Workplace wellbeing initiatives

Sarah Corcoran

Blog Writer

In recent years there has been a huge uptake in workplace wellness. Wellness in the workplace is more than free coffee and mental health signs in the canteen. True workplace wellness focuses on a holistic approach to the physical and mental well-being of your team, ensuring they feel safe, happy and comfortable in the workplace. While many employers have embraced and backed the idea, others are slow to commit and do not see the benefit.

Why Should Your Business Embrace Workplace Wellness?

There are many positive reasons for a workplace to focus on employee wellbeing. Healthy employees, who are given the time and means to look after their health can physically perform better and have more energy. Focus and productivity will also increase. Team building fosters an environment of encouragement, high morale and a shared purpose which builds camaraderie. Fitness, movement, eating well and feeling good contribute to lower levels of stress in all aspects of life allowing employees to reach their full potential in the workplace and beyond.

Workplace Wellbeing Ideas

While large employers like Google and Facebook have millions to spend on employee happiness schemes, smaller employers have budget and time constraints that don’t allow such grandiose displays. Encouraging workplace wellness doesn’t have to be costly. Minimal investment can produce effective results. Health isn’t all about salads and exercise, it’s equally about emotional and mental health and a holistic approach usually yields the best results.

Physical Health

Offering access to tax-free bike schemes and allowing flexible start times allowing walking to work encourages physical exercise every day. If the weather allows, one-on-one meetings with staff could be walking meetings, increasing step count and encouraging more open conversation without constant eye contact. Offer discounts for local gyms, yoga classes and other physical activities. Offering good health insurance or a discount will allow employees to look after themselves better without a huge financial burden.

Healthy Eating

While encouraging balance and not alienating those with dietary requirements or eating disorders, a healthy approach to food should be adopted by the office. If your office provides snacks, ensure they are balanced with healthy options available. Encourage recipe sharing and drinking water over sugary drinks. Allow employees sufficient breaks in a comfortable common space, to eat well during the day. Ordering lunch for the office occasionally allows employees to meet and catch up informally.

Emotional Wellbeing

Creating an open, honest environment is essential to your employee’s mental wellbeing at work. Associating and volunteering with a local charity or initiative will not only contribute to your company’s CSR, it will also foster wellness within your team. Offering discounted or free employee assistance and mindfulness training gives your team the tools they need to be healthy from the inside out. Regularly talk about workload with individuals and teams and adjust as necessary to discourage burnout and overworking.

Productivity and Progression

Productivity does not mean working for longer and pushing teams to their limit. Ensuring employees have and take sufficient time off is essential to true productivity. Providing sick leave so people can stay at home until they feel well is important. Supporting off-site, remote and hybrid work allows a better work-life balance. Employers should acknowledge and celebrate individual achievements and provide leadership and development opportunities regularly.

Physical Space

People work better in a space designed to promote productivity and minimise distractions. Office space should have good lighting, inspiring colours and appropriate equipment so people can do their jobs. Ergonomic assessment of workplaces, both on-site and at home, ensures good spinal and visual health and less time off for medical issues. Office space should be designed so your team can meet comfortably in person as often as they need. Canteen and break rooms should be no-work zones, allowing a rest for both body and mind. Our newest Baggot Street locations offer multiple break out areas, a pool room and every desk as standard is electronic with options to sit / stand whenever needed.

It’s important not to force employees to engage in your wellness initiative, but also to be inclusive. Consider health conditions and additional needs of employees and adapt accordingly.

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