With lockdown restrictions easing, but homeworking still as prominent as ever, workplace wellbeing should still be a huge priority for all organisations with strategies needing to be adapted to be as flexible as possible for an agile workforce. It is crucial that wellbeing initiatives are adapted to suit an ever-changing working environment.

What is workplace wellbeing?

Workplace wellbeing is when a supportive, healthy, and happy environment is created, monitored, and well maintained.

All organisations already know what needs to be in place for the health and safety of their employees, especially when it comes down to law and legislation, but if you are not also treating wellbeing with the same urgency, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to enable your employees to thrive.

Workplace wellbeing is something that positively benefits both employees and the employer.

Why is wellbeing important in the workplace?

Good workplace wellbeing is an enabler of excellent employee engagement and organisational performance. It should be threaded through the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment to retirement.

Wellbeing is so important in the workplace because, when wellbeing is taken seriously and done right, it allows positive working environments where individuals and organisations can fully achieve their goals. A healthy, happy workforce is a more productive workforce that positively influences your organisation's culture as well as providing reputational benefits and improving retention.

How do you promote wellbeing at work?

There are various ways in which to promote wellbeing at work. You need to consider:

How you engage and involve staff including communication, articles, data, surveys, facilitated sessions and feedback. You can do this through:
  • Creating surveys to monitor and review data and to allow you to discover what recommendations need to be put in place from the results.
  • Increasing engagement on an individual basis through 1 to 1s with managers
  • Anonymising online questionnaires to ensure you are receiving accurate data to help inform wellbeing decisions.
Team welfare including employee assistance programmes, offering counselling, signposting staff for further support. You can start to support team welfare through:
  • Establishing the root cause of issues and offering appropriate support through counselling or health occupational health referral to put steps in place to improve an individual’s situation and wellbeing.
  • Allowing your employees to achieve a good work/life balance
Promoting a positive workplace presence including absence management, performance management, values, and vision of your organisation and how this involves employees. This can be achieved through:
  • Analysing short-term and long-term absences data to then provide support through absence management and improvement of attendance
  • Using best-practise guidance to improve and enhance a positive workplace culture through employee relations casework and performance management
  • Holding workshops for management and staff to involve them in the vision and values of your organisation to ensure that everyone is aligned to a shared goal and ambition.
Workplace wellness strategies to enable a culture of positive mental and physical health and wellbeing. These could include initiatives such as:
  • Flexible working opportunities, options to adapt working hours and buy/sell annual leave.
  • Apps for employees such as HeadSpace, Daylight, Unmind, Liberate and Sleepio for meditation, help with sleep and mental health.
  • Guidance on good nutrition, vouchers/care packages sent to employees to support healthy diets.
  • Workshops and classes to improve physical and mental health such as yoga, physiotherapy, massages etc.
  • Put in place systems at work such as a buddy system to provide all employees with their own in-work support network so they have someone to talk to and check in with when they need to.

Now, with more employees continuing to work from home, employers need to adapt their wellbeing strategies to ensure wellbeing is still a priority for both parties.  With an agile workforce, all the above considerations can be applied on a remote basis too.

What are the 4 ways to wellbeing?

The 4 ways to wellbeing are categorised as physical, mental, social, and financial. These 4 areas can have a huge impact on your wellbeing both positively and negatively.

Physical Wellbeing

Ensuring you are physically active, take care of your nutrition and hydration, correct your posture, get enough sleep, take care of your body to ensure injury and illness prevention.

Mental Wellbeing

Prioritising your happiness, taking responsibility for your own well-being, taking care of your mental health, being aware of your mindset, controlling levels of stress and building on your own resilience.

Social Wellbeing

Making time for your family, friendships, and colleagues, feeling part of a community, giving and receiving support and allowing time to be social. Making a contribution to society.

Financial Wellbeing

Feeling confident in managing savings, mortgages, investments and debts, contributing to your pension, receiving financial support when needed, feeling comfortable about your own finances.

A diagram depicting Maslow's Hierarchy of needs which is shown as a pyramid.  From the top the layers read: Self-Actualisation, Esteem, Love/Belonging, Safety, Physiological.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,  which can be applied to all aspects of life, you can see that we as humans have needs that must be met to enable growth and happiness.

As an employer, you are responsible for many of these needs as outlined in Maslow’s model.

Physiological’ such as food, shelter, rest and warmth, is the employee’s responsibility when home working, but in an office environment, you are responsible for this as an employer.

Safety’ can include your Health and Safety policies, procedures, and risk assessments but also the financial security you are providing through salary and pensions. Where a wellbeing strategy supports this hierarchy is on the next need, ‘belonging’ where you can ensure that the working environment is inclusive, supportive, and positive to allow employees to feel a sense of belonging and morale.

Esteem’ is when you are successfully rewarding your staff through performance management, succession planning, valuing them and celebrating their successes.

Self-actualisation’ is reached when you have met the previous needs and supporting your workforce to achieve their development needs through training, coaching, mentoring, and allowing them further opportunities and creative freedom to deliver on their own ideas.