Seven reasons why wellbeing is important in the workplace
Wellbeing is a topic that is increasingly being taken seriously by workplaces across the UK. In 2016, fewer than a third of businesses had their own wellbeing strategy – a number that had jumped to 45% by the following year. It won’t be long until those without such a strategy will stand out as the exception.
But businesses shouldn’t just look to jump on the bandwagon because it’s becoming fashionable. There are some genuinely useful benefits to be had for employers and employees alike from considering wellbeing in the workplace.
Here’s what it’ll bring for your business:
If you have a wellbeing strategy at the heart of what you do, it’ll force you take a positive, proactive approach to the topic. It’ll also cause you to give the necessary focus on the people who play a key role in understanding your workforce – the line managers. Ask your line managers to actively ask about how their team members feel with a view to addressing smaller matters before they snowball. If they struggle to know or understand how their team feels, then that’s a good sign that they need training. Line manager training can have many great workplace benefits and wellbeing is just one of them. Check out our Aldermore Bank webinar to find out more about what this can do for you.
An effective wellbeing strategy should focus on the mental and physical health of your employees and the role you can play in boosting (and not harming) this. Personnel Today, for example, reported on a survey of 25,000 health workers that found smokers are twice as likely to take time off work and a Transport for London study that demonstrated the link between obesity and sickness. If your workers are healthier they’re more likely to be able to do their job to their best of their ability.
While you shouldn’t impinge on someone’s private life, a good wellbeing strategy is able to assist employees in having a healthy life. You might wish to provide fresh fruit for healthy snacks, encourage a lunchtime fitness session or pre-work yoga, bring in outside experts to assist those looking to quit smoking or even offer flu jabs to avoid winter virus outbreaks. The important thing to emphasise is that this is not just about being a caring employer – it brings benefits to the bottom line through greater business performance and productivity.
The topic of mental health is now much less of a taboo. Mental health issues are commonplace – one in four people suffer from one at some point – and these require careful handling. Employers that work hard on wellbeing will be able to identify mental health issues – and avoid exacerbating them through a stressful and negative environment. Through doing your bit to spot and sort mental health issues, you’ll be able to improve a problem that accounts for about 13% of all absences.
We’ve already touched on this above, but it’s worth emphasising the fact that a focus on wellbeing can reduce absence levels. This starts from creating a positive working environment – including clean, hygienic surrounds and an atmosphere without undue stress or pressure. In The Absenteeism Report 2018 we reported the results of a survey of HR professionals which revealed that 64% of people feel the workplace environment can ‘substantially’ contribute to sickness levels and only 2% of respondents thought it had no impact at all. A good wellbeing strategy is key to creating a healthy, happy and harmonious environment that detracts rather than adds to absence levels.
The greater the morale and happiness of your workforce, the greater the productivity. It’s a fact that academics have been increasingly exploring in recent years – and should prove to businesses that hard-headed financial rationale behind the need to think carefully about this. Through wellbeing measures, you’re able to show you care about your employees and introduce small measures that make work that bit more palatable (or at least avoid it being negative).
Wellbeing isn’t just important in terms of the employees you have – it can also help to attract new workers. The modern generation of workers is looking for more than just a job and a pay packet – they’re looking for fulfillment. They want an employer who cares about their staff and has a wellbeing strategy in place to look after them. By ignoring wellbeing, businesses risk not being able to attract the best candidates to their organisation and missing out on people who can really boost performance.
Wellbeing isn’t just important when it comes to attracting talent – it’s also important for keeping your talented employees. Recruitment can be a long, expensive and destabilising process – especially when it’s for a senior or specialist position. The right wellbeing policy is crucial when it comes to looking after your employees – and avoiding driving them away to the clutches of a rival.
Conclusion: Productivity is key
All of the seven points above essentially lead us to the same overall conclusion – that wellbeing is key to understanding and getting the most from your employees. The ultimate outcome from this work is not just happy and healthy people (although that’s clearly a nice byproduct) but also greater productivity and enhanced business performance, through increased attendance, reduced illness and improved morale and outlook.
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