In today’s world of work, employee wellbeing is one of the foremost concerns for any good business leader. Considering the amount of time spent at work, it is crucial to have a positive work environment that supports and encourages wellbeing.
A clear strategy to improve workplace wellbeing can benefit an organization’s future. Fostering positive mental health at work can directly impact employee retention, productivity, engagement, and medical spending.
The American Worker Mental Health Survey reported that 81% of participants had mental health issues related to the pandemic. 65% of respondents said mental health issues are affecting their ability to work, and 40% are dealing with burnout. These problems can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, and disability at work.
Discover 8 ways to improve wellbeing in the workplace
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative # 1: Promote mental and emotional health awareness
The COVID-19 crisis has raised the risk of more people experiencing behavioral health conditions. According to a mental health care study by McKinsey, COVID-19 could result in a potential 50%increase in the prevalence of behavioral health conditions.
Due to the increasing number of people talking about mental health issues in the workplace, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach is being redefined and becoming “do ask, do tell, let’s talk.” There is a growing revolution in how organizations interpret, understand, and address mental health.
Take action: Create a mentally and emotionally safe workplace
There are several ways to promote and increase overall wellbeing in the workplace. Start by balancing work demands for your employees, this will lead to a happier and less stressed workforce. Follow with a supportive work environment that rewards and recognizes successes.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #2: Plan for stress management and support
Work-related stress has continuously increased since Covid-19 started. According to Ginger Data, 96% of CEOs believe their companies are doing what’s needed for their employees’ mental health, but only 69% of employees agree. Furthermore, 48% of workers experienced high to extreme stress over the past year.
These high stress levels possibly come from heavy workloads, lack of work-life balance, financial and global economic uncertainty, personal health concerns, and other prevailing challenges like transitioning to a hybrid work environment.
It is crucial to target this issue, as when stress is overlooked and untreated, it can lead to serious physical and mental health issues, like anxiety and depression.
Take action: How to reduce workplace stress.
One of the most common and successful ways of helping workers with work-related and personal stress is by offering them and their families access to coaching. This can considerably help them deal with and overcome these issues.
Additionally, you can implement flexible work schedules, encourage employees to take breaks during their workday, and have more social activities.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #3: Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)
In 2020, unemployment rates for disabled people rose by 8%. The unemployment rate for black, Latino, and Hispanic people is higher than the national average of 3.7%. Furthermore, even as women are expected to make up almost 50% of the workforce by 2024, their wages are still 82% of those of men.
It is clear that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is still a work in progress and has a long way to go. One of the most important factors that businesses need to consider to improve their employee wellbeing is DE&I. This is essential to foster an inclusive and positive workplace, which highly contributes to employees’ wellbeing and health.
Take action: Build a working environment where everyone belongs
Provide comprehensive DE&I training for all your team members. If you already have a strong strategy in place, make sure you often reinforce DE&I values within your organization. Increase coaching to fight unconscious bias, and finally measure progress constantly to see if your DE&I strategy is working or needs adaptation.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #4: Build a comfortable workplace
Having a comfortable and pleasant work environment can help with an individual’s mental health at work. It leads to higher productivity and better employee retention. Employee satisfaction studies show that investing in an attractive and comfortable working environment can lighten the mood of your employees, help them better focus, and enjoy their workplace more, all leading to better employee satisfaction, higher productivity, and success.
Take action: Ways to improve your work environment
Simple ways to improve your physical workspace include using visual stimuli, such as surrounding workers with pale blue and green colors for less stress and higher focus and stronger shades for better creativity.
Having plants in your office can help reduce stress and stimulate higher serotonin levels within workers. Finally, different sounds also play a role in helping workers with their general comfort at work. Provide separate spaces within the office, some quiet areas for work and others that encourage noise, conversation, and interactive brainstorming.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #5: Offer benefits that drive positive mental health
Incorporating benefits that encourage positive mental health into your benefits package can significantly impact the overall wellbeing of your employees. Leaders are realizing the importance of digital mental health solutions, therefore demand for these is rapidly increasing. Yet, despite these efforts, 27% of U.S. employees want their employer to give them additional support for mental health and burnout at work.
There are many app-based programs that give individuals access to quick tips and tricks, tutorials, and videos to improve their mental health in fun ways. For instance, some companies offer premium access to meditation apps, like Headspace and Calm. This helps employees with stress, anxiety, and overcoming burnout.
Take action: Wellbeing benefits are more than just perks
Besides including digital programs like headspace within your benefits package, there are other mental health resources to provide for your workers. For example, you can offer a confidential 24/7 support helpline for anyone who might need emotional help in or out of office hours.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #6: Foster strong relationships with managers
A positive manager-employee relationship is essential for employee engagement and the organization’s future growth. Fostering a positive and strong relationship between a workforce and their leader is key for productivity and cooperation among workers.
Managers have the power to change their employees lives for the good, as they are the direct contact between employees and higher executives. They can make a difference in their health and wellbeing just by having open conversations that encourage learning and team-building opportunities.
Take action: Build workplace trust
To improve manager-employee relationships, you need to have a practical strategy in place. As part of that strategy, some significant actions to consider are open communication, a good conflict resolution plan, and a powerful feedback method.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #7: Provide wellbeing and resilience coaching
Coaching can help individuals achieve better wellbeing both professionally and personally. A good coaching program serves as a customizable tool to help your workforce overcome obstacles and reach their goals better and faster.
Digital coaching gives individuals the necessary tools to adopt positive psychology and detach from harmful thinking patterns and self-limiting beliefs. It helps employees understand themselves better to build higher self-confidence and resilience.
Take action: Offer coaching for employee wellbeing
Give your employees access to digital coaching to help them manage work stress, and enjoy better job satisfaction, work engagement, and personal happiness. Consider CoachHub to help manage and engage employees to find actionable solutions in the workplace.
Workplace Wellbeing Initiative #8: Encourage time away from work
Time off from work is crucial for balancing your professional career and personal life. Creating a health and wellbeing culture includes supporting and encouraging workers to take time for themselves.
Today, there are several new ways employers can facilitate time off. Some organizations implement the ‘unlimited PTO’ approach, which can sometimes be counterproductive as employees do not take time off. A better way of promoting PTO is leading by example.
Take action: Normalize taking time to be away from work.
McKinsey & Company considers PTO one of the most important benefits for their workers. They give 20-30 mandatory days off a year. Other companies give specific incentives to their employees to take time off. For example, at CoahHub we implemented CoachHub4Good day, a day to spend volunteering with a non-profit organization chosen based on your individual passions.
Finally, after the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations have started to implement the 4-day work week model as a way of more than encouraging, giving their employees an extra personal day each week of the year.
Bottom line: Prioritize workplace wellbeing today
There is an urgent need for organizations to step beyond their traditional norms and develop a framework geared toward supporting employee wellbeing. Today’s business leaders need to make workplace wellbeing a top priority. They must understand the value of their people and challenge traditional work norms to build a better and healthier work environment. This can be done by developing programs that are designed to promote a culture based on the workforce as the number one investment.
Companies that work towards that goal and use creativity to implement new strategies that boost employee experience have a competitive advantage as the world of work reshapes post-pandemic.