Employee stress has a very real physical and psychological element, but it also costs employers about $200 billion each year, according to a study by McKinsey. Moreover, Gallup statistics found that 75 percent of medical costs accrued by employees are preventable. From bringing down productivity to a rise in turnover rates, when employees’ wellbeing is disrupted, so is the workplace.
What is wellbeing in the workplace and why is it important?
Workplace wellbeing is the combination of the office atmosphere, workplace culture, and how satisfied employees are with their jobs. It adds up to how an employee’s work impacts their health and happiness.
An employee’s wellbeing directly relates to their productivity levels, engagement with the company, and the financial cost to employers. Organizations with strong levels of employee wellbeing enjoy:
- More productivity - employees who are satisfied with their job are 13% more productive according to a study by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
- Better talent - companies with a reputation as a healthy workplace will attract top talent and hold on to high potential employees longer.
- Customer satisfaction - workers who are happier at work will be more likely to go the extra mile for your customers.
Six ways to encourage employee wellbeing in the workplace
Employers can encourage employee wellbeing in several ways. They include:
The space around us can have an impact on our mental health. Consider cleaning up your workplace to be more orderly and encourage employees to have good filing systems. Adding elements that enhance the space can also make it more enjoyable for employees to be at work. Plants, flowers, posters, pictures, etc., can brighten up an office and create an atmosphere of calm.
The McKinsey report found that employees who have more autonomy in their jobs are less likely to be physically ill. Therefore, employers should aim to offer workers more control over their work, when they do it, and how it gets done. One practical way to accomplish this is to eliminate micromanagement. Encourage managers to be supportive and coach instead of trying to retain control over employees.
Social relationships are integral to an individual’s health. We need family and close friendships to maintain our wellbeing. As an employer, fostering a collaborative atmosphere rather than a competitive one can help build these essential connections for employees. To build these shared connections, organizations can plan events and activities that create a sense of togetherness. For example, volunteering as a company team to help support a local charity.
Having a mentor can be a positive experience that helps employees build the career they want and overcome challenges in their lives. Mentors are more than a sounding board for ideas. They encourage mentees to take control of their jobs by developing goals and attaining them. They offer advice, support, encouragement, and more for employees at all stages of their careers.
Employers should see employees as people, not just tools to grow a company or increase productivity. When workers feel that their employers care about them and the community, it creates a solid sense of wellbeing at the company. For example, after a SAS Institute employee died in a boating accident, the company extended an offer to continue covering the child care costs for the employee’s children.
Promote activities to employees to help them live a more active and healthy lifestyle. It could include a bike to work day, building an employee gym, or providing healthy snacks free for staff to enjoy. Physical activity can help people manage their stress levels better. A study out of the U.K. found that employees who cycled to work had higher feelings of wellbeing than those who did not.
Virtual wellness activity ideas for employees
If you have a hybrid team of employees, there are ways that you can encourage their wellbeing, including:
Offer incentives for employees who engage in wellness activities. For example, you could pay for gym memberships or physical activities to help your virtual employees stay active. Employers may also want to cover the expenses involved in setting up a healthy home office, such as ergonomic chairs, standing desks, treadmills, etc.
Did you know that we have a special program at ClassPass for businesses? Check out our corporate wellness resources for more information.
Promote healthy lifestyles and team-building by creating challenges for virtual employees. These can be focused on eating habits, such as how many on the team can drink eight glasses of water a day? Challenges could also involve physical activity by seeing who can walk or cycle for 40 minutes each week.
Plan a non-work-related get-together for your virtual employees where they can socialize, talk about things outside of work, and build connections with one another. Organize games for participants to play, encourage everyone to have the same healthy snack or beverage to enjoy, and allow some free conversation time.
Send snack packs
Employees who work from home don’t need to miss out on the healthy snacks you offer to in-office workers. Send them a care package with some good snacks, such as granola bars, popcorn, pretzels, nuts, dried fruits, crackers, etc.
Move your workplace mentoring program online and allow mentors and mentees to connect virtually. Mentorships can have a positive impact on the life and career of participants. These benefits can be attained even if your employees work from home.
Giving back to the community is a great way to strengthen a team and boost the wellbeing of employees. Look for virtual opportunities for remote employees to get involved, such as tutoring others, online meetings with seniors, or letter-writing campaigns. You can even ask your hybrid team what causes they want to be involved in and find a way to do it.