With obesity, mental health disorders and physical issues from workplace stress on the rise, organisations are encouraged to implement wellbeing strategies that support their employees.
Why workplace wellbeing is important
One in four people are affected by mental health problems. This statistic can’t be ignored, and with people spending the majority of their time at work, organisations are encouraged to implement wellbeing strategies that promote health and wellbeing in the workplace. But it’s not enough to just put on a yoga class and pop a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. Strategies need to be intentional, planned and measurable.
“Implementing mental health strategies is a ‘win-win’ and should be embraced. Individuals and employers benefit from these strategies. Profits increase and it helps enhance an organisation’s appeal for future talent.”
Engaging with employees and facilitating a health and wellness program promotes positive wellbeing that directly impacts performance. A healthy workforce means that people are physically and mentally able to perform better and this naturally influences an organisation’s bottom line.
What are the main health concerns in the workplace today?
Mental health is a big one, but musculoskeletal issues and cardiovascular disease caused by poor ergonomics and stress are also major concerns in the workplace. Organisations tend to treat the symptom, rather than the root cause. Paying for massages to treat a sore neck may fix the problem in the short term, but addressing poor ergonomic chairs and desks is a far better long-term solution.
“Prevention is better than cure. Employers have to take that on as part of their corporate social responsibility.”
External wellbeing companies can assist organisations in giving industry-specific, data-driven strategies and solutions to improve workforce health. Health and lifestyle assessment reports help organisations focus on mental and physical health challenges, specific to their staff.
Menopause is a hot topic that is underestimated, or often not addressed by health and wellbeing programs. There are currently 4.4 million skilled working women aged between 50 and 64 at the peak of their careers. Businesses need to make sure that they are addressing physical changes like menopause and have a framework in place to support employees during these changes.
What does a wellbeing strategy in the workplace look like?
An effective wellbeing strategy starts with intention. The first step is to fully engage with the importance of wellbeing and appreciate its value, rather than seeing it as a box to tick. The effectiveness of a wellbeing program depends on the adoption of the strategies from management down.
Review and interview
Before creating and implementing strategies, you’ll need a full review and analysis of the current health and wellbeing situation.
Conduct interviews with employees, asking them for their input and personal experiences. Utilise your employee management software to assess the absentee records, their reasoning and their frequency.
Set and create
Based on what you’ve learned from the review and interview phase, set targets that you want to reach with your wellbeing strategy. It could be a reduction in absenteeism or sick days. It could be a measurable physical change in staff or a lift in the bottom line.
Take your learnings and create custom strategies that address common issues. Be creative, and seek assistance if you need it.
Use your employee management software or additional tools to assess the success of your strategies. Pivot and adjust them accordingly.
Benefits of introducing workplace wellbeing
Better wellbeing improves employee mood, communication, productivity and self-esteem, and has long-term benefits that impact a person’s overall quality of life. Meanwhile, organisations stand to benefit from placing more focus on wellbeing in the workplace as productivity and talent attraction/retention naturally influence the bottom line.
Top tips for implementing wellbeing strategies in your business
- Record — Gain insights from your HR system and start recording absences along with their reasons. This will help you identify trends and help with your ‘before and after’ comparison. Be as specific as you can, if you’ve got the data there, use it to give people what they need. Endeavour to get to the root cause of the issues, rather than addressing the symptoms.
- Review — Review your current benefit provisions. You might be missing out on some areas or you might not be maximising existing benefits. Some preventative benefits include fitness wearables, gym discounts, online education and free training for managers on how to support their employees.
- Communicate — Create a communication plan that engages and communicates available benefits to your employees and how they can get the maximum return on those benefits.
- Have intention — Ensure that everything you do in your program has intention. It can’t be ad hoc and it has to be measurable.
- Seek champions — Identify and select a wellbeing steering group of champions to organise events and motivate people to get involved. Having a team to support management will help signpost people to the appropriate services or benefits that they need.
This post was written by Aideen Massey, Marketing Manager of Eppione, an exhibitor on the HRTech247 Employee Engagement floor.