Embedding Wellbeing in the Workplace
Workplace wellbeing: a combination of the physical and mental health of employees coupled with the positive social and shared attitudes embedded into the organisation’s culture. The challenge of how to embed wellbeing into the workplace has been steadily rising up the corporate agenda well before the pandemic placed it firmly in the spotlight. Forward-thinking companies had already recognised the financial risk associated with ignoring employee wellbeing as well as the talent retention and higher productivity benefits of working in a supportive and encouraging environment. But it wasn’t until Covid 19 hit that workplace wellbeing was catapulted up the list of priorities as organisations struggled to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on staff mental health.
Mental Health Stigma
A report by CIPD shows that the main risks to employee wellbeing are now psychological, with mental ill-health and stress being two of the top three causes of long-term absences.
Thanks to public campaigns to increase awareness and reduce the stigma, we are talking about mental health and wellbeing more than ever before, however, even though people feel more comfortable asking for help, it still appears to be a difficult subject to broach in the workplace.
Employees fear that vocalising their mental health problems to their line managers could result in judgement and discrimination which could jeopardise their careers. This fear is not unjustified. A poll conducted by Hays of 10,000 UK employees and employers found that 24% of staff who had experienced mental health problems claimed that their career progression had suffered as a result while 12% said that it had lowered their chances of being selected for a job. For staff to feel at ease raising these issues, organisations have a duty of care to develop a wellbeing strategy which fosters a culture of open communication, trust and compassion.
T-Cup CheckUp Report
The latest company-wide T-Cup CheckUp report showed an increase in stress levels within the team (as shown within the “Success” category of the below graphic). To address this, an open dialogue ensued whereby team members were encouraged to share experiences about their own wellbeing in a relaxed environment. Feeling comfortable voicing concerns in a safe space can help to resolve issues before they become much bigger challenges that people may be more reluctant to share.
T-Cup CEO, Ed van Rooyen is passionate about the need for organisations to normalise talking about their mental health and wellbeing. “At T-Cup we encourage everyone to be open about how they’re feeling because the stresses and strains of everyday life don’t just stop when you arrive at work. Having an open-door policy should extend beyond simply communicating about job-related issues so that employees can feel less self-conscious when they need to ask for support.”
The team were also invited to attempt 21 days of continuous mindfulness meditation practice, led by T-Cup’s Flow Consultant, Lucy Stone. The idea behind this was to slowly build up a longer and longer daily practice so that by the end of 21 days, the team could comfortably practise a 10-minute meditation which is all that’s needed each day to reduce stress and feel the physical and mental health benefits.
The Great Resignation
According to a global Workforce Hopes and Fears survey of 52,195 workers across 44 countries by PwC, one in five UK workers (18%) say they are very or extremely likely to switch to a new employer within the next 12 months. While a pay increase is the main motivator for making a job change (72%), wanting a fulfilling job (68%) and wanting to truly be themselves at work (63%) are the top factors that workers are looking for.
Since the pandemic, we have seen a blurring of the lines between work and home life and there is now an expectation on employers to develop a wellbeing framework that crosses that boundary and provides support for employees to develop self-care practices that don’t solely relate to work.
Managers play a central role in managing and supporting employees and have significant influence in promoting a positive wellbeing culture. Ensuring leaders have access to training on how to lead compassionately and start conversations about mental wellness will allow staff to feel heard and supported. Managers can actively promote wellbeing by scheduling regular catch ups or 1 to 1s with teams and signposting them to wellbeing support where appropriate that could reduce the need for high-level or urgent support.
Developing a Wellbeing Culture
Involving staff in the development of wellbeing strategies will enable teams to share their experiences and their understanding of what wellbeing means to them which will help to shape the framework needed to support them. Building a sense of identity and belonging will create shared values and promote a positive mindset while encouraging feedback and monitoring the success of those strategies will gauge satisfaction and promote buy-in.
Everyone has a responsibility to look after their personal wellbeing but to do this, people need to understand which areas have the most significant impact on their health and wellness and at the same time have access to insights and actionable health information which empowers them to make positive changes.
Our digital wellbeing solution WellCup provides employees with the personalised support they need to thrive in the workplace and beyond. With more and more people opting for hybrid working, it’s becoming increasingly important to provide digital solutions so that employees can easily engage with their wellbeing and access support remotely. WellCup 2.0, due for release soon, will also harness the power of community to encourage peer competition and promote team collaboration. People are the lifeblood of business and in such uncertain times, it’s important that organisations do everything they can to foster a culture of workplace wellbeing. Equipping leaders with the skills and confidence they need to start tricky conversations can help staff to feel more aligned, invested and inspired to achieve the company’s goals. Embedding wellbeing into the cultural fabric of your organisation will not only serve to reduce issues such as attrition and absenteeism, but it will also help to unlock those difficult-to-measure aspects of human performance such as accountability, purpose and passion.