Future of work

3 ways to improve workplace wellness

As the pandemic hit, so did a rise in wellness related workplace issues. Discover why and learn 3 tips on how to improve workplace wellness. Learn everything you need to know on workplace wellness.

Ivor Colson

As the pandemic hit, so did a rise in wellness related workplace issues. These issues, largely left untreated, resulted in the manifestation of two workplace problems - presenteeism and leaveism.

Presenteeism, the act of showing up for work without being productive, is currently widespread. Earlier this year, the CIPD found that 84% of their respondents observed presenteeism in the workplace.

Similarly, the CIPD found that 70% observed some form of leaveism over the past 12 months, which often means working outside contracted hours or using holiday entitlement when they are too unwell to work.

Many employees feel like they can’t switch off, and it is taking its toll: mental health is the top cause of long-term absence, with musculoskeletal injuries second.

So what can companies do to improve workplace wellness? This article takes a look at what workplace wellness is, its link to company performance and 3 tips on how companies can improve the health and wellbeing of their teams.

What is workplace wellness?

When we talk about workplace wellness for an individual, we’re referring to that person’s overall health and happiness at work. Similarly, when referring to companies, it is the overall health and happiness of their entire workforce.

Workplace wellbeing is rising up the agenda as mental health is beginning to be taken more seriously, as one in six workers suffer from a mental health condition. Companies have put additional measures in place to support their employees in response to COVID-19.

Why is it becoming a serious issue for leaders? Senior leaders are obviously concerned about overall productivity, and the correlation between employee happiness and company performance is becoming clearer and clearer.

The link between workplace wellness and company performance

Alongside the immediate health benefits of workplace wellness on an individual, a successful strategy has also been proven to have direct benefits on company productivity.

It's been shown that when employees and team members are happy and healthy, they have a higher morale, which leads to higher productivity. Consequently, presenteeism and absenteeism are also both significantly reduced. Simply put - when teams are happy and treated well, they are at their most productive.

However, according to CIPD, although over 60% of senior leaders have increased the importance of wellbeing on their agenda, only 47% have a wellbeing strategy. Could that be because they do not know how to put wellbeing tactics in place?

What can you do to improve you and your company’s workplace wellness?

We conducted a bit of research to help teams tackle this problem and improve their workplace wellbeing. Here are three tips to improve workplace wellbeing:

Encourage regular breaks:

Proper breaks are an effective way to boost your wellbeing and productivity. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, and can even help maintain performance throughout the day. Other studies have shown that the brain can only work 90-120 minutes before it needs a break. Companies can promote breaks by encouraging team members to get involved in a range of physical activities, providing healthy snacks and promoting water cooler breaks for remote and on-site staff.

Provide mental health support:

Providing teams with support for their mental wellbeing is invaluable. Everyday demands and stress can put enormous pressure on our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic brought this to the forefront. Companies like our friends at MindHug, do a great job in providing wellbeing workshops, therapies and events for teams. Providing easy access to resources and preventative measures can guide teams onto a path of wellbeing and happiness through knowledge sharing and support. Why not give your people access to a 24/7 confidential helpline and free sessions with a qualified therapist?

Promote physical wellbeing:

It is no surprise that by promoting and including physical wellbeing activities, the health and reduction of leavism and presenteeism is reduced. Companies can encourage walking and jogging groups, fitness classes, gym memberships for their teams to join on breaks or before and after work. Providing showers can encourage healthy activity. Hybrid working can also help teams live more active lifestyles, as they can replace the commute with an activity of their choice. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has adopted this well and set up various fitness groups to help people get involved in activities like cycling and yoga.

Our take:

Wellness programs support individuals not only at work, but also their personal lives. When the correct measures are introduced, employees feel more connected, a clear improvement in health, and their happiness increases. For many companies, introducing simple tactics can have a seismic impact on workplace wellbeing across physical, mental and work day habits.

It is becoming essential for employers to bring these measures in: they are directly linked to higher team engagement levels, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, along with improved morale and productivity. What’s more, the fight for talent in the workplace is hugely competitive, and an effective workplace wellness strategy can make you stand out from the crowd.

There are many solutions and tactics that can be employed quickly and simply in-house, and there is a large pool of well being-focussed companies that offer impactful programmes at a reasonable cost.

So, what are you waiting for?