (4), decreasing absenteeism can reduce costs, boost productivity, and create more stability within your organisation.
Reduced levels of burnout
Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress, characterised by three elements:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
- increased mental distance from one’s job.
- feelings of negativity related to one’s job and reduced professional efficacy.
Burnout can have disastrous consequences for individuals and businesses; taking a proactive approach to decrease burnout could transform your organisation.
Results from a Visier survey on burnout in the US showed that 89% of employees experienced burnout over the past year (with ‘being asked to take on more work’ being the biggest burnout contributor) and 70% of employees would leave their organisation for a different employer offering resources to reduce burnout.(5)
Better working relationships and company culture
Feeling valued within a company fosters positive relationships, company loyalty and contributes to building a strong company culture, thus creating a better work environment for all. This can help to advance a company’s brand and reputation, giving them a significant advantage over competitors.
It is evident how paramount health and wellbeing in the workplace is, but what workplace wellbeing initiatives can you implement to improve the success of your company?
Encourage a good work-life balance
Remote working and continuing technological advancements are making it harder for employees to switch off.
Although overtime is bound to be needed occasionally, it is important to cultivate an environment where employees are encouraged to take the breaks they need, can finish at a reasonable hour, and are not contacted outside of work hours unless absolutely necessary.
In addition, regularly reviewing workloads and offering a flexible working policy offers employees the chance to better balance their workload with any disabilities or mental and physical health conditions they may have, helping to reduce presenteeism.
Research shows that 81% of employees place importance and value on flexible working. They want to be trusted to manage when, where and how they work. (6)
Provide mental health resources for employees
Deloitte research reports that for every £1m spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5m back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover (7).
Open up the conversation about mental health and offer resources to equip your people with the tools they need to take charge of their own wellbeing. Medigold Health offers strategies and techniques to create a proactive, preventative culture, including:
- Wellbeing and Mental Health Awareness Programmes
- Wellbeing Ambassador Programmes
- Mental Health First Aider Training
- Employee Assistance Programmes
- Counselling Services
- Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy Facilitation
Click here to find out more about our Mental Health Support Services.
Create a safe space to foster strong relationships
Communicating wellbeing needs within the workplace can often be challenging. Encouraging a safe space for employees to be open and voice any concerns they might have can make all the difference.
Regular one-to-one check-ins with managers can help employees to identify any areas of stress which can then be addressed early on. Furthermore, regular team meetings provide the opportunity for employees to engage with colleagues on a more personal level, resulting in stronger team morale.
Celebrating accomplishments plays a large part in job satisfaction and is imperative to keep employees feeling positive, appreciated, and proud of the work they do.
Just as important as celebrating large accomplishments is giving recognition for smaller, day-to-day achievements, such as:
- Work anniversaries
- Achievement of large company goals
- Achievement of smaller, individual goals
- When an employee has learnt a new skill
- When an employee has been working particularly hard
- An innovative, creative suggestion
- Handling a difficult situation well
- A personal, out-of-office achievement
Promote a healthy lifestyle
Providing employees with resources and activities on lifestyle management is crucial in supporting them to live healthily.
Medigold Health offers a range of evidence-based initiatives that you can combine as part of a health and wellbeing strategy, including:
- Organisational Wellbeing Profiles
- Health and Lifestyle Screening Days
- Health Calendars
- Lifestyle Consultation Days
- Wellbeing Workshop Days and Webinar Weeks
- Health Leadership Training Days
- Active Spaces
Click here to find out about our Health and Wellbeing services in more detail.
If you are keen to start investing more in the health and wellbeing of your employees but aren’t sure where to start, Medigold Health is here to help, so get in touch and start your journey to better workplace wellbeing today.
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