Workplace wellbeing is when your people are happy, healthy (physically and mentally) and motivated in the workplace. Everyone needs to find a sense of meaning in their work, feel like they belong and be nurturing strong mutual relationships to have true workplace wellbeing. Workplace wellbeing builds on the foundational pillars of physical health, a healthy environment and successful stress management—and helps to build a great employee experience.
It’s so fundamentally important, on both a moral and organisational level. So, to help you inspire a culture of wellbeing in your organisation, we’re going to outline some key workplace wellbeing initiatives you can implement to support physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing.
Why workplace wellbeing has a high ROI
Higher productivity and engagement
Let’s take Sarah from IT. She’s just been to a morning yoga class, had a healthy breakfast from the canteen, and enjoyed a cup of decaf before settling at her desk. She’s already checked off three items from her physical and mental health wellbeing list, so she’s feeling pretty good about things before she’s even started work. In fact, she’s feeling energised, engaged and wants to do her best. Long story short: wellbeing at work means your people are engaged and productive.
Reduction in absenteeism and turnover
It’s not unheard of for people to call in sick because the “Sunday scaries” have turned into full on dread. Or worse, work is actually making you ill so your sickness is legit. A focus on keeping your people well can only help to reduce the number of sick days they take. A robust wellbeing initiative, where your people are eating well, exercising, have meaning and interaction and are engaged in their work means a significant reduction in time off sick. There’s also the happy bonus of lower employee turnover, because people actually want to come to work!
Enhanced company reputation
Sarah is kind of smug because she’s one of those rare people who loves work. Her friends are green with envy and are clamouring for her to “put in a good word.” This is what it looks like to enjoy a fantastic reputation because you look after your people’s health and wellbeing. You’ll be attracting talent and customers left, right and centre because a) you’re an amazing organisation to work for and b) your customers feel good about spending with you because you treat your people well.
Types of workplace wellbeing initiatives
So what can you actually do to enhance workplace wellbeing amongst your team? Here are some of the top workplace wellbeing initiatives to make your organisation a truly wonderful place to work:
Physical health initiatives
Physical health is everything and we soon know about it if our back and hips are stiff from being squeezed into an office chair for eight hours. How can we combat that? Ergonomic workspaces. Standing desks, ergonomic chairs, back supports. And whatever else will help to make your workplace as comfortable and conducive to good physical health as possible.
Fitness programs or gym memberships
The results have been in for a long time: exercise considerably enhances physical and mental health. And what better way to contribute to workplace wellbeing than giving your people the chance to exercise? Consider offering a gym membership as part of your benefits package or teaming up with a local gym to offer a sizable discount. If that isn’t an option, how about implementing a team “take 10,000 steps-a-day challenge” and making it fun, with prizes like company wellbeing swag like water bottles or vouchers?
Healthy meals and snacks
Gone are the days of the vending machine full of chocolate and crisps at work. Now we’re all about organic fruit boxes and crudités and dips. Instead of cakes and cookies at meetings, have healthy, nutrient-dense alternatives. Get the canteen on the plan with excellent choices for midday meals, or fill the break room with snacks that are good news for everyone.
Mental and emotional health initiatives
Life (and work) can be stressful. One way to combat stress and enhance your people’s wellbeing is to offer stress-reduction workshops. Educate your team on stress and how to reduce it. When your team feels able to lessen their stress levels and cope with everything life throws at them, they’ll be able to better show up at work and do their job to the best of their ability.
Counselling services or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
When things get tough, sometimes all your people need is somebody to talk things through with. Offering your team members the chance to access counselling or Employee Assistance Programs can mean the difference between feeling alone, struggling and suffering in silence to being heard, valued and truly flourishing at work.
Mindfulness and meditation sessions
In our constantly-switched-on world, our brains are forever being filled up with bad news. Mindfulness and meditation offers the opportunity to literally transform your people’s lives by changing how they relate to their thoughts, feelings and the world around them. These kinds of sessions can give your people the opportunity to slow down and focus on the present, letting go of future worries or past events and learning a new way to relate to their inner and outer worlds.
Social wellbeing initiatives
What better way to build team rapport than pelting each other with paintballs? Joking aside, team-building activities are invaluable in bringing your people together and forging positive relationships. They also work well to reduce stress, give your people a break from their routine and even prevent conflict. There are countless team-building activities to choose from. Options include:
- An office quiz
- A team hike
- A volunteering day
- Board games tournament
Social events and celebrations
It turns out that genuine friendships between colleagues are pretty good contributing factors to workplace wellbeing. When your team members count each other as friends, they’re going to trust each other with new ideas, support each other emotionally, reduce each other’s stress and increase their productivity. It therefore makes perfect sense to encourage your people to mingle informally.
Peer mentoring programs
Another way to foster a culture of workplace wellbeing is to have a peer mentoring scheme. This is where two of your team members, at the same (or similar level) within your organisation, work together. One more-experienced colleague will offer guidance to the less-experienced, with the goal of supporting and helping the less-experienced team member to develop professionally. A peer mentor relationship is personal by nature and leads to increased trust, employee engagement and confidence at work. Therefore leading to greater workplace wellbeing. Result!
Financial wellbeing initiatives
Financial literacy workshops
Emotional wellbeing and financial wellbeing tend to go hand in hand. And most of us could do with a hand with our finances. Finances can be a tricky topic to navigate, so why not consider offering financial literacy workshops as part of your wellbeing strategy? Helping your people to manage their finances well can help to give them a sense of control and empowerment over their destiny. Far from dull, a financial literacy workshop presents the topic in a clear, engaging and non-confrontational way.
Retirement planning assistance
A lot of workplace wellbeing initiatives focus on the here and now – and with good reason. However, providing assistance for your team’s future retirement planning can go a long way into assuaging their concerns that they’ll have a decent quality of life after work. Pensions can be a tricky topic to navigate and sometimes people don’t know where to start. So give them the gift of retirement planning assistance and hear them breathe a collective sigh of relief that everything is taken care of.
Employee loan or aid programs
Life happens. And sometimes your people may find themselves in deep water. Offering employee loan or aid programs can really help your team members if they happen to find themselves in a tight spot. Knowing they have a safety net should they get into dire straits, can help massively to reduce any stress they find themselves in.
Barriers to implementing wellbeing initiatives
Unfortunately, workplace wellbeing initiatives don’t come without their challenges! Let’s cover the main obstacles:
Many of these initiatives cost money. And money is particularly tight these days thanks to ever-spiralling costs. You’ll have to carefully consider whether your budget allows you to invest in particular initiatives. If you’re heavily-constrained when it comes to budget, you may want to consider initiatives that are lower-cost or entirely free.
Resistance to change within the organisation
Sometimes it’s easier for people to stay set in their ways. The familiar is comfortable. Change is scary. And if your people, particularly your senior and line managers aren’t on board with your wellbeing initiatives, you’re going to have a hard time implementing it further down the line.
Lack of awareness or understanding about the benefits
Workplace wellbeing is everybody’s responsibility. Including and especially your team members. It’s all very well showering them in wellbeing initiatives but if they’re eating cornflakes for every meal and not moving from their desk for 7 hours straight, it’s time to dial down on the benefits (and responsibilities) of looking after themselves.
Wellbeing for your HR department
This whole wellbeing thing sounds pretty lovely. And it absolutely can be! When you carefully implement workplace wellbeing initiatives, you can expect to see your productivity, engagement and morale skyrocket.
- Customisable employee surveys
- 1:1 check-ins,
- Sentiment, happiness and eNPS analytics
- Real-time, continuous feedback
And find out how they can help you build a happy, healthy dream team.