Why employee wellbeing is important

Employee wellbeing has been brought to the forefront of the corporate agenda. The pandemic has highlighted the growing importance of wellbeing in the workplace, with more businesses beginning to invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing. 

Workplace wellbeing benefits both the employee and the company. Many studies prove the direct link between employee wellbeing and performance with evidence showing a healthy and happy workforce is more productive, motivated and engaged.

What is employee wellbeing?

Wellbeing at work is about optimising both mental and physical health, giving your staff a more well-rounded and happier lifestyle.

Incorporating a wellbeing strategy can help to focus on and improve employee wellbeing. When developing a strategy, it’s important that you understand how to effectively look after your employees’ health and use initiatives that they find useful.

These strategies only work if the wellbeing initiatives are represented from the top down. This can start with simple actions, such as making sure you and your employees are taking breaks away from their desks or encouraging staff to stick to their working hours rather than doing extra to get something finished.

Why is wellbeing important in the workplace?

Work takes up a huge part of our lives. With the average full-time employee working around 37 hours a week, our work life has a big impact on our general happiness. Businesses need to create an environment educates, encourages and enables employees to put their wellbeing at the centre of their lives.

Introducing benefits that make a difference to employee wellbeing can improve performance. Having the right initiatives in place can improve employee engagement, lower absence rates and increase productivity within the workplace. 

Companies that don’t have a workplace wellbeing strategy are at risk of having lower productivity and an unhappy workforce. Neglecting wellbeing can lead to presenteeism. It can be caused by both physical and mental health issues or the fact that employees are not motivated or engaged with the company. There’s still a stigma around calling in sick for work, which also leads to presenteeism. Nearly 40% of employees don’t tell their manager the real reason for their absence when calling in sick because they’re afraid of being judged or disbelieved. It’s important to communicate to your employees that their wellbeing is a top priority, giving time off when needed so they can recover properly. 

What are the benefits of supporting your employees’ wellbeing?

Having an effective workplace wellbeing strategy offers many great benefits to your business as well as your employees. Not only do you have a happier workforce, but there are other aspects that come into play: 

  • Increased staff productivity – Making your staff feel valued and listened to makes them more likely to engage in work. 
  • Better staff retention – Creating loyalty and care for employees makes them less likely to look for alternative jobs.
  • Reduced sick leave and absenteeism – Staff who feel their wellbeing needs are being met are more likely to return from sick leave on time.
  • A happier workforce – Having the right mental health and wellbeing strategies in place can help to stop problems from escalating.
  • An enhanced reputation – People are more interested in working for companies that put the wellbeing of their staff as one of their top priorities.
How do you improve workplace wellbeing?

Focus on mental wellbeing

Taking care of your employees’ mental health is essential for looking after your staff. People often feel ashamed to talk about their experience of mental health as some people continue to consider it less important than physical health, so it’s essential your employees know you understand the difficulties people face. 

There are a range of solutions to help ensure you’re looking after your staff’s mental wellbeing. Offering wellbeing workshops led by experienced coaches, and implementing mental health first aiders within the organisation are easy to implement and help to support your staff, demonstrating that their mental health is important to the company. 

Offer a more flexible workplace

Offering a more balanced lifestyle and allowing flexibility in the workplace can have a positive impact on your employees. As we already mentioned, we spend a lot of time at work, but this doesn’t mean it should get in the way of life. Being able to plan your working day around other important factors, such as the school run or a private appointment you have, makes that work-life balance a lot easier to handle. 

Encourage a more active lifestyle

According to research by the British Heart Foundation, adults of working age in England average about 9.5 hours per day of sedentary time. People who spend long periods sitting have been found to have higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Workplace active spaces promote living a more active lifestyle, giving your employees easy access to fitness. You can also encourage people to be more active by introducing incentives to increase step count, or suggesting walking meetings with your team. 

Include access to health services 

Giving your employees access to healthcare is a great way to improve workplace wellbeing. Corporate health cash plans and private health insurance provide your workforce with access to faster treatment and assistance in paying for essential healthcare. Giving your employees access to healthcare helps to reduce the number of sick days. It also assists in paying for essential services, such as eye tests or dental check-ups, that they might otherwise avoid due to the cost.

Workplace wellbeing with Westfield Health

Company culture and the way that an organisation is run has a huge impact on employees. Creating a culture of wellbeing is much more than just ticking the boxes of what you think makes a happy workplace. Instead, all elements of wellbeing must be taken into account.

At Westfield Health we offer wellbeing plans for businesses of all types, sizes and budgets. Find out more about how to begin working on your strategy by downloading our free health and wellbeing toolkit or book a free wellbeing consultation with our experts.

This blog was written by Westfield Health. Find out more on their website: westfieldhealth.com