By Jo Hodge on 12 May 2017
The Mental Health Foundation’s report identified that 86% of respondents believed their job and being at work was important to protecting and maintaining their mental health. Employers have the potential to improve the wellbeing of their staff, everyone is different and should be treated as individuals. Here we give our 4 top tips for supporting employee’s wellbeing when at work.
Talk to your staff
Employees want to feel valued, needed and respected in their workplace. People are busy and technology has unintentionally lulled many people from communicating at a personal level on a regular basis. Instead of sending an email, we would advise you to pick up the phone, arrange a meeting, or go out for lunch. Take an interest in your staff on a personal level, how was their evening or weekend? Give staff a voice, staff that are included in decision-making and feel valued, can make a positive difference to their wellbeing.
By communicating regularly you are more likely to spot when staff may be stressed or spot any stress triggers from outside of work. Small individual changes can make a big difference to stress, such as:
- Flexible working – offer differing working patterns. For example, some individuals are early birds and work better in the morning, so where possible, let them work earlier.
- Look at how certain tasks can be split in a team, especially tasks with a high degree of autonomy.
Feedback to staff verbally when they have done a good job, this could be to them individually or to the whole team. Everyone likes to be thanked for a job well done!
Encourage staff to be active and healthy
We all know physical activity is good for us, it can also lower depression and anxiety. Many jobs don’t allow for us to get active throughout the day, so think about ways of encouraging this, they don’t all have to cost money to your organisation.
- Lunchtime running/ walking clubs. Going out with others often motivates people to join in
- Benefits scheme that includes corporate gym membership discounts
- Free fruit for staff
- Encourage staff to take a full hour for lunch to get out of the office & eat properly
- Social sporting clubs – create a football/netball team and participate in local tournaments
- Encourage staff to use the stairs
- Walking meetings – We have recently trialled this with some teams here at TPP and had some fantastic feedback, ‘less distracted and feeling energized now back in the office. It was way more engaging and interesting.’ It is now becoming a regular walking meeting for our informal team meetings.
Employees want and benefit from a clear career path and from using and developing their skills and so does the employer. Learning new skills has been associated with higher levels of wellbeing, so set goals regularly and offer training on and off the job as required. Goals do not have to be work related, they could be personal goals, such as reading more, signing up for a class to meet new people. You can encourage this by giving staff time off for volunteering or flexible lunches to attend classes.
Make a commitment to staff wellbeing
Having a healthy workforce can boost productivity, lower staff turnover and reduce staff absence, so a long term commitment to staff wellbeing can only be good. The Workplace Wellbeing Charter offer guidance on this. Many employees also have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP.) An EAP can help employees deal with personal problems that might impact their work performance, health and well-being.
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*Disclaimer: we are neither health professionals nor doctors. Our tips are solely suggestions for improving wellbeing in the workplace.