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Why employee wellbeing is important

In recent years employee wellbeing has been brought to the forefront of the corporate agenda. The pandemic has further highlighted the growing importance of wellbeing in the workplace, with more businesses beginning to invest in ways to take care of their employees. Workplace wellbeing not only benefits those who work for the company, but also the company itself. There are studies that prove the direct link between employee wellbeing and performance with evidence showing a healthy and happy workforce is more productive, motivated and engaged.

What is employee wellbeing?

Employee wellbeing incorporates all aspects of wellbeing, rather than just taking care of employees when they are sick. Instead, wellbeing at work is about optimising both mental and physical health, giving your staff a more well-rounded and happier lifestyle.

Creating a wellbeing strategy can take time. It’s important that you understand how to effectively look after your employees’ health and use strategies that they find useful.

These strategies only work if the wellbeing initiatives are represented from the top down. This can start with simple actions, such as making sure your employees are taking breaks away from their desks or encouraging staff to stick to their working hours rather than doing extra to get something finished. While having the policy in place is helpful, it needs to be shown to staff that it is more than just for show, but is actually a cause you believe in.

Why is wellbeing important in the workplace?

With the average full-time employee working around 37 hours a week, our work life has a big impact on our general happiness. Businesses need to create an environment that encourages, educates and enables employees to put their wellbeing at the centre of their lives. 

When you include benefits that make a difference to the wellbeing of your employees, you are also likely to see improvements in performance. Having the right health and wellbeing strategy has the power to improve employee engagement, lower your absence rates and increase productivity within the workplace. Companies that don’t have a thorough workplace wellbeing plan are at risk of having lower productivity and an unhappy workforce.

Neglecting wellbeing can lead to presenteeism. It can be caused by both physical and mental health issues or the fact that employees are not motivated or engaged with the company. There is still a stigma around calling in sick for work, which also leads to presenteeism. Nearly 40% of employees don’t tell their manager the real reason for their absence when calling in sick because they’re afraid of being judged or disbelieved. It’s important to communicate to your employees that their wellbeing is a top priority, giving time off when needed so they can recover properly. 

What are the benefits of supporting your employees' wellbeing?

Having an effective workplace wellbeing strategy offers great benefits to your business as well as your employees. Not only do you have a happier workforce, but there are a number of other aspects that come into play: 

  • Increased staff productivity - Showing your staff that you value and listen to their needs makes them more likely to engage in work. 

  • Better staff retention - Creating loyalty and care for employees makes them less likely to look for alternative jobs.

  • Reduced sick leave and absenteeism - Staff who feel their wellbeing needs are being met are more likely to return from sick leave on time.

  • A happier workforce - Having the right mental health and wellbeing strategies in place can help to stop problems from escalating.

  • An enhanced reputation - People are more interested in working for companies that put the wellbeing of their staff as one of their top priorities.

How do you improve workplace wellbeing?

Improve the focus on mental wellbeing

Taking care of your employees’ mental health is essential for looking after your staff. People often feel ashamed to talk about their experience of mental health as some people continue to consider it as less important than physical health, so it’s essential your employees know you understand the difficulties people face. 

We offer a range of solutions to help ensure you’re looking after your staff's mental wellbeing. From offering wellbeing workshops led by experienced coaches, to online training courses for mental health first aiders, we can provide you with the means needed to make sure you’re supporting your staff and showing them their mental health is important to the company. 

Offer a more flexible workplace

In the spirit of offering a more balanced lifestyle, allowing flexibility in the workplace can have a positive impact on your employees. As we already mentioned, we spend a lot of time at work, but this doesn’t mean it should get in the way of the other important things that make up a balanced lifestyle. Being able to plan your working day around other important factors, such as the school run or a private appointment you have, makes that work-life balance a lot easier to handle. 

Encourage a more active lifestyle

According to research by the British Heart Foundation, adults of working age in England average about 9.5 hours per day of sedentary time. People who spend long periods sitting have been found to have higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Workplace active spaces promote living a more active lifestyle, giving your employees easy access to fitness. You can also encourage people to be more active by introducing incentives to get out and step more or suggesting walking meetings with your team. 

Include access to health services 

Giving your employees access to healthcare is a great way to improve workplace wellbeing. We offer health cash plans and private health insurance for businesses, to provide your workforce with access to faster treatment and assistance in paying for essential healthcare. Offering your employees access to healthcare helps to reduce the number of sick days. It also assists in paying for essential services, such as eye tests or dental checkups, that they might otherwise avoid due to the cost.

Workplace wellbeing with Westfield Health

Company culture and the way that an organisation is run has a huge impact on employees. Creating a culture of wellbeing is much more than just ticking the boxes of what you think makes a happy workplace. Instead, all elements of wellbeing must be taken into account.

At Westfield Health we offer wellbeing plans for businesses of all types, sizes and budgets. Find out more about how to begin working on your strategy by reading our health and wellbeing toolkit or get in touch with our friendly team to talk more about our solutions.

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