‘Healthy workplaces should now sit front and centre of all business strategies’
By Tali Shlomo, People Engagement Director
With emerging technology, digitalisation and a multigenerational workplace, the boundary continues to blur between home and work, confusing when we are at work and when we are not.
As we continue to evolve our workplace culture building, healthy workplaces should now sit front and centre of all business strategies.
Wellbeing is an individual’s ability to develop their potential, work productively, build strong and positive relationships, positively contribute whilst having a clear purpose and sense of belonging.
What constitutes wellbeing it is the intersection of our emotional, physical, mental and financial touchpoints and for each of us those touchpoints are varied.
Ten years ago, wellbeing was rarely spoken about in the workplace, and if we did it was with a certain trepidation. Many of us are aware of the impact that our wellbeing has on our interaction with our colleagues, clients and stakeholders.
CIPD Health and Wellbeing at work report, 2018 states Health and wellbeing activity have led to better employee morale and engagement (44%) and lower sickness absence (31%).
Mental Health and Employers: The Case For Investment – Deloitte, October 2017 states, the return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4.2:1
This suggests that the likely positive achievements in one area have a knock-on effect in other areas. Recognising that wellbeing has a role to play in our workplace interactions creates a catalyst to evolve our strategies as part of our inclusive workplace culture.
It has been gratifying to notice over recent years a change in workplace culture which increasingly recognises the importance of maintaining high levels of mental and emotional wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing should remain a priority, as a first step, to break down the stigma which remains around mental health. One in four people will experience mental ill health in their lifetime. Therefore, those of us who do not, will know someone who does.
There are many approaches an organisation can take to support and embed wellbeing programs at work.
Starting a conversation about mental health in the workplace is an important first step to removing the stigma and paving a clear route to seeking support and advice. Campaigners, InsideOut, focus on inspiring leaders to the mental health agenda via the InsideOut Charter.
By endorsing a broader understanding of mental health, leaders can inspire compassion, something which has come to be seen as a key pillar of an inclusive leadership.
We need to clearly articulate our commitments to our colleagues and clients who might be experiencing mental ill health, emphasising that support is available and that there should be no fear of a negative impact as a result of seeking support.
We can easily forget the impact our physical health and wellness has on our overall wellbeing. On a basic level, we weren't designed to be sat at desks all day, or hunched over computer keyboards, which will undoubtedly have an impact on our posture.
Moreover, being within close quarters with a group of people over the course of a year, you’d be lucky to not have a shared case of the sniffles pass around.
According to the national statistics by the Health and Safety Executive, more than 28.8 million working days were lost in 2018 to ill health, so the imperative speaks for itself: thinking about the physical health of your colleagues makes good business sense.
Physical health is a very broad subject which encompasses everything from weight, fitness and nutrition. As we continue to evolve our workplace culture, introducing physical wellness strategies to support our colleagues is a vital component.
Physical health often has a significant impact on mental and emotional health. Introducing short regular breaks during the working day, adopting the 25:5 approach 5 minutes break after 25 minutes of work, walking meetings and agile working enables one to refocus on their tasks and continue to produce consistently good quality work.
Arranging nutritional workshops, financial advice drop in sessions are as equally important in developing a holistic strategy.
Many organisations will have an EAP scheme which are typically underutilised and with case studies and ongoing engagement the reach and impact of the scheme can be phenomenal.
Inviting your pension provider to deliver pension awareness sessions can be a simple yet impactful way to support your financial inclusion strategies.
If you are looking for any further inspiration attending conferences such as Wellbeing@Work event can support organisations evolving a holistic wellbeing program where colleagues can bring their authentic self to work.
Wellbeing strategies are an intrinsic part of our workplace culture, we all know the benefits of a healthy workforce are manifold. Building sustainable successful businesses requires us to place wellbeing at heart of our business strategy.