Every year always starts with the best intentions. We set ourselves goals and resolutions, many of which are designed to improve our health, our wellbeing or to help us find more balance in our lives.
And it’s always around this time of January, three weeks into a new year, when these resolutions become harder to keep. Especially when the pressure and stress that comes with work starts to build up. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious and to burnout.
Our mission is to create a smiling workforce and help people enjoy work. As part of this, we think it’s vital to prioritise health and wellbeing in the workplace. In fact, more than 75% of employees believe ‘workplace wellbeing’ is the secret to employee happiness, which then leads to increased motivation, productivity and retention.
It’s a win-win situation. Employees are happy, healthy and more productive. The good news is there’s a number of different ways to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace, and to enjoy work.
1. Create a culture of mindfulness.Mindfulness at work has been pioneered by companies like Google for many years and is now being taken seriously by many businesses. Employee engagement is crucial for improving productivity and better mindfulness is at the core of better engagement. From breathing exercises to showing gratitude, there’s many ways to create a culture of mindfulness in the workplace.A deep breath can be a wonderful cure for many stressful situations. And practising breathing, whether through activities like yoga or meditation, can have a huge influence on how healthy our minds are. The app Headspace is a great place to start for an introduction into guided meditation.
2. Encourage your workforce to be active. A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand together. Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. This doesn’t mean everyone should spend hours on end at the gym, simply that staying active promotes wellbeing. Like many other employers, at Quinyx we’ve taken the step to financially support our employees to stay active.
3. Talk and listen. It’s so easy to send an email, a WhatsApp or a Slack message that sometimes we forget the simple power of taking the time to actually talk with our colleagues. Encourage staff to talk freely, openly and honestly with each other. This tone is often set by an organisation’s leaders and senior management teams. They should set a strong example others can follow and feel empowered by. And, remember, listening to someone is just as important as being able to talk to them. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the capacity for empathy, gratitude and intuition. From self-awareness through to being able to listen to others, every office culture should encourage understanding between the people who work there. Employees at all levels of an organisation should feel they are in an environment where they can share their concerns or experiences with confidence and without judgement.
4. Nurture and nourish. From an employers point of view, simple things like providing free fruit or holding regular lunches or breakfasts for all staff, can have a huge impact on employee health and wellbeing. Not only does encouraging healthy eating have a positive impact on employee performance, it also demonstrates the business actively cares about their employees.
5. Use technology to help. Advances in tech are helping employers find new and innovative ways of encouraging health and wellbeing in the workplace. BP are using fitness trackers as part of an incentive programme to help employees reduce healthcare costs while UK supermarket Tesco’s use smart armbands as a working aid in their distribution centres. Just like advances in sport science are helping coaches and athletes improve their performance through data, companies are now looking at ways they can do the same to optimise their employees performance to gain advantage over their competition.
What’s clear is employers who manage their employees health and wellbeing successfully will reap the benefits of doing so. Understanding the needs of your staff, and how these needs change over time, helps you create a business where employees enjoy work. It’s through enjoying work that employees are able to perform to the best of their abilities and deliver results.
Want to learn more about building an awesome culture and being a HR superstar? You can download our guide to becoming the ultimate HR manager below.