Employee wellbeing should always be a top priority for companies wanting to maintain a happy and healthy workforce. Productivity, loyalty, and employee satisfaction are all greatly influenced by employee wellbeing. Here’s how to ensure employees in your business are properly looked after.
In order to maintain and improve employee wellbeing, employers must carve out time and resources in the form of a comprehensive wellness program. Going above and beyond traditional healthcare benefits, wellness programs provide a wide array of support systems aimed at retaining employees and keeping them healthy.
While often used interchangeably, wellness and wellbeing refer to two distinct aspects of employee health. Wellness primarily focuses on physical health, encompassing areas such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and preventive healthcare. It’s about maintaining a state of good health and taking proactive steps to avoid illness.
On the other hand, wellbeing casts a wider net, encapsulating not only physical health but also mental, emotional, and even social health. It’s about feeling satisfied, happy, and fulfilled at work and in life. It includes elements like work-life balance, stress management, and building strong, supportive relationships in the workplace.
Thus, both wellness and wellbeing are vital components of an employee’s overall health. A comprehensive workplace program should holistically address both areas to ensure employees are effectively supported, leading to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.
Given the benefits of comprehensive wellbeing and wellness programs to a company’s bottom line, it’s hardly surprising most companies are now starting to invest in this. In this blog post, you’ll explore key ways that companies can nurture employee wellbeing.
1. Wellbeing-Related Policies
First and foremost, employers should implement robust yet supportive policies regarding absence and return to work. It’s crucial to establish clear guidelines about what constitutes acceptable absence and the process for reporting it. This helps to prevent confusion and misuse. At the same time, employers should show understanding and compassion for genuine reasons for absence, such as illness or family emergencies.
A return to work policy should be designed to ease employees back into their roles. This could include phased return-to-work programs where an employee gradually increases their hours, or temporary adjustments to their duties to accommodate their needs. Employers should also provide support in the form of regular check-ins or counselling services, if needed.
Such policies demonstrate an employer’s commitment to employee wellbeing, showing that they value their staff not just as workers, but as individuals with their own lives and challenges outside of work. This approach can significantly boost employee morale, job satisfaction, and overall wellbeing.
2. Open Communication With Employees
Effective communication with your employees is key in building a solid foundation. This should involve keeping your employees up to date on company initiatives to improve their wellbeing, and ensuring that any healthcare initiatives are explained fully. The overall goal is to make your employees feel valued and heard.
3. Promote Mental Health
Despite being a critical aspect of overall wellbeing, mental health is often swept under the rug. However, employers can help by promoting employee mental health with psychotherapy and counselling sessions. Furthermore, moving beyond traditional support structures, companies can encourage employee involvement in volunteer programs, providing a sense of purpose and social support.
4. Comfortable Work Environment
Your employees most likely spend more than 8 hours of their day in the office, so it is essential to create a comfortable work environment. Consider ergonomic furniture, appropriate lighting and temperature control. These small changes can all help to improve the physical work environment and the employee’s overall wellbeing.
5. Encourage Professional Development
Providing an environment that encourages professional development is essential yet often overlooked. When employees feel a sense of growth and purpose, it can positively impact their mental and emotional wellbeing. By offering training programs and skills development opportunities, companies can help their employees gain relevant experience and achieve their career goals.
6. Promote Physical Health
Exercise is critical for physical and mental health; it helps alleviates stress, boost mood and reduce anxiety. As such, companies should encourage physical activity by providing subsidized gym memberships, hosting fitness classes or even outdoor running clubs.
7. Take Breaks
It’s important for employees to take breaks; encouraging them to take short breaks throughout the day can improve productivity, concentration and mental clarity. Companies can introduce areas for relaxation, think aromatherapy rooms or chill-out zones, for employees to unwind and de-stress.
8. Fix ‘Presenteeism’ Culture
Even when sick, most employees feel compelled to show up. Unfortunately, coming into work while employees are not feeling well tends to worsen the wellbeing of the individual and the rest of the team. Companies should encourage employees to stay home when sick and liberally offer sick days to avoid a “presenteeism” culture.
9. Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs can be a helpful resource for employees. For instance, they can offer practical support to employees experiencing personal problems that may affect their overall wellbeing. Providing professional help with issues like debt management and family counselling, can help employees to manage their stresses and return to work as healthy and productive individuals.
10. Optimize Your Company Culture
Workplace culture, for better or for worse, significantly impacts employee wellbeing. Creating a positive and inclusive work culture will improve the morale and the employee’s overall wellbeing. This can be achieved by reinforcing the company values, encouraging teamwork and rewarding excellent work.
Employee wellbeing is important for the overall health of your business. Employers need to invest time and resources into employee wellness programs to improve employee retention, morale and satisfaction. It’s essential to provide a comfortable work environment, promote physical and mental health, provide an atmosphere that encourages professional development and foster an inclusive work culture.
Implementing a wellness program in your organization will demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ wellbeing and attention to their needs as individuals. By promoting employee wellbeing and wellness, companies benefit by creating a happy and satisfied workforce, leading to increased productivity, engagement and ultimately, better business results.