The Realities of Workplace Wellbeing
It's not surprising that happy employees result in a more productive workforce.
We all know that employees are the heart of any company, without the hard work they put in each day, where would your company be?
But caring about an employee’s wellbeing shouldn’t be entirely motivated by monetary gains, although a better attitude to work in general, coupled with fewer stress related absences would result in a higher profit margin for any business.
With Mental Health Awareness week from the 14th to the 20th of May, it’s never been a better time to give your emotional wellbeing strategy a revamp. But, while you’re figuring out how to best serve your employees mental health needs, it’s important not to forget that physical and financial wellbeing are so intrinsically linked to emotional wellbeing that just focussing on one will be unlikely to help overall.
Stress is an unavoidable consequence of life, and for those already suffering from mental health conditions, stress can aggravate the underlying issue. One in four people suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition in any one year, and one in six workers. With over 31 million people in work in the UK, this means around five million employees could be suffering from mental health issues each year.
Why not take a proactive, and preventative, approach to your employees' mental health? Make sure your HR department is aware of the services that the NHS has to offer and have them relay this information to the rest of the workforce. Make talking about mental health the norm, not some dirty little secret that has to be whispered about in the kitchen. How about offering some team mindfulness training, private counselling or therapy sessions that your employees can access themselves, without having to involve anyone else.
Of course, there is only so much that increased employee wellbeing can provide in terms of a reduction in absences. Making sure your employees are happy won't prevent them from catching the bug that's going around. However, there are some ways in which an employer can influence the physical health of their workforce.
You can incentivise exercise through planning active company outings or offering salary sacrifice on items such as wearable fitness bands. Allowing staff to take part in the cycle to work scheme, run and partially funded by the government, is a great way to encourage improvements in physical health and make your company greener in the process.
Providing employees with instant access to medical advice and healthcare can greatly reduce both their stress regarding finding an appointment and the issue of taking time off work. Employees waste six days of valuable annual leave a year to undertake ‘life admin’ including attending doctor’s appointments, which can have a knock-on effect to presenteeism levels and employee mental wellbeing.
Unfortunately, in Britain today, a large portion of the population are living from pay cheque to pay cheque. The Office of National Statistics suggests that 16.5 million people of working age have no savings at all. Now, it's not feasible for an employer to simply raise all wages, but what can you do to make sure that financial stress isn't rife within your workforce?
Offering access to affordable loans, which allow for repayments over a longer period and direct from salary and giving employees access to financial education ensures that your employees fully understand the options available to them.
Protect them against the financial strain of physical illness with access to private medical insurance, or a hospital plan. This allows them to safe guard themselves if they do fall sick and are unable to work and can help lower their stress levels.
So, what's your excuse?
Whilst there is no way of removing all stresses or health related absences, greatly reducing the number of stressors in place could cut the figure significantly, and also won't hurt your employer brand. Don’t underestimate the power of employee word of mouth!
Get in touch today to find out how we can help improve your overall employee wellbeing, and get your staff working Hapi again.
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