Last reviewed 24 June 2021

Improving wellbeing in the workplace has been proven to increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Nicola Jagielski from Health Assured suggests some ideas to support employee wellbeing.

Why should you invest in workplace wellness?

There are three key reasons to promote employee wellbeing in the workplace:

  • Productivity and motivation: if an employee is mentally and physically healthy, they have more energy and are more focused — which means they can perform better in their job.

  • Camaraderie and morale: group wellness activities, in and outside of work, build a shared purpose — which increases team morale.

  • Work-related stress: positive wellbeing reduces stress — which otherwise could impact productivity and health.

Key areas of employee wellbeing

The protection and fostering of staff wellbeing needs to be embedded in management methods and systems.

First, you should assess and audit the current level of wellbeing in your organisation, decide where you want to be and then work out how you are going to get there.

A staff wellbeing audit is a great way to assess your wellbeing initiatives from a holistic point of view.

If the audit indicates certain issues, or if you already know the areas you wish to improve in, you can target them with specific initiatives.

The CIPD identifies seven key areas of employee wellbeing. These are as follows.

  1. Health.

  2. Good work.

  3. Values/principles.

  4. Collective/social.

  5. Personal growth.

  6. Good lifestyle choices.

  7. Financial wellbeing.

Let’s look at some health and wellbeing in the workplace ideas for each of the key areas.

Health

An employee cannot work effectively if they are suffering from injury or ill health.

Initiatives to improve and maintain health could focus on:

  • physical health

  • physical safety

  • mental health.

Some health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace ideas are:

  • promoting healthy eating by having healthy snacks in the workplace or putting up posters in eating areas suggesting healthy alternatives for popular unhealthy snacks

  • promoting walking meetings, so employees have a chance to move from their desks

  • fostering a culture of safety at work and providing training and resources for employees

  • offering free annual check-ups with medical advice

  • establishing mental health champions, mental health first aiders and encouraging conversations about mental ill health.

Good work

Good work engages employees, is not unbearably stressful, allows them a voice, is fair, is positive for their wellbeing and allows them to progress. A pleasant working environment encourages employees to feel positive about their work.

Good work initiatives might include:

  • flexible working options to ease pressures from an employee’s personal life

  • ergonomically designed offices and/or desks

  • management training to ensure good line management

  • promoting work-life balance

  • fair and transparent bonus and incentive programmes.

Values/principles

For many workers, their conscience plays a big part in their identity. If they do not believe they work for a “good” company, this will affect their motivation and wellbeing.

If they genuinely believe in the company and the values it stands for, employees will feel happier in their job and committed to working for its success.

Initiatives to consider in this area include:

  • showing a clear commitment to health and wellbeing with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

  • holding charity events or encouraging volunteering through work

  • engaging with the local community through sponsored events

  • backing diversity and inclusion with diversity training days and diversity-friendly workforce policies, such as hours which suit working mothers

  • holding a staff wellbeing day with ideas on how to improve company wellbeing.

Collective/social

We spend a lot of our adult lives at work, so it is essential that it is a welcoming space.

Creating a good social and collective identity in the workplace will help an employee feel more at home and allow them to excel. Some ideas are:

  • allowing everyone to feel heard and involved with regular group brainstorms and ideas sessions

  • recruiting from within to build company relationships

  • running an open forum to hear employees’ feedback when making a decision that will affect everyone in the business

  • holding regular social events to inspire a feeling of belonging

  • offering teamwork skills workshops.

Personal growth

Growth is what keeps most of us motivated in our career. It will matter less to employees that the business is successful if they feel they personally are not learning or growing.

It is in the business’s best interests to grow its employees alongside itself

Initiatives you could introduce include:

  • mentoring from peers or employees in other departments, allowing development, knowledge sharing or upskilling

  • offering career and performance development planning software or services

  • holding resilience training to improve personal development

  • providing access to training platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare where employees can learn outside of work

  • inviting prominent figures in your industry to give talks or run seminars.

Good lifestyle choices

Good lifestyle choices contribute significantly to wellbeing. Supporting employees in a non-patronising way should have significant health and wellbeing benefits.

Here are some ways to encourage staff wellbeing:

  • offer workout classes at work or subsidised gym memberships

  • provide bike parking and changing facilities to encourage taking a bike to work

  • provide standing desks or exercise ball seats as options

  • if there is a canteen, offer and promote healthy choices

  • run weekly/monthly cooking or recipe clubs.

Financial wellbeing

A person’s financial situation will have a huge impact on their wellbeing. Stress caused by financial difficulties can affect work performance.

As well as paying their wages, you can go a step further and support employees in making sensible financial decisions. Some ideas are:

  • holding work days focused on finances and saving

  • offering debt counselling services

  • providing a phased retirement programme

  • making it a policy to pay all employees the national living wage

  • offering a profit share scheme to allow employees to benefit from the company’s success.

Health Assured

Need more health and wellbeing at work ideas? Health Assured can provide expert support for your employees and give you advice on how to improve wellbeing in your workplace. Get in touch today on 0844 891 0350.