Improving workplace wellbeing is a long-term project that should have a lasting impact for your employees. It isn’t about one-off mental health campaigns or financial gimmicks. Instead, it should follow a holistic approach that’s tailored to your company and the unique needs of your staff. Since everyone is different, a one-size-fits-all scheme just won’t cut it.
Take a look at our top 10 tips on how to improve workplace wellbeing:
1. Offer training and education
Rather than jumping in, take the time to explain the basics. Define what wellbeing is and why it’s so important. Then list the common ways to spot if something isn’t quite right. It’ll improve buy-in from managers and staff and get a constructive dialogue going.
2. Train up mental health first-aiders
As an extension of your training, it’s worth developing some specialist mental health first-aiders. Training people to spot common issues could help you see potential problems, as well as giving people the opportunity they might not have elsewhere to seek help when they need it most.
3. Provide access to employee assistance programmes
Consider how counselling, employee assistance and occupational health schemes can improve wellbeing. Giving people access to support networks can help them find the avenues they need to get back to their best.
It doesn’t have to cost the world either. There are plenty of things you can do if your budget doesn’t stretch that far. It may just be a case of signposting where employees can get help. Or ensuring they have the time and space to attend medical appointments as and when they’re required.
4. Appoint wellbeing champions
Any effective workplace wellbeing scheme should start at the top. But it should also trickle through your entire business. Appointing wellbeing champions across all levels will ensure everyone has easy access to support. They can gather employee feedback and send it up the ladder too.
Wellbeing champions can be anyone in your company. They’re simply approachable peers with their teams’ best interests at heart.
It’s a useful step in building a holistic programme, tying mental, physical, social and financial support together.
The cost-of-living strain has pushed financial wellbeing into the headlines in recent months. And it’s something people are more aware of than ever. Energy bills, food prices and mortgage rates have all risen. And there have been knock-on effects for mental health.
The financial support you offer doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply signpost the places where employees can access help and guidance. This could include free financial advice from the government. Charities such as Citizens Advice and high street banks can also be great places for employees to find financial support when they need it most.
6. Review your benefits package
Taking an objective look at your benefits package could also ease some of the financial pressure for workers. Think about teaming up with retailers or supermarkets to offer discounts to employees, for example.
Salary sacrifice schemes may help too. This is where people give up some monthly pay in exchange for a non-cash benefit.
Examples include the cycle-to-work initiative. Cycle-to-work allows staff to make savings on a new bike. It can have a wider impact as well, supporting physical health and the environment.
7. Tackle presenteeism
Presenteeism is a common trend in the modern workplace. It describes people who carry on working when they’re unwell or put in longer hours than they should.
The boom in home working following the pandemic has only added to the problem. That’s because managers are often unable to see when staff are struggling or spending too much time working. It ultimately blurs the boundaries between work and home life.
A few simple steps can tackle presenteeism within your business. They include:
- Encouraging regular breaks and finishing on time.
- Policies that ask for devices to be switched off at a certain time.
- Sending emails during fixed working hours only.
- Introducing specific no-email or no-meeting days.
8. Make remote working effective
It’s important to strike the right balance between home-working and connecting with colleagues. On the one hand, working remotely can save the stress of a busy commute and increase people’s family time. On the other, it can potentially lead to isolation.
Depending on your business model, it may prove useful to plan specific time for people to work together in person. That way, they can check in with each other and avoid negative feelings. Balancing regular social interaction with remote working should give you the best of both worlds.
9. Focus on fitness
Get your staff moving by making fitness fun and accessible. Fitness challenges and policies can encourage people to step away from their desks. And colleagues can easily do face-to-face or virtual meetings while out for a walk to keep their physical wellbeing heading in the right direction.
Think about how benefits packages can cover physical and mental fitness too. Subsidised gym memberships and wellness app subscriptions are just two ideas that can go a long way to boosting wellbeing.
10. Show compassion for long-term issues
Put policies in place that offer deep, meaningful help when people need it most. Bereavement, pregnancy loss and chronic health conditions are just a few of the areas where you can show compassion and offer staff additional support, whether that’s offering more time off or just helping them find the support they need.
Ensuring a smooth return to work is also vital for employees who have been through a difficult period. Think about how you can make the transition back to the office as friction-free as possible. Could it be worth offering phased returns, or letting people work remotely until they get back up to speed, for example?