It's too often that we hear about businesses struggling with disengaged employees or sky-high turnover rates. But what about the companies that rewrite the narrative, turning the workplace into a hub of energy and innovation? These are the enterprises that understand the value of investing in health and wellbeing — far beyond ticking a corporate social responsibility box. Let’s not forget that poor mental health alone bleeds U.K. businesses of a staggering £56 billion each year.
So if you're looking to protect not just your bottom line but also the job satisfaction and wellbeing of your human capital, you're in the right place. First, let’s go over the basics.
What Is Workplace Health and Wellbeing?
Workplace health and wellbeing is the comprehensive effort by employers to ensure that employees are not just physically healthy but also engaged, satisfied and secure on various fronts. At its core, this framework focuses on these five essential aspects:
1. Financial wellbeing
Moving past the paycheck, financial wellbeing includes elements like retirement planning, debt management and financial literacy education. For instance, some companies offer workshops that tackle budgeting, navigating mortgage payments and managing investments.
2. Social support
When going through a tough time, it’s crucial for people not to feel alone. Consider implementing mentorship programs or affinity groups, where employees can discuss challenges, share opportunities and offer guidance in a more relaxed setting.
3. Mental health
Robust employee assistance programs that offer counselling services, stress management courses and flexible schedules can make a world of difference in making employees feel supported. Some companies have even brought in experts to teach mindfulness and stress management techniques during the workday.
4. Lifestyle choices
How about adding a gym in the office or offering yoga classes twice a week? If that’s beyond your means, what about partnering with a gym nearby to offer employee discounts or inviting a guest to discuss healthy eating? Encouraging better lifestyle choices has a direct correlation with reduced sickness absence and increased productivity.
5. Personal development
They might be skilled at the job at hand, but are you also preparing employees for the road ahead? Leadership courses, soft skills workshops and tuition reimbursement for courses can give employees tools that are beneficial both in and outside of work.
Why Does Employee Health and Wellbeing Matter?
Employee health and wellbeing matters, it’s a given — but why should it matter to you? Well, let's get something straight: Your company is only as good as the people who clock in every day. And those people are spending at least one-third of their waking lives working. With stakes that high, it's a business necessity to foster a work environment that prioritizes health and wellbeing. Now, let’s break this down into critical components:
- A duty of care
When we talk about a "duty of care," we're addressing an ethical and legal responsibility that companies hold towards their employees. This is about ensuring physical safety and psychological wellbeing as well as creating an environment that supports overall health. Ignoring this duty can manifest in increased illness-related absences and even legal ramifications. What’s more, 51% of organizations taking this approach see results not only at an individual level but organizationally as well.
- Reducing illness-related absence
Employee absences can definitely be an operational nightmare. Think about it — a single absent employee can set back an entire project, and the ripple effect can be far-reaching. Recently, mental health has been the main cause of long-term absence in workplaces. Here's where your commitment to employee wellbeing directly impacts your bottom line. The truth is a proactive mental health policy doesn't just keep your employees happy; it keeps them at their desks, contributing to your goals.
- Decreasing staff turnover
Staff turnover can be a significant expense. Recruitment costs, training periods and the loss of institutional knowledge all add up. In fact, the average employee costs small and medium enterprises upwards of £12,000 to replace. But when employees feel cared for, they stick around — 60% of employees feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing. That's over half of your workforce potentially serving as brand ambassadors, just because you showed a little care.
- Meeting employee expectations
We're in an age where employees look for more than a job that helps them pay the bills. they're looking for a culture. Meeting employee demands and expectations is essential for survival in a competitive labor market. The stats speak for themselves: 67% of employers have ranked positive employee behaviors as a top outcome of their workplace wellbeing programs. This, of course, translates into higher quality service and enhanced productivity.
- Boosting motivation
Well, if staff turnover didn't grab your attention, maybe motivation will. A motivated employee is like gold dust — rare, valuable and remarkably effective. A common misconception is that boosting motivation is just handing out bonuses, but what about every other day of the year? Boosting motivation should be an ongoing effort where you’re fostering a workplace where people want to be. Here, wellbeing plays a vital role. You know what we say, happy employees are productive employees.
- Addressing remote employees
Love it or hate it, there’s a prevalent flexible working culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the wellbeing of remote employees is more relevant than ever. When an employee logs off for the day, do they feel isolated, or part of a team? Remember to adapt your wellbeing initiatives to include remote workers.
- Leveraging data-driven Insights for customized wellbeing programs
Too often, employee wellbeing programs can feel like one-size-fits-all solutions, leaving the unique needs of individuals unaddressed. This is where data-driven insights come into play. By collecting data from employee feedback and analyzing trends within your organization, you can design programs that hit the mark. That way, you'd be employing a targeted strategy that's likely to yield better employee engagement and outcomes.
How Employers Can Support Health and Wellbeing?
The power of employee wellness cannot be understated. When people feel supported in their professional environment, the benefits cascade through every aspect of the business — from heightened productivity to increased retention rates. So how can employers take proactive steps to make wellness a part of the company DNA?
- Gather data to make informed decisions: Take the guesswork out of the equation. Use employee surveys, one-on-one interviews or suggestion boxes to get direct feedback from your team. This will help you pinpoint what's actually needed, for instance, more ergonomic office furniture or mental health days.
- Develop a positive culture: Work on nurturing a work environment where employees feel valued, heard and supported. Have team-building activities but maybe try offering charity days as paid leave opportunities. Also, don’t forget that effective and transparent communication is vital. Make it known that suggestions are welcomed and can be discussed openly without any fear of repercussions.
- Spread the word: After setting up supportive programs, don't let them sit in the dark. Regularly update your employees about the availability and benefits of these programs. Use multiple channels like company newsletters, updates through your employee communication platform or team meetings to ensure the message resonates with everyone.
- Support a healthy work-life balance: Work should never consume one's life. Create a culture that actively encourages employees to make full use of their entitled leave and discourages a culture of "office heroics" where people feel pressured to work beyond their capacity — including during their lunch breaks!
- Introduce mental health resources: Normalizing mental health discussions and conducting helpful activities is a must and shouldn’t be taboo. Consider introducing a wellbeing hour or partnering with mental health organizations for workshops and seminars.
- Encourage physical wellness: Provide options for physical activity, whether it's discounted gym memberships like we mentioned earlier or setting up a small workout space within the office.
- Invest in continuous learning: Skill stagnation can lead to job dissatisfaction. Provide learning opportunities through in-house training or subsidized courses to keep your employees engaged and on a path of continuous improvement.
Types of Wellbeing Programs
Of course, when we talk about workplace wellness, there are many different perspectives at stake. What motivates one employee might leave another unmoved. That's why a diverse range of wellbeing programs is crucial for touching all the bases. Here's a look at a spectrum of programs that can help you reach that golden objective: A healthy, engaged workforce.
Cycling schemes and gym memberships
Roll out a cycling scheme to not only endorse a sustainable mode of transport but also elevate employee health. If you're in the U.K., consider participating in the Cycle to Work Scheme. This government initiative allows employees to get bikes and cycling equipment tax-free, making it a win-win for both you and your team. If this isn’t possible for you, why not start an employee cycling group? This could be a good opportunity for bonding and to motivate each other.
Change begins with knowledge. Offer workshops that are interactive experiences. For example, in a workshop on healthy eating, have a nutritionist break down a typical fast-food meal and contrast it with a balanced diet. Then, take it to the next level by providing a cooking demo showing how to prepare a quick, nutritious meal. The benefits extend from improved mental clarity to better physical health. Similarly, a workshop about sleep's impact could involve an expert explaining the science behind circadian rhythms and providing a toolkit to optimise sleep patterns.
Life's ups and downs don't wait for us to clock out. Offering professional counselling services can be a crucial emotional outlet for employees dealing with personal challenges. Whether it's a family crisis, a health issue or any personal matter, knowing there's a confidential, non-judgmental space to discuss these things can be hugely impactful.
Adding to that, during stressful times at work, there are right and wrong ways to apply pressure on employees. Ensure your team always has access to hydration and create an environment that’s supportive and collaborative.
Line management training
No employee operates in isolation; everyone reports to someone. By enabling line managers with comprehensive training programs, you're laying a foundation for proactive employee support. For instance, training can include role-playing exercises to help managers understand how to approach sensitive topics like mental health or performance issues.
When discussing employee wellness, it's easy to focus on physical and mental health while sidelining another key element: financial wellbeing. It's startlingly the most neglected area in most corporate wellness initiatives, yet financial stress can be a root cause for various health issues and decreased productivity. A solid financial wellbeing program could include seminars on effective budgeting, debt management or understanding investments and retirement plans. Some companies even offer tools for monitoring spending habits and saving goals.
- To sum it all up: By implementing these support programs, you actively contribute to an environment that retains valuable talent. Each step you take is a brick in the strong foundation of your company’s future.
Wellics: Your All-Encompassing Wellness Solution
Wellics reshapes the wellness landscape. Your employees get a personalized dashboard filled with tailored advice designed to meet their specific wellness needs. We educate through a range of video modules on everything from mental health to nutrition.
And what's a modern wellness program without tech? Wellics syncs with wearable devices for real-time data, making our wellness strategies as dynamic as your day-to-day business. For you, the employer, this means a dashboard ripe with analytics, allowing you to focus on what metrics matter to your company’s unique culture and objectives. Instead of offering generalized tips that gather digital dust, we deliver tailored, structured micro-coaching that employees actually use.