Coast to Coast Direct’s Accounts Director, Matthew Stanley returns to SBT’s pages again this month. Here in these pages, he outlines the four key areas employers should consider in order to maintain a healthy workplace for employees

We all know that health and wellbeing are vital aspects to our everyday lives, but what impact does it have on the workplace and how can we ensure our offices encourage a healthy and happy workforce?

Research has shown that organisations with effective Health and Wellbeing programs outperform their competitors – and as we’ll see, it doesn’t always have to cost money to make it work.

Workplace wellbeing is a mix of several factors that includes the physical workplace we spend our time in along with the social and psychological aspects of our working lives, as well as the relationships we have with our colleagues and managers.
The Government has long tried to tackle the issue of the poor working environment and the impact it can have not only on the employee’s lives, but also on the organisation through lost working days and decreased productivity. Research by the London School of Economics showed that work came 2nd in a list of the 40 activities that make people unhappy, and in 2015 around 17 million working days were lost through employee absence, costing the economy at least £2.4 billion.

As well as this, if employees are feeling unfairly treated, disrespected or under-valued, they are more likely to become demotivated, unhappy and will eventually leave the organisation.

So what practical steps can employers take to improve their employees experience at work and avoid the pitfalls outlined above?
Research from a 2016 Report from the online consultancy ‘A Great Place To Work’ identifies 4 key areas:

Values-Aligned and Ethical Behaviour

Values help to shape an organisation’s culture and if the fit between the organisation and its employees is weak or non-existent it can affect their sense of belonging. Management who’s actions match their words and who deliver on their promises will help to build trust and respect amongst their workforce and vastly improve job satisfaction and foster wellbeing.

Teamwork

By encouraging teamwork amongst your employees, you can help them to build relationships and bonds between each other and encourage a sense of belonging. Teamwork can also help to get tasks done more efficiently which can help to reduce workload and work stress.

Work Environment

Simple things such as having the right tools and equipment to do your job removes everyday irritations and barriers to doing the job properly. And this extends all the way to having nice offices with good facilities where staff can enjoy spending their time. Practical steps that employers can take to improve their office’s environment include having up to date IT and equipment, the correct office furniture for staff (posture seating, correct desking – each member of staff is different so may have different needs), a clean office, a nice range of free catering facilities, social areas where staff can relax and the odd staff social where employees are encouraged to let their hair down and engage with those they might not mix with in their day-to-day routine.

Recognition

Lack of recognition is a common problem – from not thanking staff for a good job to not taking an interest in them as people. Showing simple, but sincere recognition costs nothing but can have a massive impact on feelings of worth and wellbeing.
In summary, organisations with positive cultures and high levels of wellbeing benefit from better attraction and retention of staff, lower levels of absenteeism, higher engagement levels and better performance.

Many of the steps we can take to improve our office’s environment cost nothing and require, but if your company or office needs any advice or help in some of the more practical things you can do to boost wellbeing, then talk us about the products and services we can provide to help.

This article is based on the findings from previous report from the 2016 Great Place To Work report. For any further information, please visit www.greatplacetowork.co.uk

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