This World Wellbeing Week, we are focusing on fostering well-being at work. Work can be stressful for many, but investing in employee well-being can help tackle the causes of stress and create a more motivated, engaged, and productive workforce.
What is Well-being?
Well-being is broadly defined as the state of being comfortable, happy, and healthy; however, it can be more complicated when considering physical and mental health. Your state of well-being can be positively and negatively affected by internal and external factors, including:
- Sleep hygiene
- Diet and exercise
- Quality time with family
All of these factors are interrelated, and when one suffers, it can have a knock-on effect on other areas. At the same time, one aspect can make up for others – for example, spending quality time with people you care about can help raise self-esteem.
Well-being at Work
Statistics show that companies that prioritise employee well-being perform better than companies that do not. When employees feel valued and are happy and healthy they are more productive and more motivated within their role.
There are several strategies that companies can implement to foster greater employee well-being at work, including:
- Raising awareness of mental health – ensure staff are given adequate information on mental health in the workplace and the support available during their inductions, and provide further training and resources when necessary to direct them on where to go if they feel their well-being is suffering.
- Involving staff in decision-making – including all levels of staff in the decision-making process around mental health can help companies identify pain points for employees and find solutions.
- Encourage a work-life balance – no matter how much employees enjoy their job, working long hours under sustained pressure can lead to burnout. Encouraging staff to take their lunch breaks, work within core hours, and take their full annual leave entitlement can reduce the risk of burnout and stress-related conditions.
- Introduce flexible working – flexible working can have many benefits for employees and employers, including boosting morale and productivity while reducing absence.
- Host regular one-to-ones – one-to-one meetings between managers and employees can help monitor employee well-being and spot any individuals who may be struggling. Regular meetings can also boost mutual trust between employees and managers, which helps to identify potential issues early on and give support those who may need it.
Why is Employee Well-being Important?
One in every six workers in the UK struggles with their mental health. Poor mental health can lead to poor well-being, and an unsupportive workplace can add even more stress.
Companies who invest in the well-being of their employees see many benefits, including:
- Improved teamwork
- Better job satisfaction
- A more positive workforce
- More motivated employees
- An increase in productivity
60% of employees say they would feel more motivated and be much more likely to recommend their company as an excellent place to work if they took action to support their mental well-being.
Alongside this, statistics show that better mental health support could save businesses £8bn per year, and reduce the amount of sick leave employees take.
Mental Health and Well-being
The New Economics Foundation developed five steps to mental well-being, which include:
- Connection – this could mean having a meeting instead of sending an email, or setting aside time to just talk with someone about how they feel.
- Activity – physical activity can reduce stress and boost employee well-being. Going for a walk at lunchtime, organising a group sporting event, or taking the stairs are small changes that can add up.
- Taking notice – being mindful and aware of surroundings can help people make more positive choices.
- Learning – Providing opportunities for growth and progression and continuing to learn and achieving goals can boost self-esteem and well-being amongst employees.
- Giving – volunteering and giving back to the community is proven to boost mental health and well-being.
Businesses reap the rewards of fostering well-being at work, as happy and engaged staff are much more productive.
Normalising mental health in the workplace can go a long way to supporting employees’ health and well-being. Including training around mental health, raising awareness around common mental health issues, and encouraging open discussion helps employees who may be struggling to reach out for help.