Employers who pay attention to wellbeing enjoy increased morale, staff loyalty and business effectiveness. These 20 wellbeing initiatives are easy to implement in the workplace.
Stress and poor mental health costs UK businesses up to £42billion a year due to decreased productivity, sickness absence and high turnover of staff, according Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index. The charity’s report also finds that 48% of employees have experienced poor mental health in their current job, and half of employees regularly feel anxious at work too.
Implementing employee wellbeing initiatives into the workplace makes a significant difference to the way staff feel at work. Furthermore, wellbeing concepts often only require simple modifications to everyday life in the workplace, making them relatively easy to implement.
Here are 20 wellbeing initiatives that could make a vital difference to your business.
1. Flexible Working
It’s becoming the norm in many workplaces, but encourage employees to make the most of flexible working policies to help reduce stress. Knowing they can work from home or take time out for medical appointments or family-related duties significantly reduces anxiety among employees.
2. Improve Lighting
Move furniture that is blocking windows, add lamps to dark corners and add mood-boosting SAD lights to rooms where employees take their breaks. This will help reduce fatigue and add a little feelgood factor to the environment.
3. Encourage Personal Development
Make personal development a central part of employees’ everyday existence at work. As well as training courses that relate to individuals’ jobs, staff should be encouraged to pursue the development of skills that help them with future aspirations, even if this doesn’t directly correlate with their current role.
4. Use Colour
Add some bold splashes of colour to the office environment to stimulate positivity. Warmer shades of blue promote steady breathing and a feeling of calm, while yellow is associated with a brighter mood and an increase in energy.
5. Desk Massages
Hire a masseuse to visit the workplace on a regular basis to give staff five minute shoulder or hand massages at their desks. Not only will it help employees de-stress, it makes them feel cared about by their employer too.
6. Dedicated Tasks
Multi-tasking can be a desirable skill, but encouraging staff to focus on one task at a time can be better for wellbeing. Setting team members a single task to concentrate on in a day – without worrying about meetings or responding to emails – can help to refresh, revive and focus the mind.
7. Office Snacks
Pastries, biscuits and cakes can become the normal accompaniment to days in the office, so try to shake this food culture up by providing some healthier snacks too. Daily platters of fruit or a weekly delivery of fresh smoothies can be great for morale as well as a vitamin boost.
8. Walking Meetings
Challenge staff to hold at least one meeting a week out of the office and preferably walking, ideally surrounded by nature in a local park. The light activity, greenery and fresh air all promote a sense of wellbeing.
9. Exercise Incentives
Offer staff a subsidised membership at a local gym or fitness company to promote all the wellbeing benefits physical activity brings. Also encourage staff to take time away from their desks over lunchtime to eat and exercise if they wish.
10. Quiet Hotdesking
Have a dedicated area of the office for quiet hotdesking, which can be particularly important in busy open-plan offices. This gives employees the opportunity to work somewhere else for an hour or two if they feel stressed or overwhelmed by a loud office.
11. Healthy Lunches
It might not be possible to put on lunch for the whole office on a daily basis, but ordering a healthy lunch for the office fortnightly or monthly can be a great wellbeing boost, and encourages a feeling of positivity that comes from social interaction too.
12. Team Building With a Twist
Organise team building days where employees do something totally unrelated to their job. Whether it’s gameshow type quizzes or physical challenges, breaking up the usual rhythm of employees’ working lives can be incredibly refreshing.
13. Travel to Work Schemes
Offer staff discounts on buying bicycles if they wish to cycle to work, and provide ideas on how employees can build exercise into their day. For example, this could include getting off the bus a stop early to walk the rest of the way to work.
Helping with corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas as well as wellbeing strategies, organising volunteering sessions for employees with local charities has many benefits. As well as supporting local causes, it gives staff an additional sense of purpose. Some even say volunteering helps lower blood pressure!
15. On-site Classes
Organise classes that promote wellbeing on-site in the workplace, such as mindfulness, meditation or yoga sessions.
16. Inspiring Messages
Email employees an inspiring quote of the day, or post a weekly story on the intranet about something inspiring a staff member has achieved – in or out of work. Encouraging staff to think about something bigger than themselves can do wonders for the mind.
17. Break-out Areas
Ensure there are different zones in the workplace that are relaxing, energising and inspiring. Having different places for employees to go to in an office environment helps them find space and the right energy during different parts of their day.
Creating connections between staff in the workplace is positive for wellbeing. This can be achieved by assigning new staff members with a mentor or buddy to encourage cross-connections and a supportive workplace.
19. Wellness Breaks
Help employees take wellness into their own hands by offering sessions to equip them with skills to improve their own wellbeing. This could include mindfulness or emotional intelligence training, which can help staff both in their work and home lives.
20. Performance Reviews
Make wellbeing an integral part of the workplace by incorporating it into personal development conversations. This can include one-to-one meetings with managers and adding a new section in performance review templates.
Make employee wellbeing a priority in the workplace and reap the rewards as a business.