If there have been any positive outcomes of living and working through a global pandemic, perhaps one is the light it has cast on the importance of addressing wellness in the workplace. Workplace Wellness has become a buzz term and unfortunately many organisations only pay lip service to its importance.
In our latest blog, we discuss the many benefits for staff and businesses alike and the steps you can take to implement and maintain a position of wellness in your own organisation.
At the outset, it’s important to recognise that first and foremost we’re taking about the health and wellbeing of your staff. As a business owner and employer, it’s your duty to care about the wellness of the people you employ. From a humanity perspective, it’s common decency to care how your staff feel in their roles, and more importantly to address how their work impacts positively or negatively on this sense of wellness. However, from a purely business point of view, achieving a healthy workforce can produce positive results also.
Think about it as a virtuous cycle. Improved employee wellness leads to a decrease in sickness at work, which improves productivity, improving company performance, which can lead to further investment in employee wellness, further improving health and happiness at work…and so the cycle continues.
From a purely mental health perspective, investing in workplace wellness reduces stress and anxiety for staff which improves employee welfare and happiness at work which in turn leads to improved staff retention.
When you think of it in these terms, it’s a no brainer really isn’t it? So how do you go about achieving it? There are many ways in which you can work towards and ultimately accomplish the workplace wellness culture. Some are easier than others to implement. How many is your organisation achieving?
- Flexible working
A flexible working environment can be a key ingredient in achieving workplace wellness. Giving staff flexibility over their hours and their place of work helps achieve a work-life balance that promotes a rounded sense of wellness; allowing staff to build in exercise classes, medical appointments and personal time into their working day.
Many Formation Works member organisations operate a hybrid working model, combining office days with working from home days to achieve a sense of variety into the working calendar. The model has been shown to work positively, with many businesses suggesting a decrease in sickness levels and an improved company culture since introducing hybrid working models.
- Modern, comfortable workspaces
Well, we would say this wouldn’t we? But don’t just take our word for it. There’s a whole body of research to suggest the positive impact on staff that attractive, inviting and comfortable workspaces can have. In fact, it’s one of the most important considerations in the race to achieving workplace wellness.
Think of a dark, cramped office space with no natural light and no tools to help facilitate productivity. How can you expect to have a happy and motivated workforce? Formation Works properties are designed specifically to promote wellness with a prevalence of natural light a common feature throughout the buildings and bright, spacious office spaces throughout. All set up with access to superfast broadband speeds, the whole Formation Works experience promises to reduce the stress of moving to a new building and bring a new, modern dimension to your working practices.
- Inspire creativity
Artwork, bright coloured interiors and funky furniture – they’re not present in Formation Works properties via accident. Each element is carefully selected to help achieve a creative, inspirational environment in which to work. Considered design and the presence of a variety of artwork throughout a shared workspace environment can contribute hugely to a sense of happiness and wellbeing in the workplace, as well as helping to keep the creative juices flowing.
- Time to dine
Many employees who experience stress at work often admit to eating their lunch at their desks. To us, this is a complete no-no. We’ve paid particular attention to the design of our dining areas to encourage people to make/reheat a proper nutritious lunch and to take the time to enjoy it. With generous tea and coffee facilities, we want to ensure staff have the means to take proper breaks and afford them the space to enjoy them.
Further improve a holistic approach to wellness by providing healthy snacks for your staff, and order in healthy lunches on occasion to help keep your staff well-nourished during their working day.
- Mental health initiatives
There are an increasing number of initiatives designed to promote and encourage mental health in the workplace. Mental health first aid training, mindfulness meditation, counselling sessions and group therapy sessions are all more commonplace in larger organisations, but many smaller companies are recognising the importance of investing in these practises for their workforce. Often these can detect and help eradicate issues which staff may not have been able to articulate naturally. Enquire in your local area to investigate the opportunities open to you and always look out for testimonials and recommendations from others. Even something as simple as arranging workplace/desk massages can reap many rewards for your employees.
- Social events
We all know what ‘all work and no play’ does to a person. Whilst employees are there to carry out a role and contribute positively to an organisation through hard work and commitment, it can’t all be hard work or burnout will ensue. Make sure you take time out as a company to socialise together periodically. The benefit it will have to your organisation is tangible. Not only does it develop closer bonds between employees, it also shows an investment from you in your staff that goes beyond their pay packet.
There are lots of ways to socialise as a team, from guest speakers and networking events through to comedy nights, music gigs and movie nights. It need not always involve a trip to the pub, though there’s nothing wrong with that occasionally too!
Communication from, and with management is an effective tool in managing workplace wellness. Provide as many opportunities for discussions with your staff as you can, preferably on a one-to-one basis. Address their welfare, ask them how they are doing and mean it. Sometimes staff can act as if they have everything under control when in fact the reality is far from it. Identifying issues at the earliest opportunity gives the best chance to eradicate them.
- Encouraging a culture of openness
Often, it’s not the relationship with owners/managers that cause workplace conflicts and a negative culture, but the office politics between staff. Encourage your employees to be open and honest with each other, and to discuss issues before they escalate into large-scale concerns.
Unfortunately, the reality is that sometimes conflicts will indeed arise, and it’s important to take a hands-on approach to their management. This process can prove difficult to manage internally, so don’t be afraid to employ the services of an external consultant to manage the communication process if it becomes overwhelming.
- Spaces to meet
As well as a company office space, it’s important to have meeting spaces suitable for brainstorming sessions, presentations and those private conversations you would rather not have in the midst of the office. Formation Works properties boast attractive boardrooms, smaller meeting areas and breakout zones to cater for each of these scenarios. This gives a variety to staff in their working day and can help create a happier environment. If staff are struggling or need to confide in a colleague or manager, having these private spaces is a very important step in addressing issues and working towards restoring that sense of wellness.
Larger meeting areas are also available for external hire, giving the opportunity to breathe new life into these buildings and share the Formation Works story beyond the boundaries of our member companies.
- Promote exercise
Your holistic approach to workplace wellness should certainly involve mental health concerns, but don’t forget about the physical ones too. Being sat at a desk day in and day out is no recipe for a healthy lifestyle, so it’s important to encourage your staff to redress this balance.
There are lots of ways to promote physical health in the workplace. Cycle to work schemes are a great way to incentivise staff – preferably only if you have shower facilities for those with longer commutes! Free or discounted gym memberships are another popular way to help keep your staff fit and healthy and can be a real incentive to encourage new employees also. If these aren’t financially viable, why not organise some after work training – five-a-side football or a yoga/Pilates class. It’s amazing how much it can de-stress after a busy working day!