Although many are aware of the concept of “wellbeing”, very few people understand it properly, or at least, neglect to put it into practice. Despite being a popular topic nowadays, it is not uncommon to witness organisations taking a linear approach to employee wellbeing.
For example, you might find that a company is claiming to practise wellbeing, perhaps in the form of ordering in fruit for the office, or sending colleagues on regular team building or development programmes. While any effort to prioritise the health of your employees is a positive step, a true transformation will only be achieved through taking a 360 degree approach to workplace wellbeing.
Stress is systemic; it doesn’t just affect one area of your life, and it can have an incredibly big impact on all aspects of both physical and mental health. This can be influenced by a number of factors, both in and outside of the workplace, and these affect everyone differently. Therefore, any approach to wellbeing in the workplace needs to be systemic in line with the nature of stress.
What Are the Impacts of Stress On Your Business?
Do you know the true cost of mental health problems in the workplace? According to recent studies, in the UK stress accounts for 47% of short term and 53% of long term absences. In addition, presenteeism (being physically present but mentally or physically unwell) has been recognised as a problem by a whopping 72% of employers in the past 12 months.
As well as having a direct impact on the individual suffering, stress has a knock-on effect on those around them, therefore affecting your business as a whole. Overall, stress is believed to have cost the British economy over £6.5 billion in 2017.
How Do I Create a Workplace Wellbeing Strategy?
There is no one size fits all approach to wellbeing; every individual has different stressors and different coping mechanisms. This is why a systemic approach is imperative, and before you are able to create an effective wellbeing strategy all factors must be considered.
Individual factors will be vast and varied, and may revolve around personal, family or lifestyle issues, financial stresses, chronic illness or emotional problems. Inside the workplace, health and wellbeing of your employees can be affected by team dynamics, workload, company culture, job insecurity and dangerous working conditions, to name a few.
The first step is to determine what is causing stress for your team members. One of the most effective ways to do this is by conducting a wellbeing audit, and, where indicated, psychometric profiling too. This will allow you to determine not only why someone is stressed, but also how they are likely to deal with it according to their personality type.
Once you have identified the most prominent hows and whys, you can begin looking into ways in which you can tackle the problem(s), and prevent burnout before the issue starts having a snowball effect on the rest of your organisation.
Approaches to Enhance Workplace Wellbeing
There are a number of possible approaches to a wellbeing strategy, and what you opt for will be dependent on your specific circumstances.
Mindfulness workshops for example can be very effective at tackling stress management as well as binge eating – a common but rarely considered behaviour which is thought to cost an average company of 1,000 employees approximately £87,000 a year in lost productivity. An on-site massage service is commonly used to alleviate physical and mental tension – great for those who have physically exerting or mentally challenging roles.
Restorative yoga is a popular option for office workers who spend long hours working in front of a screen, and can be teamed with nutritional support programmes to help employees maintain energy levels, and reduce stress and presenteeism.
Stress management and burnout prevention workshops are designed to tackle the root of a problem, and provide effective, actionable solutions to help employees deal with whatever issue is causing them stress. These workshops are also a great opportunity for managers to get to know their employees better, which can be useful in the future for identifying warning signs of stress in the early stages.
Team development programmes combat organisational issues which are affecting the whole team. These programmes focus on enhancing communication skills and building healthy team dynamics, which go a long way in targeting poor motivation, bad concentration and physical and mental exhaustion – all of which have a direct impact on wellbeing and productivity.
Combat Stress Before It’s Too Late
It’s time for a shift in the workplace paradigm. As the population lives longer and the average retirement age increases, it is more important than ever that businesses of all sizes start taking a 360 degree approach to workplace wellbeing. Reap rewards in the form of healthier, happier and more engaged employees, and higher rates of productivity that drive your business forward instead of holding you back.
Take the first steps to looking after your most precious assets – get in touch to see how we can help.