Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

7 Top Tips for Wellness at Work

Never before has such focus been placed on the wellbeing of employees.

Chronic absenteeism causes significant loss to employers and the pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues and other underlying conditions amongst the UK's workforce.

The blurring of lines between home and work means that employees feel more "switched on" than ever and can struggle to leave work behind.

The CIPD 2020 Wellbeing at Work Survey identified three top benefits to employers coming from increasing focus on employee wellbeing:

  • better employee morale and engagement;
  • a healthier and more inclusive culture;
  • lower sickness absence.

It is crucial to understand though that the term wellbeing in the modern workplace means much more than physical and mental health. It extends to financial wellbeing and social wellbeing.

Your organisation may already have an established programme or may be just starting out on this journey. Here we present 7 top tips that can be used as part of your wellness at work programme.

Getting Started

Before we get into the 7 top tips, a word of caution.

Wellbeing programmes cannot be seen as "HR" initiatives. They need buy-in from senior management and all members of the leadership team should demonstrate appropriate behaviours and ensure that they acknowledge and empower employees to do the same.

No programme will be successful if leaders are not seen to practice what they preach.

1. Manage Down Your Meetings

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Yes, some meetings are unavoidable and in some cases are a preferable alternative to the 32-long email chain.

But, do they all have an agenda? Do they have a structure and a defined outcome? Are they padded at the start and end with 10 minutes of talking around the topic?

Take a critical look at your calendar and ask do I need to attend these meetings and for those I do need to attend, is it clear what I and others will be getting from them? Zoom, Skype, Teams, Hangouts etc. have only worsened the feeling of being trapped in an interminable meeting.

2. Get Competitive

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Some friendly competition might be just the thing to tick the box on both physical and social wellbeing.

Create an internal challenge to see who can do the most steps, miles, kilometres, hours or whatever works for your organisation. Make sure that the rules are inclusive so don't specify "run/bike" only - include time spent doing yoga or meditating as these are all ways in which your employees can decompress from work.

Using an app like Strava means you can create a group to track each others' progress and cheer each other along. Kudos!

3. Stop Clock Watching

Photo by Ocean Ng on Unsplash

Whilst it's true that increased working from home has blurred the home/work divide, it is also true that it has increased flexibility.

The ability to seamlessly blend work and home (mainly thanks to the absence of the commute) has meant that it's easier than ever to deal with personal tasks at a time convenient to the employee.

Whilst the overall question of productivity is complex, allowing employees the freedom to flex their working hours to accommodate family life and their preferred working style will contribute to mental wellbeing.

4. Keep The (Virtual) Commute

Photo by Sarthak Chauhan on Unsplash

Although the 30-second commute has vastly contributed to employees' home lives, it does come with its pitfalls.

Context-switching is notoriously hard. And as appealing as it may be to grab the coffee and sit straight down to work, it might mean you haven't quite disengaged from the morning routine.

Taking 5 or 10 minutes to walk around the block or do some meditation will create a natural barrier between home and work and allow you to better prepare for "work mode".

5. Make the Most of Technology

Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

Many of the pieces of technology now in use in the workplace can contribute to wellbeing and acting in a way that promotes wellbeing.

Gmail from Google Workspace offers a "Schedule Send" feature where you can delay sending your email until a certain date and time. Perfect for when you're doing late night emails but don't want to create an expectation of reply. Similarly, Google Calendar allows you to clearly mark available and non-available times and meetings booked when you are not available will be declined.

Using software that allows employees to fully use their time off also contributes to a culture where being absent from work is seen as positively contributing to wellbeing in the workplace.

6. Create the Right Tone at the Top

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

We mentioned earlier that leaders in your company need to walk-the-walk.

When it comes to issues of mental wellbeing, many employees feel unable to speak about it. Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates that approximately 25% of adult Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.

It takes leaders in companies to be vulnerable and discuss their own personal challenges before employees will feel comfortable doing so.

7. Don't Stop

Photo by Debashis RC Biswas on Unsplash

Culture is defined and established by a set of behaviours consistently demonstrated over time.

The risk with a wellbeing programme is that it is seen as an "initiative". That it will be set up and then it's done.

If it is approached like this then it will not work. It has to be ingrained in the culture and this only happens if all employees are joined in acting in accordance with the principles of your programme.

If leaders do not book last minute meetings with no agendas and make it clear that they won't attend such meetings then other employees become empowered to act in the same way.

If leaders openly discuss their own challenges then other employees will do so too.

Key Takeaways

  • Don't rely solely on HR to deliver your wellbeing programme. Your leaders need to believe in it and it takes the company as a whole to change the culture and embed the programme.
  • Ensure that any activities or aspects of your programme are inclusive, recognising that not every employee wants to join in the "virtual Zoom jog".
  • Regularly survey your employees on how they are feeling and how they feel the company is supporting them.

Leavetrack allows organisations of all sizes to gain control and visibility over staff absence and reduce the inefficiency of emails and spreadsheets.
Posted by Robin on 22 Apr, 2021 in Guides