Employee wellbeing has become bit of a buzz word in recent years, moving from being something that the Google and Apples of the world do, to something that has made it’s way to the agenda of many smaller organisations. But what is it and how can you implement a wellbeing strategy into your workplace? We spoke to Nisha Gera of wellbeing specialists Joyful Living for some advice.
Is wellbeing at work is high up on your list of priorities? From improving motivation and productivity to helping to reduce attrition employee wellbeing initiatives can have a positive impact for businesses both large and small. This has seen them grow in popularity and move up the board room agenda in the past few years.
But what is wellbeing at work and how can you begin to implement it into your organisation?
Wellbeing initiatives can come in many shapes and sizes from simple one-day courses on a range of subjects to more detailed week-long or ongoing programmes.
Single subject courses
These are the most basic of well being initiatives and can cover a variety of subjects in a single lesson/course. These range from nutrition, stress management, posture awareness to the more interesting and fun focused, laughter yoga.
These single subject programmes allow you to tailor your efforts to the needs of your organisation and employees. For example, posture and stress management are more suited for those with high pressure office based roles, whereas nutrition would help those field based sales people who eat on the go every day. They also allow businesses with a smaller budget to access help for their staff. For those who need to gain management buy-in before committing to any long-term activity, these starter sessions allow you to sample and monitor the impact before making any further investment.
Wellbeing is a relatively new concept within the business world, often a good way to kick start a corporate wellbeing program and to focus attention of both leadership and employees is to run a week/month long programme. For example, holding daily sessions that staff can book, having health professionals available to speak too, supplying healthy breakfasts, snacks or lunches.
Ongoing employee wellbeing programs go beyond simply offering sessions on how to improve posture or stress. By investing in a long-term wellbeing strategy, you, as an organisation, are investing time and effort into your employees’ mental and physical health. This can start with monthly or weekly desk based massages for example, but it needed end there, as discussed in this article by the Guardian one PR firm is going further… ‘Initiatives range from offering pedal points – five minutes additional holiday for every return journey walked or cycled to work – to free breakfasts, sabbaticals for staff with over five year’s service, and flexi-time hours and flexible working conditions.
In the past two years, the company has introduced a range of mental health initiatives, spanning mindfulness, pilates and resilience training on how to manage stress and busy workloads. It also runs regular updates for employees on mental health policy and employee counselling services.’
QVC UK is another example of an organisation putting wellbeing at work into practice. As well as offering flexible working, massages during breaks, two on-site beauticians and a local market, the company has launched its first employee allotment – giving staff the chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables. “Not only do they benefit mentally and physically from gardening, but they will also help local charities with donations and profits,” says a spokeswoman.
Whether you’re an SME or a multinational investing in the wellbeing of your employees will have a positive impact on your business. As the examples above show it doesn’t need to be a costly exercise, implementing an element of flexibility to the working day, monthly desk-based office massage or running a bi-annual stress management workshop are all relatively low-cost ways that you can put wellbeing at work quickly into practice.