An average person works around 90,000 hours over a lifetime, that’s 1/3 of life dedicated to just work. If you’re a teacher or in the medical profession, that number increases significantly. So the average person spends more of their time working for an employer then they do with family, friends, loved ones and perhaps more importantly themselves.
Also, over 70% of employees in the UK rely on credit cards and loans between paydays, adding to the ever-increasing financial crisis on top of all the pressures of work and life.
Hence prioritising employee wellbeing and work-life balance is essential for creating a supportive environment that fosters the physical, emotional, and mental health in the workplace.
Having an environment that champions well-being and work-life balance is bound to achieve an improved employee morale, increased productivity, lower turnover rates and decreased sickness rates. Ultimately, resulting in a happy workforce and improved staff performance.
Below are a few steps that can help implement wellbeing initiatives. Of course, it’s not a one size fits all and every situation can be different but still an overview and perhaps a plan to build on.
– Let staff know how important they are to the success and achievement of the organisation. We tend to thank the doctor who saved our life but forget the emergency call operator who deployed the ambulance, and the paramedic who drove us to the hospital just in time, and the nurse who got us admitted into the ward, ready for the doctor to carry out the procedure. Without any one of these valuable people a life could have been lost. Gratitude and appreciation for every person involved, not just those at the top or those in the public eye, should be the first step.
– Assess the current state of wellbeing in the workplace by conducting surveys or focus groups to identify the key challenges facing employees.
– Develop a Strategy that addresses the challenges identified in the assessment. The strategy should include initiatives that focus on physical, emotional, and mental health.
– Communicate the research and data gathered, the strategy and the plan of action to employees, highlighting the initiatives that will be implemented and the benefits they will bring.
– Implement the Initiatives outlined in the wellbeing strategy. A successful programme needs to be holistic, although every issue cannot always be addressed, the aim should be to at least tackle the major and most common problems. Initiatives may include wellness programs, mental health support, flexible work arrangements, confidential counselling, sessions to manage and process thoughts and anxiety, healthy snacks, team competitions and other such initiatives that support employee wellbeing and relieve pressures.
– Monitor and evaluate the wellbeing initiatives implemented to determine their effectiveness. This can be done through employee feedback, surveys, and other metrics.
– Feedback is extremely important, no point coming up with revolutionary ideas and schemes if it doesn’t have a positive impact on the very people you’re doing it for. Continuously grow and adapt the program according to constructive feedback.
– Benchmarking and liaising with those that have managed to get it right can be invaluable. Always good to look at strategies put in place by companies that have been voted “Best Workplaces for Wellbeing” such as CISCO, DHL, Hilton and many others.
– Last but not least, Recognise and Reward schemes. As mentioned above it is very important to acknowledge your workforce not based on position but based on dedication, achievement and value. Reward doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, a free lunch, a certificate, a free gym pass, a round of applause, a shout out on the company website, a mention on the newsletter or if you’re really daring how about a day off whilst ChatGPT does the work.
Continuous learning, exploring, and implementing of new strategies to enhance wellbeing is one of the best investments that can be made. Even if the progress is small, it’s still good progress and worthwhile, especially in the long term.