Top 7 Ways to Improve Workplace Wellbeing
Here we take a look at 7 highly effective ways to improve workplace wellbeing and the dramatic difference this can make to the health of a business.
Improving workplace wellbeing is great for employees: it lowers levels of stress and anxiety and encourages a happier, more hopeful outlook. However it’s great for employers also: it reduces absenteeism and raises engagement, productivity and loyalty to the company. It also makes it easier to attract and retain the best talent. And furthermore it helps curb rising healthcare costs. In this blog we’ll look at 7 highly effective ways to improve workplace wellbeing; and show, through statistics, how dramatic of a difference this can make to the health of a business.
A majority of today’s workforce describes themselves as “disengaged”. This disengagement is costing businesses many billions. And the best solution to this problem, is to invest in raising employees’ wellbeing. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) companies offering wellness programs have reported a 67% increase in employee satisfaction, a 66% increase in productivity and a 63% increase in financial sustainability and growth. Likewise, those same employers also reported a 50% decrease in absenteeism.
To put things in simple financial terms: according to Forbes, highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable than disengaged ones. So here are our 7 ways to raised wellbeing and engagement levels.
1. Workplace Wellness Programs
It’s important to have an overarching, holistic wellbeing program (every other idea on this list can be incorporated into this). This might include guided yoga and meditation classes, or stress management seminars, or even the provision of an onsite fitness centre. It’s also good practice to provide extensive resources and information on how to better look after one’s wellbeing and general health, and to disseminate these through a company website or regular email newsletters. The bottom line is this:
Investing in workplace wellness programs gives an average return of 3.27; which means that for every dollar invested in these programs, companies save an average of $3.27 in reduced healthcare and related costs.
2. Sports Days
Offering free exercise classes or after-work sports is great for health and morale too. Gym memberships for staff could also be subsidized. Similarly, managers might also want to organize fitness competitions, or spontaneous events like a daytime “flash walk”; taking everybody out for a walk together can generate a huge amount of positive energy and motivation.
According to the American Psychological Association, in workplaces where management encourages wellbeing efforts, 91% of staff say they’re motivated to perform their best at their roles. Similarly, 89% of staff at such companies are more likely to recommend them as good places to work.
3. Healthy Apps
Mindfulness meditation helps to clear one’s mind of worries and anxiety. Practised regularly, it leaves staff more hopeful and satisfied and better able to concentrate at work. Apps are particularly useful for this kind of meditation, and a growing number of companies subsidize employees’ subscriptions to personal mindfulness apps like Headspace or Calm. By making it easier for everybody to get involved, technology can help raise participation levels and make self-care both more pleasurable and effective. The benefits of this are already quantifiable:
Since health insurers Aetna began offering mindfulness programs to its staff, it’s saved around $2,000 in healthcare costs and gained $3,000-worth of productivity for every employee.
4. Healthy Wearables
Wearable fitness devices like a Fitbit, an Apple Watch or a Jawbone perform many helpful functions: they can monitor heart rates and stress levels, motivate wearers to work out, or just to get up from their desks, and can even help track eating habits and calorie intake. There are also great fitness apps like the Nike+ Running app which can run just as well on a phone as an wearable. Some health-conscious companies are now subsidizing the cost of employees’ wearables, and understandably so:
71% of employees with wearables say they’re now more productive than they’ve ever been.
5. Healthy Canteens
It’s a great idea to provide canteens that encourage healthy eating: for instance by offering organic, unprocessed foods for free or at low cost, or by providing delivery menus for salad bars, smoothie bars and the like.
6. Calming Spaces
The best offices should include quiet, contained spaces for thinking and relaxation; places where employees might meditate, or just concentrate on a difficult task. Offering standing desks and other kinds of ergonomic workstations, and installing appropriate lighting, also does a lot to reduce stress levels. All of which can make a massive difference:
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services has found that stress-related absenteeism costs businesses in Canada alone upwards of $3.5 billion every year.
7. Pet-friendly Offices
Finally, allowing staff to bring their pets to work can also be wonderful for wellbeing:
A recent study by Purina found that having pets nearby leaves 80% of employees feeling more happy, relaxed and sociable; which is great for productivity and great for the company.