Employee well-being is an increasingly relevant and necessary consideration in the modern workplace. Pressures involving deadlines, responsibilities, task complexity, and other challenges can all seriously reduce our well-being and affect our overall health.
So with employers facing increasing pressure to alleviate these stresses and issues that a fast-paced workplace can create, promotion of well-being can become an easy way to avoid staff dissatisfaction and health issues.
On that note, if your workforce is tired, stressed, and generally unmotivated, it is probably time to make some changes. Here are 9 cost-effective ideas to help you create a sense of well-being at work without breaking the bank.
1. Discourage ‘Constant Work’ Culture
Don’t confuse commitment, engagement, and dedication with 60-70 hour weeks. Employees can’t sustain an extraordinary level of energy and long overtime hours as a constant work expectation.
The human body was not designed to stare at a bright screen for hours on end without any downtime. Staff will more likely check out, burn out, and even leave if long hours and extraordinary effort are considered the norm.
So what can you do to combat that?
Consider introducing break-out or relaxation areas where people can go to get away from their desks, get a change of scene, unwind, or think creatively. Also, determine if you can make it easier for employees to access fresh air during their breaks.
It’s essential to encourage employees to take a proper lunch break, away from their spaces, as this can improve concentration as well as provide a much-needed rest.
2. Provide healthy snacks
This doesn’t mean a free lunch for everyone. Something as simple as ensuring there are enough healthy snacks and drinks for everyone can be a positive contribution.
Remember that the greatest companion, while you work, is a great snack. However, when so much of our day is spent in our place of work, it is not easy to consume the recommended 5-a-day. So, having a variety of healthy snacks available throughout the day helps you and your team to meet this requirement.
If you do have the means to take it further, provide a café with healthy meal options, a juice bar, free fruit or even just somewhere for people to prepare good food. By doing this, you’ll be helping them to eat well and keep their brains and bodies awake and alert.
At the end of the day, it is not only our physical and emotional well-being that needs to be looked after but our intake of healthy snacks is essential for our health and well-being too!
3. Prevent sedentary office lifestyle
Studies have shown that sitting for long periods is bad for our overall health. That is why it is essential that you encourage your co-workers to occasionally move around while at work.
How can you help encourage everyone to get moving?
One way is to implement a Get Moving policy. Educate your team on problems associated with sitting for extended periods of time and encourage them to stand up and move around for a few minutes throughout the day.
Activities could include taking a short walk around the building, doing some simple stretches, walking a few flights of stairs, or anything that gets them active for a few minutes throughout their workday.
4. Throw a happy hour
Happy hour is an easy and effective way of promoting positivity in the workplace and it doesn’t need to be always after work. It could be just about randomly breaking up the standard working day or week with free office libations.
We get it—work is work. However, having a happy hour in any workplace can make a significant impact on employees’ moods, attitudes, and work. In fact, 89% of employees cite workplace happiness as a reason they stay with a job, with 66% saying that unique perks like food and beer are what keeps them interested.
While it may be tempting to discuss the overdue report, or the deadline coming up, a happy hour is a time for relaxing and socializing.
With this in mind, find a way to engage your employees in things that don’t always feel like work. VR games, wine tastings, fitness challenges—these examples of activities can help bolster morale while also giving employees a chance to get to know the people they’re working with.
Anything that can increase positive conversation in the workplace can go a long way to promoting well-being.
5. Optimize the office environment
A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. Therefore, it’s essential that you take the physical work environment of your employees into consideration.
Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work. Factors such as space management can considerably improve individuals’ wellness.
For optimum office well-being, it’s imperative you create designated quiet zones that your employees can retreat to; whether it’s for calls, meetings, or just a place to relax for some peace and quiet.
Moreover, the lighting, color displays, and overall design can affect employees’ productivity and mood levels too. Consider bringing nature inside the office. Plants better the quality of air that you breathe, and good air quality is an essential part of a healthy life.
Lastly, encourage your employees to commit to a clear desk policy. Not only will it bolster a happier outlook in the office, but it will also stimulate a positive effect on everyone’s mood throughout the day.
If you’re interested to know more about optimizing your office environment, here’s our previous article: 5 Best Ways To Make Your Workspace Less Stressful.
6. Offer Flexible Working
A flexible schedule does not mean employees can come and go at will. In fact, it can mean something as simple as introducing employee choice when it comes to the start and end times of their working day.
More sophisticated flexible schedules such as a four-day work week or telecommuting require more planning, but flexible work schedules are a cornerstone of work balance, so they may still be worth considering.
This approach has proven effective in a number of ways. Your staff is happy to be free from the stress of commuting and to have an opportunity to accomplish non-work duties. In fact, remote workers enjoy increased productivity levels of 16%, with office distractions removed.
For instance, when someone is in need of childcare or encounters transportation problem, allowing the freedom to work from home can help to reduce the loss of productivity, since the employee likely has no choice but to stay at home.
7. Get Involved in Community Outreach
An excellent way to boost a positive atmosphere is to get involved in the local community and look for charitable opportunities. Giving employees something to focus on beyond their day-to-work, as well as something that is inherently positive, like charity work, is a win-win situation.
Organizing charity events at work generates a feeling of belonging within your team. The act of generosity is associated with enhancing community identity and promoting wellness across the workplace.
Volunteering provides a way for individuals to express their values– strengthening social relationships within the office. This positively impacts mental well-being in the workplace by decreasing isolations and loneliness.
8. Offer Mental Health Counseling
The American Institute of Stress reports that stress is the nation’s top health problem. So, you should value the mental health of your employees as a top asset and fiercely protect it.
Mental well-being impacts engagement, presenteeism, absenteeism, and productivity — all of which impact businesses bottom lines. Taking action and bringing mental health discussions to the forefront of your business shows employees you are genuinely invested in supporting emotional well-being.
An environment which supports a healthy mental state can significantly improve your team’s work ethic. It is not surprising that 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental well-being.
How can you do it?
Raise awareness by giving employees the chance to talk about well-being and stress both confidentially and as a team. It further promotes open dialogue and embodies positive attitudes within the work environment, resulting in improved internal relationships.
9. Foster Altruistic Behavior
Altruism can contribute to everyone’s well-being at work. When we give and engage in acts of kindness, the pleasure and social attachment centers of the brain are activated. In fact, studies show that the “helper’s high” appears to act as an antidote to the stress response in the giver.
In view of this, there’s nothing even more powerful in promoting employee well-being than fostering goodwill in your workplace. When teams feel valued and supported in the workplace they are more likely to perform to the best of their abilities.
There are several ways that altruism can permeate the workplace. One method will be a formal discussion session of altruistic practices with your team, or via email lists circulated internally.
You can also influence others by being a good example. The extra ten minutes you spend in a day going the extra mile or helping selflessly, can actually serve as inspiration for others to do the same. Your mindset and action can create a chain of altruistic actions.
With an increased level of altruism in the workplace, tension will be reduced and the level of happiness will increase.
Well-being is a hugely significant aspect of our work and careers. Therefore, it should be treated as highly important in all workplaces.
Remember that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ensuring your team is working in a space that promotes productivity, satisfaction, and happiness can be a great kick-starter.
However, if you are struggling to come up with innovative ways to promote health and well-being in your workplace, why not ask for their input? Every organization is unique. Reaching out to your team will provide you more insights into the way they think and feel.
Make sure to share this article with anyone you think could use it!
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