Research has shown that a happy and healthy workforce can reduce costs by more than $1,600 per employee in reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. So, what can be done to support wellbeing in the workplace?
The most obvious place to start when it comes to supporting a healthy workforce is to encourage employees to look after their physical health. Here are some ways to do so:
1. Promoting an active lifestyle
Staying fit goes hand in hand with staying healthy and avoiding sickness. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes to name just a few. One report has even shown that strenuous physical activity at least three times a week reduces the amount of time spent on sick leave. Plus, there are many other benefits too. The endorphins released during exercise have been shown to result in increased confidence, more energy and reduced stress levels – all of which can improve employee performance at work. There are many ways a company can promote an active lifestyle, no matter what their size or budget. From in-house gym facilities to discounted memberships or even just making the effort to get everyone involved in charity walks, runs and challenges – it will all pay off when it comes to keeping employees active and fit for work.
2. Encourage healthy eating
Like exercise, eating a balanced nutritious diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy. A poor diet can affect performance as it can result in a tired sluggish feeling and difficulty concentrating. Encouraging employees to eat healthily can be as simple as providing fruit instead of biscuits at meetings, removing vending machines full of chocolate and sweets and providing easy access to drinking water. Anything which makes it easier for employees to make healthy choices over unhealthy choices is sure to help employee wellbeing.
While it may not be as obvious as physical health, supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace is just as important, evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. Helping your employees to look after their mental health has positive effects on morale and attitudes towards work. 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing. So, what can be done? Here are some suggestions for supporting your employees in looking after their mental health:
3. Inspire positivity and happiness
Ever thought that if you work really hard to get that promotion or that pay rise you’ll finally find happiness? In this TED Talk, Psychologist Shawn Achor claims that happiness inspires us to be more productive, not the other way around. Positive people are more productive, resilient and less likely to burn out. Shawn Achor calls this the happiness advantage. Here are some exercises, to share with employees to help them adopt a more positive, optimistic outlook:
- List 3 things you’re grateful for everyday
- Write about 1 positive experience you’ve had in the last 24 hours
- Daily bursts of exercise
- Undertake random acts of kindness
- Give praise and thanks
4. Mindfulness training
The benefits of mindfulness for mental health and wellbeing are clear: studies show that practising mindfulness can help to manage depression, some anxiety problems and reduce stress by more than 20%. Mindfulness works by producing measurable changes in brain structure and functions by increasing grey matter in areas of the brain associated with logical thinking, balanced perspective, and other executive functioning. Offering mindfulness programmes to employees is a great way to improve employee wellbeing by helping your staff to look after their mental health. Our mindfulness for busy people training teaches the basics of mindfulness with simple exercises to practise every day.
5. Flexible working arrangements
Be flexible. Sometimes the day to day demands of family & personal lives do not fall into the schedules that standard working hours dictate. Having flexible working hours or a working from home policy allows employees to work around these demands and can result in reduced stress & pressure.
6. Line Manager Support
Line managers have an important role to play in supporting employee wellbeing. Genuine care and empathy is needed to make sure employees are comfortable in sharing any problems or difficulties they might be having. Good leaders will be able to address any concerns and help to relieve the pressure if it gets too much. Leadership training can help to develop these vital skills in supervisors & managers. It’s also important that employees feel appreciated – showing thanks and gratitude for the work and effort employees put in will ensure they feel valued and result in an improved state of mind.
Workplace health and well-being initiatives can have a positive impact on performance, engagement and productivity and it’s worth getting a plan in place to benefit the employees and the organisation. If you would like any help with wellbeing training courses to complement your strategy get in touch to discuss the best options for you.