World Wellbeing Week 2023 – How to support employees

Lizzie Buxton

Written By Lizzie Buxton

28th June 2023

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World Wellbeing Week in June gives us the opportunity to ensure that we are doing all we can to promote positive wellbeing for ourselves and those around us.

At AdviserPlus, we truly believe that when employees thrive, it benefits not only individuals but also organisations, economies, and communities as a whole. Supporting wellbeing in the workplace is about creating an environment that actively fosters contentment, benefiting both employees and the organisation. After all, healthy workplaces are where people can truly flourish and realise their full potential.

Investing in employee wellbeing pays off in numerous ways:

  • It boosts resilience,
  • It increases employee engagement,
  • It reduces sickness absences,
  • It leads to higher performance and productivity.

However, the potential of wellbeing initiatives often goes untapped because they tend to exist in isolation from day-to-day business operations. To truly reap the rewards, it’s crucial to integrate employee wellbeing into every aspect of an organisation: its culture, leadership, and people management.

So, how can your organisation, protect its employee’s wellbeing?

  1. Implement policies and practises that are supportive of wellbeing

An organisation-wide mental health strategy is a crucial component that should be implemented in your organisation. Establishing clear policies that actively promote the overall wellbeing of all staff members, address the root causes of work-related mental health issues, and provide adequate support to employees is imperative for your workforce. To go alongside this, integrating mental health considerations into these various policies such as health and safety, working time regulations, sickness absence protocols, and return-to-work procedures is of utmost importance too.

When ensuring policies are created with wellbeing in mind, it’s key to remember the policies pertaining to:

  • Performance management,
  • Disciplinary actions,
  • Recruitment processes,
  • Change management.

Redundancy is also important to consider and policies should be designed to acknowledge and accommodate the potential impact these procedures can have on the mental wellbeing of employees.

Not only is it essential for policies concerning performance management and disciplinary actions to recognise the effects they may have, but also that an employee’s performance or behaviour may be influenced by their mental health condition. Before initiating any formal actions, the exploration and consideration should be completed to find the most suitable support mechanisms and adjustments.

It is essential to ensure that staff members are directed to appropriate support resources and are informed about the availability of advocates who can assist them.

  1. Regular one-to-one meetings with colleagues

Enquiring with individuals about their preferences for one-on-one meetings and emphasising that they have the freedom to request a meeting outside the regular schedule ensures that they feel comfortable discussing their emotions and anything sensitive to them, regardless of the urgency.

Regular one-to-one meetings offer significant advantages for employers, employees, and the overall productivity of the organisation as they:

  • Enhance employee engagement and foster mutual trust,
  • Identify potential issues at an early stage, allowing employees to receive the necessary support,
  • Ensure continuous monitoring of staff well-being throughout the organisation.

Employers can provide assistance by:

  • Encouraging managers to have regular conversations with their staff members regarding their wellbeing, while exploring any factors that may impact their mental health,
  • Incorporating questions about mental wellbeing and stress into performance appraisals and supervision procedures, while granting employees the opportunity to discuss both work-related and personal concerns, if desired,
  • Maintaining regular and transparent lines of communication with all staff members, especially those working in isolation. This can be achieved through monthly team meetings or frequent phone catchups.
  1. Employee wellness surveys

Surveys are an essential tool for assessing various aspects of employee wellbeing by utilising a comprehensive range of carefully crafted questions which is a proactive approach to addressing underlying issues.

By actively encouraging employees to reflect on their physical and mental health, as well as the support provided by the company, these surveys create a platform for open and honest discussions. Regular check-ins through monthly wellbeing surveys further reinforce the organisation’s commitment to prioritise employees’ wellbeing.

By diligently collecting and analysing data from these surveys, employers gain valuable insights that empower them to develop evidence-based wellness strategies tailored to the specific needs of employees. This proactive approach ensures that the organisation’s initiatives align effectively with the wellbeing goals of its workforce.

  1. Promote physical wellness

Physical activity is essential for good health and contributes to positive wellbeing and overall physical wellbeing encompasses more than just exercise, it encompasses a holistic approach to a balanced state of body and mind. It involves making lifestyle choices that promote health, prevent avoidable illnesses and conditions, and foster overall wellbeing.

In today’s increasingly sedentary office culture, there is a genuine concern for the physical health and wellbeing of employees. Combine this with the prevalence of urban environments, and the risk of health issues among your workforce becomes significant.

By encouraging activities that promote physical wellbeing, you can actively contribute to the health and vitality of your employees. This, in turn, leads to increased engagement and decreased absenteeism. Let us assist you in achieving these goals and although not directly associated to the workplace, many things that employers can do to encourage employees to prioritise their physical health, including:

  • Providing gym membership discounts to encourage employees to exercise with less of a financial burden,
  • Offer access to digital healthcare where possible. This has the potential to significantly decrease both absenteeism from attending traditional GP appointments and presenteeism caused by delayed medical consultations,
  • If food and snacks are readily available for employees in the office, try to swap them out for healthier options to keep up energy levels, cognitive function and motivation,
  • Introduce standing desks to the office for employees who need to stretch their legs, sitting down all day can be detrimental to energy levels.
  1. Implement support and signpost to external support if required

It is crucial to inform individuals about additional support options within the company or through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if they feel more comfortable discussing their issues with someone other than their immediate supervisor. However, Mental Health First Aiders play a vital role in today’s workforce by offering primary support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or facing deteriorating mental wellbeing.

Our training in Mental Health First Aid equips managers with the necessary knowledge and skills to be the initial source of assistance for employees. Considering the Mental Health First Aid bill currently being processed in Parliament organisations must proactively stay ahead and prepare for the upcoming changes.

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AdviserPlus offer various services to help organisations support wellbeing in the workplace. Get in touch for a free consultation to find out more.

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