As we know work can have a really positive impact on our health and wellbeing, whilst healthy and well motivated employees can have a positive impact on the productivity and effectiveness of a business.

Back in November 2018 the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal Development) carried out a survey exploring trends and practices in health, well-being and absence management in UK workplaces. The survey was produced in partnership with Simplyhealth with more than 1,000 people professionals, covering 3.2 million employees across the UK.

Overall, the findings reflect employers’ growing recognition of their critical role in improving the health of the workforce however the survey highlighted some cause for concern, including an increase in stress-related absence and a lack of support for managers, who are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their team’s well-being.

There are a number of reasons to promote well-being in the workplace however the core ones are; the increase in productivity and motivation, it brings teams together and builds morale as well as decreasing work- related stress.

So as an employer how do you encourage Health and wellbeing in the workplace? Well firstly you need to get employees to buy-in to the process and that means rolling out a wellbeing strategy that they believe in. Here are a few ideas to encourage workplace wellness:

Create a friendly and productive environment for employees

Make sure your employees feel comfortable in their workplace environment ensuring they have everything they need, the workplace is bright and there are break out areas to relax over a coffee to engage with fellow members of staff.

Engage with your employees

Hold regular meetings with all of your employees, not just line managers, and ask for opinions and ideas to improve everything within the workplace.

Ensure management engage with employees on a daily basis and not perceived to be just walking around checking up on people.

Encourage single tasking

Encourage employees to single-task rather than multi-task. Research shows that when employees are constantly checking their emails, answering phones and jumping from one task to another they are less productive and this can build up stress levels. Also encourage your staff to get away from their desk and keep active – they will come back refreshed and re-focussed.

Encourage engagement with fellow employees

Look to create an area of the office with a table and seats where employees can gather round and exchange ideas. Maybe allocate a time each week and reward staff for any ideas that are implemented and work.

Flexible working initiatives

Flexible working initiatives is one such example allowing employees to either work from home, work part-time, or another arrangement which is suited to them like different or reduced hours. Although this may seem like it will affect the development of the individual and their work, it actually has multiple benefits for the business owner as well as the employee.
Research shows that implementing flexible working arrangements can improve your employee’s engagement and their motivation towards their work-life and even their involvement and productivity.

Create flexible work hours

Everyone likes more flexibility with work because it allows him or her to structure their day to their lifestyle. Kick the habit of mandated working hours (i.e. 9am – 5pm with an hour for lunch) and focus more on results. What matters most is the quality and effectiveness of someone’s work.

Training and development

Although you may carry out in-house training courses for your employees, consider subsidising external courses that will improve your employees skills and sense of personal achievement.

Exercise and fitness

Encourage your employees to get up and walk around the office or take time out at lunch time to ‘get out of the office’. Some companies also offer incentives to encourage employees to walk or cycle to work even if its just one day a week – maybe create a competition around exercise. Some larger companies offer on-site yoga classes and /or arrange regular sporting activities for employees.

Another consideration may be to offer subsidised or part payment towards membership of a local gym by taking out a corporate / company membership.

Join a local sports league

Whether its five a side football, cricket, rugby, basketball, netball, squash or badminton get a team to enter on behalf of the company and kit them out bearing the company name / branding displayed on it. It’s a great way for employees to keep fit, team building and sense of belonging.

Promote healthy eating by providing healthy snacks & drinks

Instead of offering employees vending machines full of sugary drinks, sweets and chocolate try providing healthier options such as:

  • Baskets of fruit
  • Still, fizzy and flavoured water
  • Almond Milk
  • Nuts
  • Protein bars
  • Yoghurts
  • Dried fruits
  • Vegetable snacks (carrot and celery sticks)
  • Smoothies

Also try and provide an area where employees can get away from their desks and eat together with colleagues.

Every now and again it’s a nice idea to order lunch for the whole of the office, not a working lunch, but to show your appreciation for their continued hard work. Use this opportunity to provide a selection of healthy foods such as wraps, salads etc.

Avoid eye strain from working on computers

Looking at a monitor for a long time can strain your eyes or can make any other problems you are having with your eyes seem more noticeable, so here are a few tips to help those employees working on computers every day:

  • Put the computer screen an arm’s length away and slightly below eye level
  • Lighting should match the brightness of the screen
  • Use an LCD monitor (they usually have an anti-reflective surface) or purchase an anti-reflective screen cover
  • Place the computer on a non-reflective surface
  • Use window treatments to control the amount of natural light shining on the screen
  • Brightness should match the surrounding lighting
  • Text size and contrast should be easily readable
  • Color temperature can be adjusted to reduce the amount of “blue” color emitted from the screen
  • Ensure employees take a 15-minute break every 2 hours.
  • Organise regular eye exams for employees – An eye exam can tell if the eye strain is from digital devices or the need for new prescription glasses

Play music in the office

Play some music through speakers around the office. Studies show that music improves mood, which can help boost productivity and creativity. Opt for music without lyrics and keep it at an ambient noise level.

Post your company’s mission and core values in the office

Create a poster of your company’s mission and core values and post it somewhere with a lot of foot traffic like the reception area, rest area and corridors. Core values can help instill a sense of purpose to your employees’ daily work, which will lead to elevated moods and higher employee engagement.