Now more than ever it is important to put wellbeing at the forefront of your business strategy. Working can sometimes have a negative effect on someone’s mental health but it can also have a very positive one as well. A supportive, inclusive workplace can help to prevent new mental health problems and support people struggling with their mental health to stay at work and thrive. There are many benefits to you in adopting a proactive and preventative approach to wellbeing in your workplace including:
- Increased staff commitment and productivity
- Better staff retention
- Reduced sick leave and absenteeism
- A more resilient workforce
- An enhanced reputation
As remote working blurs the line between work and life, business leaders should be prioritising employee wellbeing and mental health. During the pandemic, Health & Safety and HR have been particularly closely linked. For employees working from home and for those returning to the workplace, clear communication about and implementation of Covid-safe measures has been key to ensuring people feel confident to undertake their roles. Feeling ‘safe’ at work is important for overall employee wellbeing and satisfaction, as well as for reducing individual grievances. The HSE have provided guidance on workplace safety which can be found here.
Today, employee wellbeing has expanded beyond physical well-being to focus on building a culture of holistic wellbeing including physical, emotional, financial, social, career, community, and purpose. The CIPD have identified 7 key domains of employee wellbeing within their Growing the health and wellbeing agenda:
- Physical health – Health promotion, good rehabilitation practices, health checks, wellbeing benefits, health insurance protection, managing disability, occupational health support, employee assistance programme.
- Physical safety – Safe working practices, safe equipment, personal safety training.
- Mental health – Stress management, risk assessments, conflict resolution training, training line managers to have difficult conversations, managing mental ill health, occupational health support, employee assistance programme.
2. Good work
- Working environment – Ergonomically designed working areas, open and inclusive culture.
- Good line management – Effective people management policies, training for line managers, sickness absence management.
- Work demands – Job design, job roles, job quality, workload, working hours, job satisfaction, work-life balance.
- Autonomy – Control, innovation, whistleblowing.
- Change management – Communication, involvement, leadership.
- Pay and reward – Fair and transparent remuneration practices, non-financial recognition.
- Leadership – Values-based leadership, clear mission and objectives, health and wellbeing strategy, corporate governance, building trust.
- Ethical standards – Dignity at work, corporate social responsibility, community investment, volunteering.
- Inclusion and diversity – Valuing difference, cultural engagement, training for employees and managers.
- Employee voice – Communication, consultation, genuine dialogue, involvement in decision making.
- Positive relationships – Management style, teamworking, healthy relationships with peers and managers, dignity and respect.
5. Personal growth
- Career development – Mentoring, coaching, performance management, performance development plans, skills utilisation, succession planning.
- Emotional – Positive relationships, personal resilience training, financial wellbeing.
- Lifelong learning – Performance development plans, access to training, mid-career review, technical and vocational learning, challenging work.
- Creativity – Open and collaborative culture, innovation workshops.
6. Good lifestyle choices
- Physical activity – Walking clubs, lunchtime yoga, charity walks.
- Healthy eating – Recipe clubs, healthy menu choices in the canteen.
7. Financial wellbeing
- Fair pay and benefit policies – Pay rates above the statutory National Minimum/Living Wage, flexible benefits scheme.
- Retirement planning – Phased retirement such as a three- or four-day week, pre-retirement courses for people approaching retirement.
- Employee financial support- Employee assistance programme offering debt counselling, signposting to external sources of free advice (for example, Citizens Advice), access to independent financial advisers.
Employees’ desire to work for companies whose values align with their own will be an important criterion when selecting a new employer. Britain’s employers are struggling with the worst staff shortages since the late 1990s, amid the rush to reopen from lockdown and a sharp drop in overseas workers due to Covid and Brexit. The pandemic has given employers increased visibility into the life struggles of their employees and has shifted the focus from just organisational issues to individual human life experiences. Business leaders now view wellbeing not just as an employee benefit but as an opportunity to support employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives.
If you are an employer and are considering reviewing working hours or other working arrangements for your employees, ViewHR can help you navigate the process, identify solutions to meet the needs of the wider business and understand the employment law implications – please contact us for an initial discussion or call 01425 205390.