Why wellbeing must be top of the company agenda despite the economic crisis.
This year it was reported that just 50% of UK organisations have a formal health and wellbeing strategy for employees which is only 6% higher than the year before. A key priority for HR professionals is to ensure that health and wellbeing continues to receive heightened attention in the boardroom now the threat from COVID19 is recedeing. They know that treating health and wellbeing in the workplace as a tick box exercise must stop and they must demonstrate action. It was reported that just over two-thirds (68%) of employees said their line manager or employer checked in on their health and wellbeing during the pandemic. A time when the changing work landscape and various lockdowns caused a rise in mental health issues in the UK. Now many of us are back behind our desks, for at least part of the week it is important that organisations revisit the worth of wellbeing to employees and how it can ultimately benefit your business.
When people feel well at work both mentally and physically they are much more productive and creative, are far more likely to develop their potential and talent and cope with stress whilst building positive relationships with others. I work with many men and women who come to me with low self esteem. Stress in the workplace is often a big part of that. The world has changed dramatically over the last 2 years and health and wellbeing amongst employees is of course higher up the agenda but is it hight enough? It isn’t just a case of showing that you consider health and wellbeing to be important amongst your workforce, it is about demonstrating it. Companies that do that attract and retain the talent. People want to work in a place that empowers them both physically and mentally.
So how do we define wellbeing? The Oxford dictionary says wellbeing depicts a state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. Many businesses are now hiring in wellbeing consultants to focus on providing their employees with health and wellbeing programmes. Those activities are likely to encourage exercise, such as yoga or lunchtime classes. Regular social events or get togethers are sometimes being explored to boost staff health, team work and mental wellbeing, such as lunchtime walking clubs or ‘Lunch and Learn’. The idea is to enhance morale with the end result being an increase in productivity.
As CEO’s and managers it is important that you check in with your employees. Find out what their wellbeing needs are. Do they want to partake in a social event at lunchtimes or would they like a contribution towards a health class outside of work? Many businesses will have an allocated budget for wellbeing although just one in four organisations reported that their allocated budget for wellbeing benefits had increased as a consequence of the pandemic, with the majority saying it had remained the same. Now, we might expect that with the cost of living rising and the economic situation as it is, those budgets may remain static.
I believe that health and wellbeing in the work place should also be a fiscal decision, though. If your workforce is constantly taking sick days, it costs you money in productivity and cover. If a member of your team becomes the 1 in 4 who will look for another job this year because their health and wellbeing needs are not being met - it will cost you money to rehire. Another consideration is that clients like to work with like minded organisations, they may choose a company to work with based on their demonstrable employee wellbeing programmes. This is why exploring ways to empower your workforce with health and wellbeing in the workspace should not be a tick box exercise and actually could benefit the growth of your company.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy Hood .
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