In recent years, the emotional and mental wellbeing of workers has entered the spotlight, but why is it so important?
The rise of mental health awareness dominated the 2010s, and is only set to gain more traction in 2020. From self-care to an increased understanding of those around us, mental health awareness has changed the way we conduct ourselves in every environment — including in the workplace.
This is especially true for employers, who are duty-bound to care for those they’ve hired to be part of their organisation.
The health and happiness of staff members can be the key to greater business success, but what exactly is employee wellbeing and how can you ensure it’s up to scratch in your business?
What is employee wellbeing?
Employee wellbeing is exactly as it sounds — making sure your team members are happy and motivated in and out of work. This means paying attention to both their physical and mental health, supporting them through a variety of initiatives and cultural changes.
From office design to talking things out, supporting employee health and wellbeing is vital to a productive, positive business environment. As an employer, you have a duty of care for your team – and this includes their mental as well as their physical wellbeing and safety.
The cost of mental health
The wellbeing of employees is a serious concern for many businesses. In fact, a government-based review, published in The Guardian, revealed that up to 300,000 people lose their jobs in the UK every year due to mental health issues.
Not only does this mean that the workforce is shrinking, but it’s also costing the economy around £99 billion a year.
Poor wellbeing among employees means lower retention rates, which means more time needed searching for new team members and training new staff. It can also mean that the staff you do have aren’t working at their highest level because they’re currently struggling with their own personal and emotional issues.
Taking the time to do more for your employees’ mental health can benefit both them and you in the long term.
What can you do?
There are numerous ways to lend support to your team members, from talking to them one-on-one to making changes to the workplace environment as a whole.
One of the most up-and-coming ways to boost wellbeing across your business is with the implementation of a wellbeing programme. This is a personalised plan you put in place to improve the worker experience for your organisation. It can include more teamwork, one-on-one discussions, rest days, career development opportunities and more – anything that resonates with your specific staff members and works for your business.
By 2017, more than 45% of businesses in the UK had implemented their own employee wellbeing strategies. The combination of wellness support and career development helps to create a more support and positive work environment for employees.
You can also make changes to the physical work environment. Natural light, greenery, collaborative spaces – these are all things that have been shown to increase motivation and morale among work staff.
In short, improving employee wellbeing is about showing your team members that you care about them as people; taking steps – small and large – to ensure that their experience within your business is a positive one.
The benefits of employee wellbeing
Not only is looking after your employee wellbeing a moral obligation for employers, but it can also provide benefits for your business.
Numerous research has shown that employees with better emotional wellbeing actually work harder. In fact, one study of 1,800 call centre workers studied happiness and productivity in staff members over a six-month period. The study, carried out by the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, found that staff members were on average 13% more productive during weeks when they self-reported as being very happy.
Happy employees are hard-working employees. They’re also more likely to stick around within your business for longer, meaning less time spent seeking out new staff and training up new team members.
What plans have you put in place to improve employee wellbeing in your business? This is your opportunity to make your organisation a more welcoming, energized and productive environment for both you and your staff.