The main elements at the heart of any business are the threshold in keeping employees happy and healthy at work. Employee well being is important in improving productivity and engagement in the workplace for happiness longevity. Promoting well being in the workplace requires a holistic and balanced approach. We look at the various elements and how you can do so.
What Is ‘Workplace Well Being’?
Well being in the workplace relates to all aspects of working life. This can range from psychological environmental factors that each play a part in promoting a happy and healthy workplace.
Feeling happy is part of our well being. Happiness is an internal element, it is not and should not be placed on external factors such as our job, relationships, lifestyle, and hobbies. However, these can enhance our internal happiness.
Feeling happy at work is important and is not something that should be neglected to reach various goals, targets or for the benefit of the business. Our overall happiness at work encapsulates psychological, social, financial, environmental and physical aspects that we will look at in more depth, later.
How Can I Improve My Well Being at Work?
In the same way, we are responsible for our physical health, we are responsible for our mental well being, in particular at work where many occurrences are out of our control. Here are some helpful tips to help manage and improve your well being.
Know Your Triggers
Workplace triggers can vary from person to person. For some, it may be tight deadlines, for others, it might be presenting in front of your boss on an important project. If you know what causes you to feel anxious and stressed, don’t run from it. Instead, tackle it head-on to find ways in which you can solve the issue or prevent it from happening in the future.
Know When to Switch Off
Working long hours, not taking breaks, or taking annual leave to recharge and recalibrate can be testing and wear on our mental health over time. It has been proven that being overworked is counterproductive, causes us to lack focus, lose our sense of purpose, and breaks down our overall job satisfaction.
Though shutting down your computer when work is finished may feel as though you’ve ‘switched off’, where are you at mentally once the working day is over? Manage your hours and how you spend your free time. Dedicating space to your children, exercising, and doing the things you enjoy contribute to how you feel in your professional life too.
Know When to Ask For Help
Talking about mental health concerns can be challenging and daunting, which is why breaking the stigma around mental health is vital to our growth. Look to colleagues and mentors within your organisation that you can turn to and ask for help on a project or to let them know you are struggling. Sometimes, an outsider’s advice can be the best thing for you.
If your business has Mental Health Champions or Mental Health First Aiders, these are a great source of support. Conversations are confidential and can only help to improve how you feel.
Nutrition and Exercise
Whether you’re at the office or you’ve finished work, be sure to maintain a healthy and balanced diet full of lots of fresh foods and low levels of alcohol. This helps keep our mind and body working in harmony to be the best that we can be.
Consistent and regular exercise is proven to help boost our physical and mental health in more ways beyond a desirable physique and abs. Exercise as simple as a 15-minute walk and being outdoors can boost how you feel mentally and help with focus and productivity.
How Can I Improve Employee Well Being?
Earlier we touched on the various aspects that help with well being at work. Below, we’ve broken down how each of the aforementioned can be implemented into a long-lasting well-being strategy in the workplace.
Our psychological well being at work revolves around our opportunities in the workplace in the form of learning and development as well as goal and target setting. It is important for both the employer and the employee to work towards varied targets to keep us challenged and valued.
Stress management can be done by regular monitoring of tasks and targets. Flexible working, frequent breaks, open discussions, and conversations can all help your employees in managing and preventing further stress and aim to prompt the de-stigmatisation of mental health. Here at Everymind, our mission is to improve the well being in the workplace, through our app. Giving users and businesses insight and helpful advice on how to better manage your mental health.
Many of us define how we live our lives by the job we do, that’s why it is important that at work we’re given a sense of purpose. A forward-thinking approach adopted in the workplace can help drive employees to have a bigger sense of belonging and purpose at work, which can also be balanced with a personal sense of purpose. By allowing diversity and celebrating exclusivity within your business, you add a personal touch to your team and workplace community.
Our mental health and well being exist far beyond what we work on internally. Our physical being is integral to mental health; it helps to build resilience and enables us to accomplish greater mental challenges. While meditation and journaling promote a positive mindset.
Taking care of our physical health is our responsibility, however, there are a number of ways the promotion of our physical health can be influenced by our employer. You could offer discounts to local gyms and yoga classes, or host on-site workouts during lunch. This incentivises even the most inactive of employees to sign up and helps us to bond with colleagues and keeps our mental health in check.
Alternatively, you can offer nutritional advice regularly within the office, run annual self-assessments with a health professional or offer occupational health support officer.
The relationships we build at work are vital to our professional growth and development. With stronger relationships, we have stronger self-esteem and heightened confidence in our abilities professionally. Some inter-team relationships can happen organically leading to socials and gatherings outside of the workplace. Others may find the social aspect of their jobs challenging due to personal commitment and lifestyle constraints, this is where you as an employer can help.
Think about how you can connect with your local community by setting up volunteering schemes or hosting events with local businesses that match and compliment your company’s mission. Working together on projects and challenges outside of the workplace adds value to your business and helps those within your internal community to connect and build relationships with one another.
The way you communicate within your business contributes to the well being of your employees and their overall job satisfaction. What kind of approach have your senior leaders adopted? Do you run quarterly or monthly meetings to update everyone on how the business is going? Line managers should always maintain a healthy rapport with their team to increase engagement and maintain job satisfaction.
Undeniably the salary stated in a job advert attracts us the most, but monetary compensation is not the be-all and end-all to our job satisfaction if other factors are not in check. While a promotion means a salary increase, financial benefits incentivise us to do better and challenge ourselves on our professional journey.
Other financial benefits you can offer to promote a happy workplace might involve attractive benefits such as fresh food and snacks throughout the week, discounted yoga or gym classes, allowing employees to take their birthday off, private medical health care, income protection if the individual falls ill and cannot return to work, and pension schemes.
The space in which we work is integral to how we feel whilst we’re working. Private spaces in offices are important for employees to make important calls, while open communal spaces help to build team relationships and enable working together as a unit and for employees to have downtime.
Not only does the environment include the office set up. The light, temperature, comfort and air quality that we work under all affect our productivity and focus. How is your office set up? Can you improve any of the above for colder temperatures, hot days, and dark or sunny days? Perhaps you can incorporate sustainable elements into the office environment through lighting systems, paperless procedures, and dotting plants around the desks and communal spaces for warmth.
The underlying element of a working environment is positive company culture. Predominantly, a positive culture filters down from senior leaders and is linked to the mission of your business. It is important to ensure these are inline and are communicated across the business so that employees feel included and can continue to resonate with your core values and beliefs on their career journey.
What Is The Key To Workplace Well Being?
The key to workplace well being is reducing its surrounding stigma. Those who suffer with mental health issues are often made worse by judgements and discrimination by others, such as family, friends, and at often times by an employer. Those with long term mental health issues can find it difficult to find work, stay in relationships or feel included in ‘mainstream’ society.
Society has generalised and stereotyped mental ill-health as something dangerous and a potential threat. Mental health for decades has been exacerbated by mainstream media leaving those who suffer, discriminated against. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone with mental health problems in the workplace. This is where you as an employer can make a difference.
Have Open Conversations
By encouraging open conversations, you are normalising the way your workplace and community feel and communicate about mental health. Personal issues can and must be spoken about in private, however regular conversations, marketing on posters, emails, and payslips surrounding the topic of mental health, should be obvious and open.
Well Being Forums
Create internal forums amongst colleagues that operate as an online or physical space for employees to talk openly. Senior leaders who share their stories and concerns with those around them lead by example, in the same way you might arrive promptly to a meeting or communicate efficiently. The same approach can be adopted in leading mental well being strategies.
Yoga and Meditation
Regular yoga and meditation presents itself as an effective healer of stress and mental ill-health. The benefits of both include lowering blood pressure, stress levels, anxiety and panic disorders.
Yoga in the workplace will create a calmer environment to ease everyday stress and concerns. This can be done through a combination of desk or mat yoga composed of stretches and core strengthening techniques. To compliment being active at work the breathing techniques in yoga and meditation to promote relaxation.
How Do You Improve Mental Well Being When Working From Home?
Businesses worldwide have recently adopted a work-from-home approach since the outbreak of COVID-19. Whilst working from home has its positives there are also some drawbacks that include lack of social interaction, low reliability, and loss of motivation and focus.
With less face to face contact, employees’ well being are challenged. Working from home requires careful navigation and new and improved strategies.
Ensure Employees Switch Off
When we work from home, it’s difficult to define when the workday ends because we sense an internal expectation to always remain ‘connected’ and available. As managers, ensure your teams stick to regular hours to help maintain a work-life balance. Flexibility is important to sometimes fit a colleague’s schedule by starting early or working later to finish a paper, however, encourage employees to balance this out with an early finish another day.
You can collate data for this by running surveys regularly to ensure employees understand the importance of a work-life balance.
Weekly Zoom calls can be unbearingly painful with connection glitches and accidental muting however they are a fantastic way for remote teams to stay connected. Perhaps you can start your calls asking your team three things they are grateful for that day or week. An exercise like this inspires others around them and allows us to be present and positive at work.
Have Walking Calls
Need to have a catch up with a member of your team? Instead of sitting at your home desks in isolation, head out for a walk. Not only does this help pump fresh air into your lungs, it offers a chance of scenery and a break away from the same four walls.
As a manager, it is important to be present for your team for support and guidance, particularly when working remotely. Unlike working together in the office, we don’t have the accessibility to ask simple questions in the moment. Over-communicate to establish where you’re both at, let them know you’re available and answer to your team’s needs in the best way you can.
We might not be together at the office and social activities now feel like a thing of the past however working in isolation can breed loneliness and disconnection. Arrange meetups of run virtual quizzes and coffee roulette to pair colleagues together who might not have socialised together before.
Check-In On Their Mental Health
Catch up meetings don’t have to always be work-related. Not seeing one another leads us to assume how someone might be feeling. Check-in on your employees to find out how they are feeling at home and how you might be able to help. The Everymind app is a great tool to implement for remote working and ensuring employees look after their mental well being whilst working from home.
Activities To Improve Well Being At Work
If you’re looking for some ideas to implement at work for well being, here are 12 activities you can encourage your employees to get involved with to improve their well being.
- Encourage teamwork
- Conduct walking meetings
- Conduct gratitude sessions
- Conduct volunteer days
- Take part in team-building days/sessions
- Host weekly healthy lunches together
- Have happy-hour on Friday afternoons
- Offer early finishes on Fridays during summer
- Host team fitness challenges
- Offer flexible working hours
- Offer learning and development opportunities
- Offer mentorship schemes
Everymind is currently offering 3 months free trial to businesses for use of our app. After the 3 months, you are not obliged to sign. If you would like more information, feel free to get in touch.