With full-time employees working on average 36 hours a week, it is no surprise that the workplace can have huge effects on employee wellbeing, for better or for worse.
Positive employee wellbeing is not just good for the employees, but employers too. Research suggests that wellbeing can have an impact on employee motivation, team morale, productivity, absenteeism, staff turnover, and the general working atmosphere. Figures from the Centre for Mental Health suggests that poor mental wellbeing is causing UK companies to lose £34.9 billion a year in productivity.
There are a number of factors to think about when trying to foster a workplace culture that supports employee wellbeing. There is not only mental health and stress but also physical factors such as sleep, fitness, and illness, as well as financial wellbeing and general job satisfaction. Because of this wide range of factors, it is important that you give employees a choice of a range of different support options and benefits so that you can meet their varied needs.
This World Wellbeing Week, Kiwi Recruitment have been looking at some of the steps you can make to help support employee wellbeing.
Create a comfortable work environment
The first and most obvious thing that can be done is to ensure that the work environment is as comfortable for employees as possible. Creating a more relaxed and comfortable work environment can have a significant impact on your employees’ wellbeing.
One example of this could be installing indoor plants in the workplace. Indoor plants release oxygen in the air and remove carbon dioxide, therefore boosting the ventilation in the workplace. Research has shown that improved air quality at work can increase staff productivity by up to 11%, making it a low cost but effective way to support and improve your employees’ wellbeing.
Ensuring the workplace is clutter-free can also have a positive impact. It has been reported that the average worker spends about 4.3 hours a week searching for papers, files, and documents in the office, which can often result in higher stress levels in employees. Therefore, ensuring a tidy and organised workplace can help reduce stress in your employees while also potentially boosting productivity.
Encourage healthy choices
Whether it’s staying hydrated, planning healthy meals, or stretching and exercising as regularly as possible; A healthy lifestyle in the workplace is key to improving employee wellbeing.
One way to promote a healthy lifestyle among your employees is to offer some employee benefits that are health-focused. This could be something like a subsidized gym membership. Alternatively, you could offer free nutritious breakfasts to staff, or have free fruit available for them during the shift to ensure employees are well fed, not skipping meals, and at their most productive.
If your colleagues are sat staring at a screen all day, it would also be good to give them the opportunity to get up and move away from there desk for short intervals to help avoid fatigue. Contrastingly, if your employees are on their feet all day, make sure they somewhere that they can sit down during their breaks.
Promote a good work-life balance
Promoting a good work-life balance is incredibly important when improving employee wellbeing. Heavy workloads can take a toll on your employees very quickly, resulting in stressed staff. This can then result in an increase in employee absences and staff turnover.
A recent survey revealed that 44% of staff members believe that flexible work schedules increase happiness at work, while 33% believe that more annual leave will have the most significant impact on their work-life balance. By offering flexible working options and considering increasing employee’s annual leave where possible, will help to decrease stress among your staff and create happier, more productive employees.
Recognise good work
Employee recognition is an obvious wellbeing booster but is easily and often overlooked.
Encouraging leadership, managers, and co-workers to recognise the efforts of other employees will help individuals to feel valued and satisfied in their job role, having a big, positive impact on motivation. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, while 70% said they would feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.
You could introduce an award system for identifying employees who go the extra mile, or the recognition could be as simple as a thank you for their hard work. Whatever way you choose to do it, make sure you follow it through. Recognising their best efforts will go a long way to improving team morale and drive.
Find and solve problems
Sometimes negative employee wellbeing is being caused by underlying issues that may not be obvious to you without some extra digging. If you are experiencing high levels of absence or staff turnover, it’s important you try to get to root of the problem and work to solve it.
The problems could be that your employees feel unhappy at work, they are being overworked, or they feel they aren’t being given the means to stay healthy in their job. Whatever the problem is, it’s always best to give your employees the opportunity to share what may be bothering them and work to offer solutions and fix the problem.
The best way to do this is to have regular team meetings to ensure any and all new procedures and systems are clear to all your staff. It’d also be incredibly beneficial to hold regular 1:1’s with all your employees too. By implementing these, you are ensuring all employees are being kept in the know and giving them the opportunity to raise any issues they may have. Not only will this make you aware of any problems so that you can solve them, but it will also mean your employees will feel listened to, boosting their productivity and motivation.
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