The idea of wellness and wellbeing for employees is something that we are all becoming greatly aware of these days. But what exactly can we do to improve employee engagement, wellbeing, wellness and happiness? What practical and affordable solutions are there? Well, here for you are 10 useful ideas below.
1. Using Plant Life in the Workplace
Many solutions to help improve wellness for employees and to make staff feel more engaged with the workplace are surprisingly cost-effective and simple. Furthermore, these solutions can go a long way to helping employees feel more positive and happier at work.
One such idea is to bring your office to life with plant life!
The benefits of plants in the office can include that:
- they help reduce employee stress – Several studies have highlighted how looking at plants for just a few minutes can help employees relax and destress. Other studies on plants in the office show they their presence also improves happiness and producitvity.
- A reduction in staff sickess was highlighted in other studies, as a result of having plants in the workplace.
- Plants can also help to filter the air and to help create a healthier workplace in a very direct way.
2. Provide Access to Activities Such as On-Site Yoga
Whilst it might not be possible for you if you have a very small and very limited workspace, most businesses tend to have enough space for offering on-site activities.
An activity such as yoga can be a great option for staff because it:
- is an activity that anyone can do regardless of shape, size, or age
- requires very limited equipment or set up time
- can greatly enhance employees wellbeing and make them much more relaxed
- creates a camaraderie for those taking part
If you already have an available room that can be used for yoga, the only real cost you will incur is the cost of hiring a yoga teacher for the sessions.
Alternatively, if you have a member of staff who is experienced and qualified in teaching yoga, then you might even want to consider offering them the chance to teach yoga as a part of their work hours.
In addition to yoga, pilates and Tai Chi are great options too.
3. Make Your Offices More Colourful
Making use of color can also be a fairly simple way to:
- improve your employees’ mood
- improve workplace creativity and productivity
Using color in your office design can really make a significant difference and yet surprisingly few offices are designed to fully take advantage of color.
Different colors provide different benefits including:
- Yellow – which is a warm, friendly and cheerful color
- Blue – is ueful for projecting confidence and stability
4. Provide Ergonomic Workstations
On a more immediate level, in terms of employee wellness and wellbeing, taking care to provide ergonomic workstations can be a great idea.
Furthermore, even if any of your employees work from home, you can still provide guidance and recommendations on best work practices that include how to set up an ergonomic workstation.
5. Provide Flexible Working Options
The idea of offering staff flexible working options is something that can benefit your employees and you as a company.
As a company, you can begin to:
- reduce the workspace you need (for staff who only pop in now and again you can use hot desking)
- save on power bills
- save on office equipment costs
- reduction in employee sickness when staff are allowed to work from home some of the time
For the employees, you can help them in essence to:
- reduce commuting time
- save them extra money from saved fuel and other travel costs
- make them feel more trusted (and this can be great for gaining more loyal staff)
In terms of wellness and wellbeing, the flexibility and reduction in things such as being involved in the rush-hour madness, traffic jams, and other stressful moments trying to physically get to work are reduced.
Do you really need all staff to be available in the office all of the time? The answer most often is no!
6. Proactively Ask Employees for Feedback on How You Can Help Them
Relatively few companies have a process in place whereby staff are actively asked or given the opportunity to give feedback on a regular basis, especially when it comes to wellness and wellbeing.
Employees often have very creative, interesting, and useful solutions and ideas that will help you as a company, yet, these ideas are very often ignored, i.e. not solicited.
There are a few key ways in which I recommend seeking feedback and these are:
- Anonymously via an Ideas Box – an ‘Ideas Box’ can be the easiest way to do this. This gives staff the chance to write down ideas and to post the idea into an ideas box.
- Employee feedback at meetings – It can also be a good idea to ask each employee to bring one idea with them to a monthly team meeting.
- Brainstorming Sessions – holding a brainstorming session once a month is also an option worth considering.
- Speak with your team to see what you can be doing better as an organization to enhance work-life balance (as it will mean something different for each employee).
These ideas can be about anything relating to work including, for example, if something needs fixing, a better process for working, ways to improve employee wellness, wellbeing, diversity and equality, and anything that the employee wants to suggest.
Emotional intelligence is important here in that you want to develop a workplace environment in which employees feel safe to openly give their ideas without any fear of ridicule or any negative result. You want to create a workplace that breathes creativity and openness.
Tip: Remember that this is as much about what the company can do to support the staff, as it is about how the company can benefit.
7. Run a Yearly Wellness Day
Another great way to work towards employee wellness and wellbeing is to run an annual wellness day.
You might, for example, want to feature free:
- 15-minute back massages for employees
- the chance to taste and test various healthy juices
- provide free yoga and pilates classes to try
- showcase ergonomic products (have a company provide this for free in exchange for them to have a free chance to promote their products)
- pets area and social
- nutrional and healthy eating workshop/s
- painting and art workshops
- meditation workshop
Employees tend to respond positively to having the opportunity to easily learn and experience various wellness-related activities.
8. Provide Better Training for Managers in Managing Their Staff
Stress and conflict in the workplace can often be traced back to poor management in the workplace.
Managers who lack good communication skills, are not trained in how to be an emotionally intelligent manager, or who lack skills in conflict management, are examples of why issues then begin to arise within their workforce.
Certainly, one way as a human resources department or business owner, to tackle this issue is to provide more or better management training.
Good topics to provide training on for managers, to increase their ability to provide a better and safer workplace for their staff, include:
- Stress Management
- Self-confidence building
- Inclusive Leadership
- Mental health awareness in the workplace
9. Provide Free Fruit for Staff
Sometimes solutions are incredibly simple and do not involve many costs and are simple to organize, as we have seen with the plant life idea. Fruit is another such idea!
I recently worked in a company where fresh local fruit was provided free to staff in the office and it is surprising how much this creates a real feel-good factor in a workplace.
Who doesn’t like something for free? Simple ideas like this can create a buzz in the office and yet they are really relatively inexpensive to implement.
Think about the costs of unhappy staff and the cost of staff turnover and rehiring and retraining costs and you begin to see the benefit of including this type of provision for staff.
It helps to create a workplace where staff feel positive and enjoy going to.
10. Encourage Positive Workplace Practices
Whilst it might not be practical in every job type, I recommend trying to instill positive work practices such as:
- Staff leaving work on time and not feeling under any pressure to work late (and encouraging managers to set the example by not always staying late or working on weekends)
- Encouraging staff to take the stairs when possible for better health (simple signage on the floor with a bright red arrow pointing to the stairs can significantly increase the number of people who use the stairs)
- Recommend that staff leave their desk at lunchtime and do not eat at their desk. Try and find ways to positively impact your staff to want to go for a walk outdoors at lunchtime, or at least, to leave their desk.
Set up fitness and wellness programs in consultation with your team to assess what their preferences are.
11. Digital Detox and Switch Off
It can also be worth having a policy whereby you advise all staff to avoid checking work emails outside of work time.
There are of course sometimes exceptions, such as if you are working in the events industry and need to work weekends and various hours, but if practical then digital detox hours are worth considering.
Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds
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