These days, most workplaces have an employee wellbeing programme – for good reason. Workplace wellness initiatives affect where people choose to work. They can also be the reason they stay put.
Your staff wellbeing policy says a lot about your work environment. Done right, it shows that employees’ mental health is valued, as well as their physical health.
Here at Thrive we know wellbeing inside out. Because of the clients we work with, and through our own work culture, we know what makes for a healthy workplace. Whether you’re planning to set up your first workplace wellbeing programme, or want to add to what you offer, read on. Our ideas should work for any size of business, no matter the constraints or budget.
- Do good
Giving your employees paid time off to volunteer pays off. Research shows that volunteering for others, be that a beach clean or at a food bank, can boost our own health and mental wellbeing. And workplace volunteer programmes can also enhance employee engagement.
You could use your skills to support causes and non-profits on a pro bono basis, which is something we do at Thrive. We care about our purpose and want to work with others to help achieve it.
As well as really making a difference, your wider impact and values say a lot about your company. Practise what you preach and you’ll attract the top talent.
- Go beyond the 9-5
Social prescribing is used to address loneliness and other health problems. It’s been shown to enhance wellbeing. Why not riff on the concept in your workplace? Give staff the chance to kick back, reset and combat burnout.
Could you set up a mid-morning book club, knitting in a lunch break, desk yoga or a running club to promote physical activity? Would your team try mindfulness, a post-work choir, or taking time out to learn to play the ukulele?
But don’t encroach on downtime too much. Hybrid working means most of us spend some of our working week at home; it can be tough to down tools as it is.
- Create a culture of wellbeing
This is about making it clear that you value people at least as much as you value profit.
Offer chances for training and personal development. Staff will feel they matter to you. They’ll likely stay with you for longer, too.
Promote good work-life balance. Give employees an ample amount of leave. Trust people to do good work from home. Embrace remote working and flexible working. Working from home has a positive impact on staff retention rates. Plus, it lowers absenteeism and improves employee engagement.
Check that team members take time off in lieu, have sick days when they’re ill, and use every last bit of their leave. Line managers should lead by example on this.
Show respect at all levels. Applaud a job well done, and welcome ideas and input. Set up a ballot box in the office, or email round an anonymous survey. Ask staff what they’re happy with, what they’d like to change, and what else might help with their wellbeing. Hands down, it’s one of the best ways to engage staff.
- Prioritise your employees’ mental health
Studies show that employers benefit when they support mental health at work. According to Mind, six in 10 say they’d be more likely to recommend their organisation as a place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.
Someone should be on hand to listen if an employee wants to talk about mental health issues. Train some mental health first aiders or wellbeing ambassadors. Set up a wellbeing team to plan, and plug, workplace wellbeing initiatives too. Give them a budget and a solid brief. They could fund some days out, buy gifts and invite guest speakers. This year at Thrive we’ve had people in to talk about sleeping better, keeping our fitness goals, financial wellbeing, and mindfully making a cup of tea!
Our staff have access to online tools to help them manage their mental wellbeing. Offer your employees quality health and wellbeing info. Like us, you might have access to something specific to your industry. And platforms such as Everymind and SilverCloud Health focus on the mental health aspects of wellbeing in the workplace more widely.
- Promote healthy choices
Make it easy for your staff to stay well. Be sure to promote healthy habits. You could buy fruit for those in the office or offer to pay for yearly flu jabs. Or you might feel you can offer interest-free loans to help with money worries.
If your budget can stretch, you can even pay someone to provide perks that help with overall health. Perk providers give money off wellbeing activities like mindfulness sessions and gym memberships, send healthy snacks or vouchers to staff to promote healthy eating, and even pay for entry to wellbeing events. But don’t do this just to tick boxes. Think about your employee wellbeing aims and align your perks with those.
Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to shake up your staff wellbeing toolkit. If you’re still unsure where to start, Investors in People’s wellbeing calculator looks at the impact employee wellbeing is having on your organisation right now.
Rachel is Editorial Production Manager at Thrive. She is responsible for coordinating projects as well as editing and delivering engaging health content.
If you want to talk to us about how we can help with your workplace wellbeing programme, please get in touch, here.