The importance of wellbeing in the workplace

Posted 6th April 2022
By Leona Barr-Jones

Wellbeing is something that society as a whole seems to be focusing on more and more. 

The discussion almost dominated the 2010’s and after a worldwide pandemic, wellbeing has become an important factor in all our lives. Add to that the distinct shift toward a more ethical approach to work, and it will come as no surprise that businesses are paying more attention to their staff wellbeing as a matter of best practice. 

Wellness isn’t just about health. It’s an umbrella term that includes everything from emotional and spiritual well-being, to environmental sustainability practices.  The Global Wellness Institute defines “well” as being more than simply physical or mental fitness; it requires our total engagement with life on every level possible: physically (through exercise), mentally (by finding ways to reduce stress; increase happiness and so on). The Institute’s encouraged approach to wellness is one of individual responsibility along with prevention and maintenance.

Companies that focus their efforts in creating a state of wellbeing at work see a more productive and contributive workforce who are better equipped to handle stress and are less likely to leave in search of greener pastures. So in short, putting emphasis on wellbeing at work isn’t just good for the staff morale… it’s good for business!

There are many facets to wellbeing and all of them do come into play in the workplace, somehow. 

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual 
  • Social 
  • Environmental

Changes in our approach to life

The “wellness shift” accelerated within months of the start of the 2020’s; the onset of the pandemic propelling it much quicker than expected. COVID-19 increased the attention towards health and with this, wellbeing. In a matter of months the world of work changed. For new starters, remote and hybrid work became the new normal overnight and communication became almost exclusively virtual making face to face human interaction alone a thing of the past.

Although most people have really taken to this new way of working and find it gives them more freedom and control over their work life, others have found the changes to be isolating. With a growing number of people suffering with mental health issues, mental health needs to be a top concern for employers.

Below are some steps employers can take to support employees in maintaining a healthy work environment:

  • Encourage taking regular breaks

This not only helps manage stress levels it also helps maximise productivity and creativity. Knowing when to stop is an important part of practising selfcare.

  • Promote communication

Some of us find it difficult to open up about our struggles however communication of any physical or mental issue is key to receiving help.

  • Provide outside support

There are a variety of schemes available which provide professional support for those experiencing difficulties, whether personal or professional.

  • Arrange regular face to face social interactions

Enabling and aiding employees to build friendships with one another through social events can have a positive impact on wellbeing and business outcomes.

  • Set fun fitness challenges

With most of us leading sedentary lives, fitness challenges are a great way of encouraging staff to dedicate some time to their physical health.

  • Create a comfortable working environment

Check in with your staff to make sure they have the right equipment to ensure a comfortable and safe working environment.

  • Create surveys to see what’s working and what’s not

Getting feedback about how your employees really feel about the support you provide makes sure you aren’t wasting your time and money with initiatives that don’t work.

  • Focus on your own wellbeing

You can put various initiatives in place to support the wellbeing of your staff…. But what about YOU? Many business owners don’t take time to think about their own wellbeing but admit that perhaps it isn’t what they’d like it to be. Don’t forget that you have a great impact on your employees so taking care of yourself is a real must! Read more about wellness for business leaders in our Alternative Whitepaper.

In conclusion, the impact of the past few years has spurred mass interest in what work means for us all and what part it plays in our wellbeing.

Are you prioritising workplace wellbeing sufficiently?

COO at Focus7

A successful business owner by age twenty, and with a varied 21-year military career including five years at the MoD on Whitehall, Leona has developed first class leadership and management skills. She has managed the successful implementation of major change programmes both in the UK and worldwide, including on behalf of Transport for London in collaboration with the 2012 Olympics. Leona is also IoD Director of the Year and a Fellow of IoD, CMI, InstLM.

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