In today’s context, it is more crucial than ever to make employee wellbeing a top priority in your business strategy. While work can sometimes have adverse effects on mental health, it can also contribute positively. A supportive and inclusive workplace can both prevent new mental health issues and assist those dealing with them, allowing them to flourish at work.
Adopting a proactive and preventive approach to workplace wellbeing offers several advantages, including:
- Increased staff commitment and productivity.
- Improved staff retention rates.
- Reduced sick leave and absenteeism.
- A more resilient workforce.
- An enhanced reputation.
As remote work blurs the boundaries between professional and personal life, business leaders should prioritize the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. During the pandemic, Health & Safety and HR functions have become closely intertwined. Effective communication and implementation of Covid-safe measures have been essential for remote and returning employees to feel confident in their roles. Feeling secure at work is crucial for overall employee wellbeing, satisfaction, and reducing individual grievances. You can find guidance on workplace safety from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Employee wellbeing now encompasses more than just physical health; it also emphasizes creating a culture of holistic wellbeing that includes physical, emotional, financial, social, career, community, and purpose aspects. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has identified seven key domains of employee wellbeing as part of their “Growing the Health and Wellbeing Agenda”:
- Physical health, including health promotion, rehabilitation practices, health checks, and wellbeing benefits.
- Physical safety, encompassing safe working practices, equipment, and personal safety training.
- Mental health, addressing stress management, risk assessments, conflict resolution training, and support for mental health issues.
- Good Work:
- A conducive working environment with ergonomic design and an open, inclusive culture.
- Effective people management policies and training for line managers, including sickness absence management.
- Job design, roles, quality, workload, job satisfaction, and work-life balance.
- Autonomy, offering control, innovation, and whistleblowing opportunities.
- Change management involving effective communication, involvement, and leadership.
- Fair and transparent pay and reward practices, as well as non-financial recognition.
- Values-based leadership, clear mission and objectives, health and wellbeing strategy, corporate governance, and trust-building.
- Ethical standards, such as dignity at work, corporate social responsibility, community investment, and volunteering.
- Inclusion and diversity, emphasizing the value of differences and cultural engagement.
- Employee voice through communication, consultation, genuine dialogue, and involvement in decision-making.
- Cultivating positive relationships through management style, teamworking, and respectful interactions.
- Personal Growth:
- Career development opportunities through mentoring, coaching, performance management, and skills utilization.
- Emotional wellbeing support, including personal resilience training and financial wellbeing.
- Lifelong learning, with access to training, mid-career reviews, technical and vocational learning, and fostering creativity.
- Good Lifestyle Choices:
- Promoting physical activity with initiatives like walking clubs and lunchtime yoga.
- Encouraging healthy eating through recipe clubs and healthy menu options.
- Financial Wellbeing:
- Ensuring fair pay and benefit policies, including rates above the statutory National Minimum/Living Wage and flexible benefits schemes.
- Providing retirement planning options, such as phased retirement and pre-retirement courses.
- Offering employee financial support, such as debt counseling and access to independent financial advisers.
Employees now seek companies whose values align with their own, making it a crucial criterion when choosing employers. Britain’s employers are grappling with the most significant staff shortages since the late 1990s due to the rush to reopen post-lockdown and a decline in overseas workers due to Covid and Brexit. The pandemic has shifted the focus from solely organizational issues to individuals’ life experiences, giving employers a deeper understanding of their employees’ struggles. Business leaders now view wellbeing not only as an employee benefit but also as an opportunity to support employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives.