We know that prioritising and promoting wellness in the workplace is not only good for your staff, but for your business. Research such as that carried out by Deloitte shows that investing in employee wellbeing in the workplace has a compelling return on investment for a business.
But how do you go about it?
While there are many approaches you can take, such as flexible working patterns, exercise classes, providing healthy lunches etc, the most effective employee wellbeing initiatives promote holistic well-being. This means providing wellness solutions that address the whole person, not merely how they move their body, how they eat etc.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing model proposed by the New Economic Foundation offers a holistic approach to wellbeing that taps into our most profound needs as human beings – those of connection, physical movement, learning, compassion and giving, and awareness of the world around us.
The Five Ways To Wellbeing are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give. They can form the basis for a powerful staff wellbeing program that will improve well being at work, combat the effects of stress in the workplace and give your business a boost in health too!
Humans are social creatures, hard-wired to thrive through meaningful connection with others.
Social wellbeing at work has a profound impact on well-being and effectiveness in the workplace. The workplace is the perfect opportunity to build our connection muscles, as we have to learn to get on with people who might not be in our preferred social circle. We have to learn skills of collaboration, negotiation, cooperation, service and more. The workplace is can also be a place of much unhappiness caused by poor relationships, whether through personality clashes, bullying, competition, jealousy etc. Poor working relationships can create or exacerbate the problems caused by stress in the workplace.
Helping staff to deepen their connection to one another can promote greater harmony and positive working relationships, and improve happiness and wellbeing.
Promoting wellbeing in the workplace can create a sense of connection with the company that stress can remove. If a person feels valued and cared for by the organisation they work for, they are more likely to feel a part of the organisation, are more likely to remain loyal to the organisation and to talk about their employer with pride.
The sedentary lifestyle that many of us live in the 21st century is causing terrible harm to health. Research suggests that too much sitting is linked to Type 2 diabetes, obesity, some types of cancer and premature death. Clearly, this is not good for health. It is not good for your business either, as the associated sickness will impact on your employees’ attendance and ability in work. The NHS recommends that we get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, and reduce the time we sit.
We know that exercise is good for mental as well as physical health. It also promotes clear thinking and can boost creativity. An informal poll for The Do Lectures’ ‘The Stress Report’ book found that while only 5% of people get their best ideas at their computer, a staggering 43% found that inspiration strikes during exercise. Encouraging and supporting your staff to move their bodies more, by encouraging regular breaks as well as dedicated time for exercise, will not only improve their mental and physical health, but will increase creative innovation and performance, and reduce absence rates and presenteeism, increasing your business profitability.
Mindfulness is THE big buzzword in workplace wellbeing and in the wellness world in general. And with good reason. The ability to be present in your day is one that is being ever diminished in the modern world with its myriad distraction and demands on our attention. The practices of mindfulness remind us to come into the present moment, to sit with our emotions rather than numbing them out, and to fully engage with the task at hand or the person we are with. Being mindful and present is a powerful tool for managing stress at work as well as a happier life.
When we are able to bring these practices into daily life, and to the workplace, we can reduce stress, enhance the connection to the outside world, improve relationships, focus our attention, tap into intuition and creativity, and be happy. Pain and suffering exist largely in worrying about the past, which we can’t change, or feeling anxious about possible futures, which we can’t know. We can only ever truly be in the present moment, and learning to take notice of that moment has great benefits for all aspects of life. A mindful, fully present employee will do more in one working hour than a distracted one will achieve in a day. Adding mindfulness practices to your workplace wellbeing activities will benefit your employees and your business tremendously.
As an employer, you have already invested in your employees learning. You have trained them how to do the job, you make sure they keep up with changes and developments that affect how they do their job.
Or do you?
Lack of training for the job is a common cause of work-related stress. Employees feel overwhelmed and poorly prepared for their jobs, leading to undue and unnecessary stress. Giving them the correct training to do their jobs is not only a valuable investment, but it could also be a legal requirement. An employee who causes harm to themselves or another due to insufficient training could cost your business dearly in legal costs.
In addition to work-related training, helping your staff to learn about themselves, to learn about the world they live in and to learn strategies to manage their emotions and wellbeing will prove to be invaluable to the health of your business.
Teaching effective stress management strategies, and promoting health and wellbeing awareness in your staff will reap dividends in those who embrace the opportunity to learn.
Kindness and compassion are vital tools for cooperation and harmony in society and in the workplace. A workplace that is based on a culture of giving and cooperation rather than competition and one-upmanship will be a happier, healthier workplace. Some element of competition can be beneficial in working environment, as the great work produced by Lennon and McCartney in The Beatles will prove. However, when this competition comes at the expense of good, honest communication, cooperation and collaboration (which Lennon and McCartney had in spades for the first few years of The Beatles) it quickly becomes toxic, stressful and harmful.
What is the basis of your company culture? Do you encourage staff to work in harmony with one another, or is their life revolved around competition over targets? We work better when we work together, bringing the spirit of cooperation and collaboration into the workplace can boost health and wellbeing, productivity and team working.
How can a workplace wellness program from Balance and Breathe help promote wellbeing in the workplace?
Balance and Breathe offers wellness programs based on the holistic approach of Yoga. Blending movement, stress management and relaxation strategies, mindfulness practices, self awareness and compassion, a Balance and Breathe wellbeing program will touch on all the 5 Ways to Wellbeing to promote greater health, wellbeing and resilience among your staff. I can tailor a program to suit your precise business needs, as I was able to do for Menzies Aviation recently, and will deliver lasting results that will give your staff powerful strategies to manage their wellbeing in the workplace.
I look forward to working with you!