Tips for Cultivating a Wellbeing Culture in the Workplace.
by Emeka Ogbonnaya
In one of my recent Instagram posts, I wanted to highlight the impact of employee wellbeing on the successes experienced in the workplace. Having worked at various organizations where focus on employee wellbeing varies, I feel it is necessary employers are educated on the importance of putting employee wellbeing at the forefront of corporate culture.
Research shows that 26% of the UK population believe they do not have a good work-life balance and 58% of them say they are “too tired” to exercise during the working week. With such statistics, it is important to acknowledge the ineffective employee wellbeing programs available in most organisations and identify better ways to help employees be happy and healthy. Stats also show that happier, healthier employees are generally more productive, have improved overall efficiency and higher levels of motivation.
Here are some top tips for leaders looking to cultivate a better employee wellbeing culture in the workplace.
- Enforcing home time
While it is important to ensure tasks are completed at the end of the day, it is also important to make sure employees are not calling-in sick the following morning. For employees to have a balanced work-life relationship, employers must find innovative ways to encourage employees to leave the office after given hours of the day.
An innovative company based in the Netherlands, Heldergroen Design Studio, has created a radical way to ensure their employees leave work on time, avoiding long and often unnecessary working hours. As soon as the clock strikes 17:30, the office furniture is removed, meaning employees must stop working.
If this approach is slightly too radical, how about facilitating a working environment that encourages employees to “switch off” by leaving on time. It’s important that workers don’t feel they need to stay late to get ahead or work overtime unnecessarily. Having a specific cut-off time for employees is a great way to encourage staff to have a healthier work-life balance, meaning they’ve got time for their family, friends, exercise, hobbies and interests.
- Avoid onDesk lunches
In the effort to get work done and impress the boss, most employees are choosing to eat their lunch on their desks. According to Huffington Post, about 62% of professionals typically dine “onDesk” – eating at their desk. Aside from the lack of fresh air and social interaction, dining “onDesk” is actually detrimental to your health and is proven to be an unproductive method of working. Making sure employees pop outside at lunchtime and take full, regular lunch breaks ensures the team is less stressed, more creative and motivated.
- Flexible working
Over half of workers say that they would exercise or go to the gym more if they had flexible hours. Working smarter – whether that’s flexible hours, remote working or simply letting an employee work in a way that suits them best – can help workers lead healthier lifestyles, such as having easier access to exercise facilities or avoiding a stressful commute.
Flexible working environments create a culture where life outside of work is just as important as work itself. Giving staff the opportunity to work flexibly is a fantastic way to boost happiness and staff morale, showing you trust your employees, and resulting in improved productivity.
- Encourage ‘Sweatworking’
Sweatworking isn’t a real word but it is becoming a thing now. It is business networking while taking physical exercise and so working up a sweat. This way of working originated in the USA and started to be promoted in London in 2012, where gyms offered facilities and sessions of this kind. Clubs like Digme Fitness, One-10 and Blok London encourage networking in their gyms with lounges, karaoke and happy hours. Zoique created a platform to help employees discover various activities and fitness studios where they can teambuild or sweatwork.
It’s important for employees to network within their own organisation and exercising is a fun way to get to know coworkers, without navigating the rocky waters of alcohol-laden happy hours. Networking is a never-ending process, and like any relationship in your life, you have to continuously cultivate your professional relationships and doing so with groups or teams in your organisation remains one of the best way of cultivating a healthy and happy lifestyle.
- On-site facilities
Plenty of large offices support healthy lifestyles through providing on-site gyms or other exercise facilities or subsidizing the cost of membership. If this isn’t an option for your company, there are still facilities you can provide that will encourage your team to exercise around the working day. Zoique’s provides such options by enabling employees book a variety of group fitness activities at boutique fitness studios nearby for corporate teams or project teams within the organizations.
Employees are more likely to exercise immediately before work, or during their lunch break, if shower and locker facilities are available to use at boutique fitness studios if offsite and at the office if onsite. Investing in these facilities also encourages staff to cycle or run to work, promoting an active lifestyle and healthier routines in the workplace.
With the number of people now choosing to travel on two wheels steadily increasing and city councils across the UK making improvements to their cycling infrastructure, staff members shouldn’t feel held back cycling, walking or running to work because their office doesn’t have the facilities to support their needs.
Finding solutions to help your organisation cultivate a wellbeing culture for your employees needn’t be an expensive or time-consuming task. Each company is individual – just like its employees – so choosing the right solution for you and your team is personal. However, by increasing the opportunities that are available to your staff, not only will they feel empowered by these new options, but their overall happiness will increase and the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.
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