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5 ways to improve health and wellbeing in your workplace

Supporting wellbeing in the workplace is beneficial for both employees and leaders alike. For employees, it boosts happiness, job satisfaction and promotes healthier living. For leaders, they often see better performance, improved retention rates and their brand’s hiring efforts become easier — who wouldn’t want to join a company that focuses on building health and wellbeing into their culture?

That being said, do you know how to introduce health and wellbeing to the workplace? Unfortunately, many organisations just claim to have conquered wellbeing at work, where others simply don’t know where to start. In this article, we’ve examined five ways that you can start taking health and wellbeing more seriously in your working environment as a starting point for further improvements.

Before we jump into things, take a look at Heka’s Q1 employee wellbeing trends report – covering everything from financial wellbeing, learning and development trends and more!

Examine your current wellbeing initiatives

Surprisingly, many initiatives and incentives in the workplace are underutilised, undervalued, and quite frankly, don’t have an impact on employee wellbeing. What many leaders fail to realise is that employee wellbeing must have an immediate impact – it’s not just something they ‘may or may not need’ in the future.

Gone are the days of ‘free coffee and tea’ and other barely relevant employee perks that employees don’t want. In the modern workplace, wellbeing initiatives must address the pain points and hurdles that life throws at us. And in today’s economic climate, financial wellbeing springs to mind.

Take a look at your current wellbeing initiatives. Are they inclusive of everyone in the workplace and do they address areas of life that people (particularly your workforce) want to improve? If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to carry out surveys and questionnaires. This will give you a better understanding of the employee wellbeing perks your team wants.

Regularly encourage and promote healthier, happier lifestyles

Sometimes in life, we all need that little push. A bit of motivation to inspire action. If you’re noticing a lack of uptake on your wellbeing initiatives, it’s time to ramp up your efforts to promote and motivate. Through one-on-one conversations, leaders should address personal wellbeing.

They should ask about the habits, practices and activities employees are doing outside of the workplace to improve health and wellbeing. While it sounds a little personal, having these discussions not only normalises wellbeing at work, but encourages employees to improve.

There are other simple steps employers can also take to encourage and promote healthier, happier lifestyles. For example, offering fruit in the office, and doing away with the vending machine are great places to start.

Generally, however, it’s about finding reasons and excuses for a lack of wellbeing and helping employees seek out solutions. If you know of certain employees that can’t make the gym after work for example, consider flexible working hours to help them achieve their fitness goals.

Improve the health and wellbeing skills of managers

Managers are responsible for ensuring team members are happy and healthy. However, not all managers understand the techniques and practices to help improve the health and wellbeing of employees.

By offering education around health and wellbeing, including things like supporting employees through emotional stress, you can dramatically improve wellbeing in the workplace. Of course, to an extent, we all know how to cheer our friends and family up from time to time – but understanding colleagues, and especially managing the morale of a team, is different.

There are multiple courses and workshops that employees can attend to improve their health and wellbeing support skills. From Udemy to The Open University, there are tons of resources, both paid and free, to increase health and wellbeing skills.

Lead with health and wellbeing data, not guesswork

The surest way to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace is not to guess what health and wellbeing means to your team. Many employers mistake wellbeing as being a one-size-fits-all practice; a set of initiatives that “probably” apply to everyone.

Take a moment to consider what makes you happier in day-to-day life. You’ll likely come up with a lot of ideas – and none quite like your colleagues. Some of us enjoy hitting the gym in the evening, whereas others enjoy reading. Some of us like to play a sport with friends, whereas others enjoy learning an instrument or a language.

Health and wellbeing are personal pursuits, and that’s the beauty of it. However, in the workplace, leaders must recognise this and lead with data, not guesswork. This means speaking directly with team members and asking them what it is that can improve their health and wellbeing.

Although wellbeing trends are a great thing to go off, they do however evolve over time, so we recommend including dedicated wellbeing questions on your employee surveys. You need real answers and insights to paint a picture of health and wellbeing solutions in your workplace.

Build health and wellbeing into your culture

Last but not least, health and wellbeing shouldn’t just exist in your employee benefits package, but it should be the lifeblood of your company culture. If you’re trying to promote health and happiness, offer great incentives and educate leaders, that’s all well and good, but alone it just won’t work.

Round up the rest of your leadership team and discuss new ideas for really driving home health and wellbeing. Whether it’s finishing earlier on a given day of the week, hosting a wellbeing Wednesday for your team or introducing flexible working, there are ample opportunities.

This will also give you the chance to ensure everyone in your leadership team is singing from the same hymn sheet. That everyone understands the true power of improving health and wellbeing in the workplace – including the positive difference it can make to things like retention, business performance, productivity and more.

Final note from us

Over the course of this post, we’ve highlighted 5 ways to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace. While they can exist alone, combining these five with other creative ideas will see your culture rapidly improve.

Hopefully, now, you have a greater outlook on the importance of health and wellbeing at work, and the various ways to begin improving it in the workplace.

Credit: Alex Hind is the CEO & Co-founder of Heka – an employee wellbeing platform based in the UK that offers employees thousands of wellbeing experiences, products and services.

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