“Wellbeing means different things to different people, how can I get it right for people at work?”
Workplace wellbeing has become a hot topic over recent years and many organisations have jumped on the bandwagon organising Mental Health First Aid Training sessions, resilience webinars and events such as Wellbeing Wednesdays.
However, these initiatives often fall flat because they don’t take into account the underlying reasons behind why people are struggling with their mental health in the first place. Asking them to become resilient when company culture is against them just feels like a smack in the face.
Ensuring the wellbeing of individuals at work requires a thoughtful and comprehensive approach that takes into account the diverse needs and preferences of employees as well as the importance of the systems and relationships they work with.
While it’s true that wellbeing can vary from person to person, there are some general strategies you can employ to promote a positive work environment and support the wellbeing of your employees.
Here are some steps you can take:
Foster a supportive culture:
Cultivate a work culture that values and prioritises employee wellbeing. Encourage open communication, respect, and collaboration among team members. Create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs and concerns. Building psychological safety in teams will help improve connection and collaboration.
Conduct surveys and assessments:
Regularly gather feedback from your employees through surveys, questionnaires, or one-on-one discussions to understand their specific needs, concerns, and aspirations related to wellbeing. This information will help you tailor your initiatives accordingly. Investing in apps such as Emotie to gain real-time insights into how people are feeling can help you react quickly. Regular short check-ins with managers can be helpful if done in the right way.
Make feedback, reward and recognition part of your company culture:
Feeling valued, recognised and an important part of your company can go a long way to helping people feel engaged and motivated. The current crisis in the nursing workforce is not down to pay but down to nurses leaving the profession because they don’t feel valued. Don’t underestimate how important it is to let people know what you appreciate about them and don’t wait until they have handed in their notice before you tell them!
Equip your managers with the tools for the job:
Managers and leaders can be a major contributor to the stress of the team and negative emotions related to work. Help your managers understand what leadership behaviours contribute to improving the wellbeing of others. And help them find ways to look after their own wellbeing as a burnt-out manager is more likely to create disengaged and dissatisfied employees.
Promote work-life balance:
Gallup report that greater work-life balance and improved personal wellbeing were top priorities for employees. Encourage work-life balance by promoting flexible working arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours. Recognise that employees have personal lives and obligations outside of work, and support them in maintaining a healthy balance by setting reasonable expectations and reducing excessive workloads or stressors. Having the time to create an ‘opposite life’ outside of work has been shown to help combat stress and burnout so encourage your employees to take time away to do the things they enjoy.
Promote physical health:
Implement initiatives that encourage physical wellbeing, such as providing access to fitness facilities or promoting activities like group exercise classes or walking meetings. Encourage regular breaks and support healthy eating habits by offering nutritious food options.
Support mental health:
Recognise the importance of mental health and create an environment that supports it. Offer resources like employee assistance programs, mental health workshops, or access to counselling services. Before booking that Mental Health First Aid programme though, have a read of what to consider to be ready to make it work.
Encourage social connections:
Foster a sense of community and belonging among employees. Encourage social interactions and team-building activities, both in-person and virtually. Create platforms or spaces for employees to connect, collaborate, and support one another.
Provide professional development opportunities:
Support employees’ professional growth and fulfilment by offering learning and development programmes, mentorship opportunities, and clear career pathways. Recognise and reward their achievements to boost morale and job satisfaction.
Regularly review and adapt:
Continuously assess the effectiveness of your initiatives and make adjustments as needed. Listen to employee feedback and be responsive to their changing needs. Wellbeing is an ongoing process, so ensure that your efforts evolve along with the workforce.
Remember, wellbeing is a highly individualised concept, so it’s crucial to approach it with flexibility and empathy. By considering the diverse perspectives and needs of your employees, and how the workplace contributes to their overall sense of wellbeing you can create an environment that is supportive, motivating and engaging so that your people feel able to look after themselves, look after each other and contribute their best.
If you need help creating a wellbeing programme that really makes a difference, book a free consultation with one of our specialist wellbeing consultants. We can help you with wellbeing strategy days, wellbeing assessments, leadership training and workshops to help your employees manage the things that send their wellbeing into a wobble!