Workplace wellbeing is becoming a key concern for businesses of all sizes, and for good reason. A recent report, commissioned by the Prime Minister, outlines the true cost of mental health in the workplace and calls on businesses of all sizes to take action.

Workplace wellbeing is essential for businesses to thrive. The equation is simple – happy, healthy employees are more productive, work better in teams and produce better outcomes, ultimately driving higher profit margins and taking businesses to the next level.

Looking to make workplace wellbeing a priority next year? Here are five workplace wellbeing trends set to take 2018 by storm.

Standing desks officially take off

workplace wellbeing, business, health Standing desks have taken off in a big way in the US, with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) calling standing desks the “fastest growing employee benefit in the United States.”

The time people spend sitting at their desks is causing a range of issues, including depression, obesity and musculoskeletal problems. This is, in many ways, a lifestyle that is more unhealthy than smoking. Standing desks offer the solution by allowing employees movement in their days with a mixture of sitting and standing. Employers could go even further by encouraging regular stretching and facilitating in-work restorative yoga classes.

Tackling stress differently

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently called stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. In fact, one study found an average of 11.7 million working days are lost each year due to stress related absence, costing the British economy almost £6.5 billion in 2015/2016. This is exacerbated by the lack of stress management training the majority of line managers are given, impacting not only the individuals but the organisations in which they work.

Businesses look set to take a different approach in 2018. We believe mindfulness and meditation will become a larger part of corporate culture, having a positive impact on employee productivity. By practising mindfulness every day, employees will have a heightened awareness and ability to focus, be more productive and make more effective decisions.

Healthy vending machines

Vending machines are making a comeback in the office of 2018. They are a quick and easy way to pick up a snack or drink at work during busy times, although traditionally have also encouraged unhealthy snacking and comfort eating. Thankfully, businesses across the UK are taking a more innovative approach by creating healthy vending options.

Introducing healthy vending machines should be accompanied by nutritional workshops for employees so they understand the full value of choosing healthier food options. If you already have vending machines that sell chocolate, crisps and other less healthy snacks, it would be worth keeping this so as not to alienate employees or make them feel healthy food is being forced upon them. The key here is to educate and guide rather than pressure.

Looking more closely at sleep

Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to burnout in the workplace and is an issue employers will begin looking more closely at in the coming year. Employers can tackle this important issue through formal sleep awareness and education programmes, as well incentive programmes that track employee’s sleep and give points and encouragement towards sleep goals.

We also expect to see more nap rooms and sleep pods springing up around more forward-thinking offices as a way to give employees a break and to boost productivity.

Digital detox

Many of us feel we are unable to switch off, even when it’s the weekend or we are on holiday. However, not having clear boundaries around work and personal time can lead to burnout, leaving employees less effective at work or unable to work at all.

Businesses looking to tackle issues relating to burnout should consider encouraging employees to get away from their desks and disconnect from all technology at lunchtimes. You can also create a culture that supports digital detoxing and prevents employees feeling guilty when they take time out for themselves.

Work burnout, caused by heightened stress levels, is becoming increasingly common. In fact, stress is currently one of the biggest contributors to employee absence. Make burnout prevention a key focus for your business and significantly boost productivity levels of your teams.

Are you looking to make workplace wellbeing a key focus of your 2018? Get in touch to see how we can help.

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