In decades gone by, workplace wellbeing was a concept that was pushed to the bottom of the priority pile – below things like meeting deadlines and making as much profit as possible. These days, however, an increasing amount of emphasis is being put on the physical and mental health of staff and the provisions employers put in place to nurture this.
As we spend more and more time ‘at the office’ and the lines between professional and private lives become increasingly blurred, our wellbeing becomes significantly more important.
According to figures released earlier this year by the Centre for Mental Health, UK companies are losing around £34.9 billion in productivity on account of mental health issues.
What’s more, the 2017 Health & Safety Executive statistics revealed that in 2016/2017 there were more than 31 million working days lost in the UK due to work-related ill health. Nearly 9 million of these days were a direct result of musculoskeletal problems which could be caused by poor office furniture and spending too much time sitting down.
So, whether you’re the CEO of an international conglomerate or the brains behind a brand-new start-up venture, it’s time to start putting the health of your staff first. We’ve put together some advice on how to improve wellbeing in the workplace to get you started.
Introduce flexible working initiatives
You don’t need us to tell you that the traditional 9-5 working day is dissolving at a rate of knots to make way for more modern approaches.
This includes flexibility in working hours in order to cater to demands of the personal lives of staff. Allowing employees to work flexibly will lower stress levels, increase motivation and help reduce absenteeism.
Facilitate a more physical work environment
Whether it’s sit-stand desks or access to gym facilities or exercise classes, make sure you’re encouraging your staff to move more. Of course, for large companies with big budgets this is much easier but even as a small business, increasing physical activity throughout the day is possible.
Try holding walking meetings outdoors or starting a lunch time running club.
Hold regular reviews
As humans, we like to have a target to work towards or a goal to achieve. Without this, we lack purpose which is a one-way ticket to low motivation and poor mental health.
Holding regular personal reviews will enable you to keep each member of staff focused and motivated, as well as giving you the opportunity to be transparent about where the company is headed and about financial matters.
Reconsider your workspace design
Another thing to consider as part of a longer-term plan is the design of your workspace. For example, providing areas with soft seating and the appropriate technology where staff can collaborate casually will go a long way to boosting job satisfaction and productivity.
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share on improving physical health or mental wellbeing in the workplace, leave them in the comments below or come and join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.
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