Why workplace wellbeing is important

Published on 2021-11-02

Workplace wellbeing may seem like an industry buzzword that doesn’t mean anything, but for businesses that adopt a culture of improving and nurturing it, there can be great results. If you are always looking for ways to improve your business, read on to discover the benefits of workplace wellbeing and how to work towards enhancing it.

Two happy workers sitting together

Why is workplace wellbeing important?

What are the benefits of improving your workplace’s wellbeing?

Increased staff morale and productivity

Happier staff will equal increased staff morale and productivity. When workers feel more content in their job roles and more comfortable in their business, they’ll be more willing to offer suggestions, go above and beyond and help out where needed. Creating a business where respect for a worker’s wellbeing is paramount will mean that workers will also show the same level of respect back.

Talking about how a focus on wellbeing can help, the team at WSM Wellbeing, a wellbeing solutions company in the UK, explain: “It’s never been more critical for business and HR leaders to address head-on the mental wellbeing of their teams. 45% of sickness absence is directly related to mental health, and up to 300,000 people with mental health problems lose their jobs each year. Improving workplace wellbeing can have fantastic results. For example, our services have led to a 74% return to work rate for staff off sick due to stress, anxiety or depression, and we usually see a 90% increase in collective mental health throughout an organisation as a consequence of our help.”

Increased staff retention

Just as a happier workforce will be more productive, they will also be more likely to want to stay in a business that treats them right. There are many reasons that people leave their jobs, however, by prioritising staff wellbeing and mental health you can eliminate a big one. This is especially true after the pandemic, as people reflect on how they felt they were treated during the unrest. Talking to the BBC, Alison Omens, chief strategy officer of JUST Capital who completed a survey on employee turnover during the pandemic said: “Our data over the years has always shown that the thing people care about most is how companies treat their employees.”

Omens continued that in the wake of the pandemic, “the intensity has increased in terms of that expectation; people are expecting more from companies. The early days of the pandemic reminded us that people are not machines”, says Omens. “If you’re worried about your kids, about your health, financial insecurity and covering your bills, and all the things that come with being human, you’re less likely to be productive. And we were all worried about those things.”

An inclusive and more diverse workplace

By creating a workspace that focuses on wellbeing and being accessible to all, you’ll end up having a more inclusive and more diverse workforce. By making your business accessible to a wider range of people, you will have a broader perspective to approach every problem with, resulting in coming up with solutions you may never have thought of alone.

Talking more on the benefits of improving workplace wellbeing, the team from Mental Health at Work, curated by mental health charity MIND, explains: “The fact is, we all have mental health and, just like physical health, it can go up and down. Work is a huge part of our lives, and it’s quite possible for our job and our colleagues to be part of what keeps us well, as well as supporting us when things are tough. The last year or two has brought mental health to the forefront like never before – and potential recruits are looking beyond just salary and thinking about whether a workplace will actually be good for them. This is the perfect moment to really look at wellbeing – and making a start doesn’t have to be difficult.”

Restaurant staff meeting

How to improve workplace wellbeing

The benefits of focusing on improving workplace wellbeing are many, but what is the best way to do this?

Be receptive to feedback

One of the easiest ways that you can help improve workplace wellbeing is to offer a forum for staff to voice their concerns and ensure that you are being receptive to that feedback. When staff tell you what is hindering their performance or what might make them happier in the workplace, it’s them looking to you as a leader and giving you the opportunity to improve everyone’s experience. Make sure that you follow up on all feedback given, even if it’s to explain why it won’t be possible at this time. Making sure your staff feel heard and respected is of the utmost importance.

Make time for social breaks

Social breaks can be really brilliant for staff morale and bringing the workforce closer together. Having an ‘always-on’ attitude in the workplace can easily lead to staff burnout and mean that people are distant from one another as they focus solely on their work. Having planned social breaks, like coffee breaks and informal meetings can mean that staff get some time in the day to relax and regroup and are also able to connect with their peers. It may just be a conversation about what’s been on TV or the weather but it’s a way for staff to learn more about one another and become more comfortable with one another, whilst taking their mind away from their workload.

Ensure everyone is comfortable

Just as social breaks can make people more comfortable, making sure the office or workspace is comfortable for them as well can make a big difference. Ask yourself, is the space we have catering to every member of staff? Some may have specific needs that mean you have to adapt, for example, bringing in public lifts for staff who aren’t comfortable or able to use the stairs. Making sure staff feel comfortable and welcome in their workspace means they don’t need to spend their mental energy trying to get themselves in the right headspace to work.

Improving staff wellbeing is incredibly beneficial for a multitude of reasons and can be easily achieved with some changes in the workplace. It can be easy to focus solely on numbers when running a business, but dedicating time to your staff and improving their working experience can have knock-on positive effects all around the business.

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