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Editor’s Question: What are your best tips for improving employee well-being?

Editor’s Question: What are your best tips for improving employee well-being?

Top StoriesWorkforce Management

Ensuring employee well-being is essential for any business. If your employees aren’t happy then the company will struggle to function and grow. In this month’s editor’s question, five experts share their tips on improving employee well-being, starting below with comments from Dr Nairouz Bader, CEO, Envision Partnership.

Employee happiness is becoming more than just a trendy phrase; it’s essential to the success of any company. Organisations that value the well-being, motivation and happiness of their staff benefit greatly in today’s changing work settings. Here, we offer helpful advice for building a productive workplace and improving employee well-being.

Keeping a healthy work/life balance is a crucial component of employee well-being. Employees may recharge and remain engaged throughout working hours by being encouraged to unplug from their jobs after hours, take breaks and maximize their vacation time. Modern workplaces require a high degree of flexibility, and choices like remote work or flexible hours greatly increase employee happiness by enabling them to manage their personal responsibilities.

Open and honest communication, which acts as the lifeblood of cooperation and cohesiveness within the company, is the cornerstone of a healthy and effective work environment. Employees should feel free to voice their worries, offer criticism and ask for assistance when necessary. Trust and well-being are enhanced through open channels. It is essential to give workers the equipment and resources they require to do their tasks well. Frustration and a decline in well-being might result from outdated technology or poor software. Providing access to the tools you need encourages productivity.

Programmes for employee growth and development are beneficial for the company as well as the individuals. As participants in these programmes value the chance to advance their careers, skills are improved, morale is raised and well-being rises. Strong motivators are gratitude and acknowledgment for effort and accomplishments. Regular acknowledgement may greatly improve an employee’s well-being and job happiness, whether it comes in the form of money incentives or just words of appreciation.

Stress management is essential in the modern workplace because of the potential for stress. Employees can successfully deal with difficulties connected to their jobs by using services like employee assistance programmes or mindfulness training sessions. Flexible time-off regulations can meet individual requirements and exigencies, lowering the stress brought on by unforeseen circumstances.

It promotes a sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees to encourage social interactions and team-building activities. Enhancing overall well-being and job satisfaction may be accomplished by developing good workplace relationships. It’s crucial to offer clear avenues for job progression. Employees are more likely to be engaged and satisfied when they believe they have a future with the company.

In conclusion, improving employee well-being necessitates a comprehensive strategy that incorporates supportive workplace culture, policies and practices. Employers may create an environment where staff members flourish by putting these suggestions into practice, which will boost output, work happiness and general success. Putting employee well-being first is a commitment to the people that power your company forward, not merely a business plan.

Kim-Adele Randall,CEO, Authentic Achievements:

Employee well-being is the cornerstone of a productive and sustainable business. A content and healthy workforce enhances job satisfaction and fuels creativity, innovation and loyalty. Here are some steps to foster a culture of well-being in your organisation:

1. Prioritise mental health: Start by acknowledging that mental health matters. Create a stigma-free environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns.

2. Flexible work arrangements: Recognise the value of work/life balance. Embrace flexible work arrangements such as remote work options, flexible hours and compressed workweeks. These empower employees to effectively manage their personal and professional lives, reducing burnout and stress.

3. Promote physical wellness: Implement ergonomic workstations to reduce the risk of physical strain. Encourage regular physical activity by providing gym memberships or organising fitness challenges. Promote healthy eating habits through nutritious snacks and meals in the workplace.

4. Offer learning opportunities: Support continuous learning and skill development. Provide access to courses, workshops and seminars related to job skills and personal interests. Encourage employees to set and achieve personal development goals.

5. Foster inclusivity and diversity: Build a diverse and inclusive workplace where every employee feels valued and respected. Embrace diversity in hiring and promotions. Implement diversity and inclusion training to raise awareness and reduce biases.

6. Recognise and reward: Recognise and reward achievements and efforts regularly. Offer a fair compensation structure and provide opportunities for advancement.

7. Encourage autonomy: Empower employees by giving them more control over their work. Allow them to make decisions and take ownership of their projects.

8. Open communication: Promote transparent and open communication at all levels. Encourage feedback and suggestions. Conduct regular check-ins to discuss goals, challenges and progress to ensure employees feel heard and valued.

9. Promote work/life integration: Encourage employees to integrate work and personal life in a way that suits them. Offer family-friendly policies, such as flexible parental leave and on-site childcare facilities.

10. Lead by example: Leadership sets the tone for workplace culture. Managers and executives should model the behaviours and attitudes they want to see in their employees.

11. Create a relaxation zone: Designate a space in the workplace where employees can relax, meditate or take short breaks. A calming environment can help alleviate stress and boost creativity.

12. Promote social connections: Encourage social interactions among employees. Organise team-building activities, social events and mentorship programmes.

13. Measure and adapt: Regularly assess employee well-being through surveys, feedback sessions and key performance indicators. Use this data to make informed decisions and adapt your well-being initiatives accordingly.

Improving employee well-being is an on-going process that requires commitment and adaptability. By prioritising mental and physical health, promoting inclusivity and creating a supportive work environment, you can foster a well-being culture that benefits your employees and your business’s bottom line.

Fiona Hatton, Well-being Coach, Yoco Studio:

Employee well-being is no longer simply a ‘nice to have’. The link between business success and employee well-being means that organisations are starting to take it very seriously. But all those yoga classes and meditation apps don’t seem to be working, with the CIPD reporting this year that sickness absence is at its highest level in a decade. 

There’s a lot of research into the pillars of a good well-being programme, encompassing mental and physical, emotional, financial, social and digital well-being. But if you’re starting from scratch, it’s hard to know where to focus and what will make a difference in your own organisation. 

Here are 3 tips to kick-off your well-being programme:

  1. Actively listen 

What are your people saying about their well-being? If you have a regular staff survey, check the results – what are the common themes? What informal channels could you use to find out more? Team meetings, line manager conversations and quick polls can all give you an insight into what’s really impacting your colleagues’ well-being. 

And look at what’s behind what your staff are telling you. For example, if colleagues are saying they’re overloaded with work, why is that? Is it easy for them to prioritise projects? Do you have a culture that allows people to say no to low priority work? Are line managers fully equipped to support their team’s mental health?

Understanding how your staff are feeling gives you a great place to start and means you’re already much further ahead than other companies when it comes to improving well-being.

  • Get strategic 

Pulling together random activities isn’t enough to make a lasting impact. You’re going to be investing time, effort and money, so you want your programme to make a real difference. Take a more strategic approach based on the insight you’ve gathered. Decide which areas to prioritise. Establish your starting point and set realistic, meaningful goals that link to your organisation’s objectives. Consider how you’ll measure your progress and when you might need to adjust your tactics. And build a programme based on the activities that will get you closer to your goals – rather than something that just sounds nice. 

  • Bring your employees with you 

No one likes to feel that change is being done to them, involving your colleagues in the development stages gives them ownership and gives your programme a much better chance at success. By collaborating right from the start, you’ll have access to wide ranging ideas. Your staff will be able to share what’s been tried before, and they’ll have insight into what could get in the way of something working. Together you can create a really powerful programme that has the potential to improve your employees’ well-being and benefit your business.

Nigel Winship, Specialist Well-being Architect, Sabio Group:

Employee well-being should be a top priority for any organisation that wants to retain top talent and boost productivity. As the data shows, happy and healthy employees are more engaged, creative and motivated to go above and beyond. While individuals must take responsibility for self-care, companies play a crucial role in establishing a culture and environment that fosters well-being. 

First, through solutions such as Sabio’s Well-being Companion, you can use data and feedback to understand what your employees need. Send out anonymous pulse surveys to gauge satisfaction and energy levels at different times of the year or project cycles. Ask about preferences for flexibility, work/life balance, tools and policies that would help them manage stress or improve health. Analyse trends and dig deeper through focus groups or interviews. Providing the right support starts with understanding each employee’s unique needs and challenges. 

Second, build a workplace culture that normalises well-being as a shared priority and responsibility. Institute policies that limit after-hours work communications, discourage overwork and encourage taking regular vacations without judgement. Offer access to counselling, coaching, mindfulness classes or yoga and beyond that, celebrate employees who model healthy behaviours. Well-being must be woven into company values and practices at all levels. 

Third, give employees more control over their environment. Flexible work arrangements allow people to adjust schedules to accommodate commitments outside work and personal biorhythms. Remote options eliminate stressful commutes. Ergonomic equipment and standing desks empower people to work in ways that are physically more comfortable for them. Autonomy and choice are key for well-being, so as an organisation, evaluate what policies or equipment upgrades could build in more flexibility. 

Small changes can make a big difference. Something as simple as a walking meeting policy gets people moving and outdoors. Providing healthy snacks or subsidising gym memberships shows the company cares. Well-being must be continuously cultivated through open communication, demonstrated care and a workplace culture that puts people first. Employees who feel happy, healthy, supported and in control will sustain that vitality as an asset for both themselves and the company.

Rob Shaw, Managing Director EMEA at Fluent Commerce:

When it comes to tackling employee well-being, there’s still something of a mountain to climb. In the past year, 76% of UK employees have taken time off due to stress – the highest level reported in over a decade and two days more than the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 days a year.

I believe organisations can do more to address the problem. To make mental well-being a priority in the workplace, business leaders must plan and implement policies that help build an open and supportive culture. These policies will inevitably need to vary from organisation to organisation, but where possible they should encompass the following points:

  • Flexibility

For businesses that are able to offer staff flexible working hours or work from home at least part of the time, this can be a huge boost to employee well-being. It enables staff to develop a better work/life balance, reducing the stress of juggling work with other priorities such as caring responsibilities. This will also make it easier for employees to implement healthy habits, such as exercise, that can be a huge boost to well-being. In addition, it makes the workplace more accessible for those with mental health conditions, allowing employees to work in the way that best suits their individual needs. 

  • A culture of trust  

A key issue when tackling well-being is that it can be a hidden problem. More than half of UK employees feel uncomfortable bringing up mental health concerns at work, which can leave them feeling isolated and unable to access support. Employers can play a big part in changing this. 

Managers should be trained on how best to support their employees and organise regular check-ins with staff. In addition, efforts should be made to ensure that the organisation’s culture is one of trust and safety, in which employees feel comfortable asking for help. This can be done by making it clear that well-being is a priority – for example by hosting meditation sessions, well-being talks or yoga. And by leading by example. Speaking openly about mental health without fear of negative repercussions within the leadership team can have a huge impact on how safe other team members feel in discussing these matters. Employers must start the dialogue so that staff understand that mental health will be taken seriously in the organisation. 

  • The right resources

Finally, organisations must ensure that they provide access to robust support services, should the worst happen. For example, at Fluent Commerce, we provide a variety of services including coaching, online tools and counselling. This is particularly important at the moment, with waiting lists for NHS support reaching record highs. Counselling offered through work can save employees months, if not years, of waiting for necessary aid. Additionally, 24/7 internet chat services or phone support lines will ensure that staff have help whenever they need it. 

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