CIPD reported that most respondents in their study believed that their organisations health and well-being strategy had shown positive results. More specifically, that it improved morale and engagement, as well as reporting a healthier and more inclusive culture.
While we all have good intentions, many of us get so busy that we forget to put our personal well-being at the top of our to do list – especially when we’re dedicated to our jobs, and this requires some quite demanding work. We’re either too busy or too tired to partake in things that make us feel better.
The past few years have seen a rise in wellness initiatives in the workplace as a way to tackle these issues, and it’s a great trend to see organisations truly looking after their employees. There is no set definition or procedures to well-being initiatives, but its important to remember to be inclusive of all your employees by factoring in things such as health conditions or disabilities.
So, what exactly can we implement in the workplace to contribute to the health and happiness of our employees? After all, health isn’t just about salads and jogging, and we can’t force our staff to go to the gym. We’ve compiled some extremely helpful initiatives that can be put into place on the smallest or largest of budgets:
This seems like a simple one, but it can have a great impact on employees. The ability to simply get away from a desk and get some fresh air can help to fight fatigue and it’s great to keep our bodies active during a time when we’d probably just be sitting down. Increasing our movement during the day has proven to have a number of health benefits – such as keeping your metabolism going!
Flexible working hours
We’ve officially reached a time where very few organisations can say that it’s impossible to facilitate flexible working hours. They can help to reduce stress when something comes up or when we aren’t feeling too great, because it means we can work from home or we can start a little bit later in the morning if we need to attend a doctor’s appointment.
Similar to the concept of walking meetings, standing desks can have a really positive impact on our health. Even though most of us do it, sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day isn’t great for us. Standing desks give us the opportunity to keep working and reduce the health risks. Sitting all day has been linked to increased risk in diabetes and heart disease, so it’s recommended that we try to stand for at least 15 minutes every hour.
Healthy office lunches
We understand that ordering lunch for the office is something that we can’t do all the time, hence why it’s a treat when it happens. So many offices are guilty of bulk ordering Domino’s pizzas or deep fried everything. If you’re feeling generous enough one day to buy lunch for your office or team, try and switch it up to a healthier alternative. Either way, free food is definitely going to be good for morale and your team will feel appreciated!
Monitor work-life balance
Monitoring your employees to see if anyone is on the brink of burnout or are generally overly stressed will give you an idea of who needs to manage their work-life balance better. It’s great to have hard working employees, but we all need to know when to switch off sometimes. Express some concern when this is happening and try to convince them to have a work free evening or weekend, or maybe even take some of their annual leave – no checking up on those emails either!
Trust your employees
Nothing adds to stress in the workplace like a boss who breaths down your neck with unrealistic expectations. When you hire your employees, you choose them for a reason. Trust that they can get their job done and if they need help, they will come to you. Of course, a little bit of pressure always helps, but try and loosen the reigns a little. They’ll feel much more relaxed in their role and they’ll probably master a few new skills in the process.
Invest in training and development
There’s no better way of making an employee feel appreciating than investing in their development at your company. We all like the idea of career development, and I’m sure there are very few of us who are happy staying still for too long. Investing in your employees and helping them develop their career will make them want to stay with you longer when there’s a clear path for them in the future.
Sabbaticals are often something overlooked and rarely granted, because who really wants to let their employees run free for weeks at a time? In the grand scheme of things, those few weeks they’re granted are minuscule compared to the time they’ve invested in your organisation. Normally granted every 3-5 years, that few weeks of freedom can help us feel extremely appreciated and the break is great for our mental and physical health.
Your well-being strategy doesn’t have to be full of lunch-time yoga sessions and free health club memberships. There are plenty of pricey strategies we can put in to place to make it appear that we’re taking care of our employees, but unless we get the basics right it’s all pointless. We need to create an inclusive culture where we all feel free to talk about our problems and feel trusted. We don’t want to create fear cultures where we feel too scared to stay home when we’re sick or feel too scared to talk to our boss when there’s an issue in the workplace. These things can cause excessive stress and lower our mood, which is clearly not great for our well-being!
The bottom-line is, when we work in an environment where our basic needs are cared for and we feel comfortable and happy, we don’t need loads of flashy benefits. We simply need to know that our employer shows genuine interest in our health.