What is Employee Wellbeing, how to Understand it and Boost in 9 steps?

It's a fairly sunny day, and you are just a little worried that you are going to spend the whole day inside the four walls of your house. Then you try to remind yourself that, despite the occasion, you are grateful for the opportunity to work from home. However, the next moment you are overwhelmed with tasks and get no support from your team leader who is busy with his own agenda. You feel quite left out, lonely and alone.  

Unfortunately, this is how it looks in many cases of people working from home in the post-Covid era. Imagine how better off that person would be if they had support from their company - perhaps virtual calls to keep in touch with the team, executive interest in their needs, or simply sporting events or inspirational classes that would make them feel like they were getting ahead and that work had greater meaning.  

Did you know that according to a CIPD 2020 survey report about Health and Wellbeing at Work  in 2020 89% of employees reported working while feeling unwell and a 37% increase in stress-induced absenteeism? It's not easy to return to full productivity and health after a pandemic, but there are many ways your company can support and encourage Your staff to take care of themselves, keep them happy, and ensure greater employee engagement.

The days when the company had no regard for individual needs are long gone. In this comprehensive and practical guide, I'd like to explain why employee wellbeing is important and how you can promote it daily. 

what is employee wellbeing

What is Employee Wellbeing?  

Would you like to find out about the wellbeing of your employees?  

It's not just about the person taking a day off or staying off sick to keep productive. The focus is on employee health, which has to be considered in several areas. Let us dive a little deeper into the wholesome meaning of this concept. 

Employee wellbeing is a comprehensive strategy to support the staff in all indispensable areas such as mental health, physical health, proper nutrition, workplace safety, and overall health . It's not a one-time event, but a long-term part of the company's culture that delivers results - in the form of loyalty, satisfaction, and high productivity. 

It's not about expensive perks like luxury massages, or Pizza Fridays. It's about creating a positive working environment where employees can speak up, develop and contribute to your business goals.  

What influences employee wellbeing?  

Far too often, wellness is confused with employee benefits. Promoting the wellness of your staff is a complex set of approaches and practices to keep your employees healthy on many levels. One of the aspects that impacts this level is the company culture, with its core principles and promoted behaviours. Consider the following questions with care.  

  • Is your company culture inclusive and accepting?   
  • Does your company encourage vacation time or pressure people to work overtime? 
  • Is there a channel to voice concerns? 
  • Are the team leads and managers building healthy relationships with their teams?  
  • Is there a space for professional and personal development
  • Is financial, mental and physical health cared for alike? 

It is simple and complex at the same time. Employee wellbeing is something you build over time and you cannot do it without. Read on to learn how your company can support the wellness of your personnel easily and on many levels.  

Why Should You Care About Employee Wellbeing? 

Let’s consider two points of view:  

What you can lose: 

According to a Deloitte analysis on employee mental health published in 2022, turnover, absenteeism, and presenteeism at work cost the UK economy £53-56 billion last year.  

The answer is simple. The price you pay for stressed out and unproductive people or their increased absenteeism is just too high. Have you ever heard of presenteeism? Employees who show up to work physically but not mentally. They work while sick because their companies discourage holiday days or sick leave and appreciate it when they come to work, even if they are low functioning and low performing. 

Another clear example is the growing trend of absenteeism among workers who avoid work without valid health reasons - likely due to workload, burnout or mental health issues. Finally, overworked and underappreciated employees tend to look for better opportunities, which contributes to lower employee retention. And all of this costs good money.  

What you can get:  

Employees who report being happy at work take 10 times fewer sick days than unhappy ones. 

A well-cared-for and happy worker creates a work environment that is healthy, stimulating and motivates others to do more. As a result, employee engagement and effectiveness rise . Your company's results and revenue increase motivation and loyalty - and employee retention, too. With an inclusive and open-minded company culture, employees feel more accepted and become more productive as a result. 

It also gives the firm an appealing brand image - the more successful and satisfied your employees are, the better opinions and comments they will have about your company. This can attract new hires and create a positive reputation that is essential to your customers and partners. And finally, absenteeism and presenteeism costs, as well as mental health services costs, are reduced.  

How to Build Employee Wellbeing?  

Believe it or not, there are many techniques that a business can use to enhance the over employee wellness. And actually, most of them are low-cost and involve a change in attitude, treatment, or priorities in workplace relationships. 

The most important thing is to keep in mind is to focus on creating an employee wellbeing strategy that addresses all areas of health and overall job satisfaction.  

Now, let’s get to it. 

Means of Communication and Fostering Relationships 

It all starts with good old communication, feedback, and actually being 'heard'. The foundation of any employee wellbeing strategy should be that managers and team leaders know how to foster healthy relationships and talk about conflict so that it does not escalate or lead to resentment over time. Focus on honesty, facilitating the building of friendships and the ability to rely on each other. Everyone works better when they have people who are close to them 

  • Provide accurate and consistent feedback: At the core of feeling satisfied with one's work is being regularly acknowledged - or gently corrected and supported when things go wrong. That's why it's a top priority to hold frequent meetings to acknowledge employees' efforts and help them improve. The Grow Uperion platform, which is based on gamification, can be a great help with its functionality for real-time feedback that makes it easy to improve and connect with others. Would you like to try it out?  
  • To ensure effective communication, take the initiative: Communication between management and staff should be two-way - so do not wait for your team to voice their concerns, try to proactively ask them how they are doing and how you can help. This is especially important in light of the modern hybrid or fully remote way of working. Regular staff surveys are a good tool for people who are too shy or afraid to speak out publicly. 
  • Choose a common platform and build those relationships: Another important point to ensure long-term employee health and wellbeing is to set up a place where everyone can reach out to their teammates regardless of age, position or location - not only to talk about work but also to share memes, events and jokes and build connections. Invest in a communication app or system, but also, do not forget to schedule regular online and offline meetings or parties to strengthen relationships and create an open and accepting workplace. 

+ HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?

Virgin Trains created an interconnected platform for leaders and employees with many apps and channels of communication that everyone could access from their own phones. 

Physical Health and Team-Building Activities  

Having looked at the art of delivering messages, proper employer-employee communication and constructive feedback, we will focus on other aspects of a good employee wellbeing program. With more and more people working in the office or at home behind a desk, the need for exercise and endorphins, and the better health that comes with it, is undeniable. Employee satisfaction is bound to go up when they have the opportunity to exercise, socialise and lead an active lifestyle together. 

  • Promote the active lifestyle: We all underestimate the value of sport and exercise. After a stressful day sitting stiffly in front of the computer, sport and exercise can really improve our health and mood. It's not a luxury, it's a requirement for employee wellbeing - the harsh reality is that obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease can all be caused by insufficient physical exercise. So make sure you include employee wellbeing initiatives such as gym memberships or yoga, regular company marathons and easier access to fitness or dance classes. 
  • Organize corporate sport events and challenges: Movement is not just about fitness classes, but also about changing habits and wanting to walk, run or climb more. A good idea to improve employee wellbeing is to stimulate them through healthy competitions and campaigns. You'd be more willing to cycle more if you entered a biking competition to become more environmentally friendly, and probably win some perks, right? Think outside the box - maybe a vegan cooking competition, a quiz on health or a monthly sports week would be a good idea? 
  • Cultivate workplace friendship with sports: There's no better form of socialising than a shared physical activity! To boost employee wellbeing and build strong friendships in the office, organising weekend trips, kayaking or mountain climbing is a must. Let them create connections outside the work environment and they will feel more comfortable during working hours - and as a result be more efficient and productive.

+ HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?

William Towers Watson found a way to boost employee wellbeing through nutritious meals on cafeteria menus, walking trails and bike-sharing programs on campus. 

Mental Health Benefits

As you know, mental health is just as important as physical health and exercise. Therefore, it pays to implement benefits that support employees in a wide range of areas that contribute to mental wellbeing and satisfaction. It is not enough to provide access to mental health services and professionals, but the whole concept needs to be considered holistically, i.e. including financial stability, career advancement and different, suitable forms of work. Below are some ideas for benefits that promote employee wellbeing. 

  • Enhance career development: Nobody likes the feeling of being stagnant and stuck at work. If you have to leave your company to advance your career, something is wrong. This lack of career progression quickly leads to anxiety, depression and poor mental health. As you can see, it is crucial to give your employees the opportunity to grow, educate themselves and develop professionally. Invest in training courses, pay for access to platforms like Udemy or Domestika, or create in-house talent programs to attract high-performing and talented employees. 
  • Make it easy to work from home: Giving your employees the option to work flexible hours is a good idea for both your workforce and your company. As a business, you may need less space and spend less energy, while your employees will be more reliable, committed and spend less on commuting. Both sides benefit. While it may not be possible for some to work entirely from home, the ability to work partially from home is a benefit they will appreciate and is a key component in a successful employee wellbeing program.  
  • Prioritize financial counselling: An important component of financial wellness for your employees is giving them the tools they need to manage their finances wisely. Your team can get the individualised guidance they need to improve their financial stability through classes and counselling sessions on budget goals, debt reduction, and handling money-related crises. Employees who are financially secure and know how to manage their budget are generally happier and more motivated at work.

+ HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?

Seattle Genetics provided access to job-related conferences and seminars as well as on-site development courses to improve work-related abilities. 

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Support Employee Health Today 

It's a fairly sunny day, and you are just a little worried that you are going to spend the whole day inside the four walls of your house. But then, you are thinking about the modern dance class you are taking with your colleagues in the evening, and the upcoming climbing trip with your outing - you'll have plenty of time to spend with nature. The leadership course you are about to complete also puts a smile on your face - life is good.  

Employers have a duty to look after the welfare of employees and do their part to maintain their own safety and health and that of others. Instead of a large sum of money, a change of heart, attitude or interpersonal relationships is often all that is needed. 

If you are ready to develop an employee wellbeing program to lower stress levels in your teams, the experts at Grow Uperion can help with gamification, our platform that increases motivation in the workplace, makes training more enjoyable and enables better integration .