What is employee well-being?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), defines well-being as: “creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation”.
Well-being is a hugely significant part of our everyday working life. It is not simply about the physically aspect of an employee, it’s about mental well-being too. Employees who are physically and mentally healthy are better positioned to contribute in the workplace and likely to be more engaged and more productive at work.
Employee welfare at work is therefore not simply about managing a physical and cultural environment, it is about businesses actively assisting employees to maximise their physical and mental health both in and out of the office.
Why is employee well-being essential?
Employee well-being is seen as being increasingly important and necessary in today’s workplace. If employers promote well-being in the workplace, it can help to achieve bottom line benefits for businesses in the form of improved productivity and performance, increased motivation and morale, reduced sickness absence and decrease staff turnover.
According to the Office of National Statistics 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013, which is the equivalent to 4.4 days per worker. Therefore, it really is in the employer’s interest to think about the costs associated with poor well-being.
In 2014 XpertHR carried out research with 670 organisations covering just over two million employees and found that the cost for sickness absence had an average of £16 billion which highlights the importance of employers investing in employee well-being.
Low-cost initiatives for workplace wellness
Looking after employee well-being does not necessarily have to be costly. The following ideas for workplace wellness can be implemented with minimum resources or cost to businesses. Many of these ideas have been found to help employees to maintain their well-being, so if you have not already put some initiatives in place, why not try the following:
- Provide a fresh fruit bowl in the meeting or lunch room
- Provide a dedicated eating area that is clean, comfortable and inviting, to encourage workers not to eat at their desks
- Encourage employees to walk to a specific location and log individual miles for incentive prizes
- Encourage employees to take stress relief breaks (i.e. meditation, walking or closing the office door for quite time)
- Offer flexible lunch periods and breaks to encourage individual, group or ‘buddy’ walks
- Negotiate corporate discounts for health club memberships
- Develop a cookbook of employees’ low-fat recipes, exchange recipes and feature healthy employee recipes
- When catering for meetings, request the food supplier to provide foods of nutritional value
- Raise awareness and / or provide information on topics such as smoking, diabetes, mental health, cholesterol etc.
- Encourage hydration by providing filtered water
The evidence is over whelming to show that employers need to take responsibility for their employee’s welfare. Not only from an ethical point of view but by taking action towards having a healthy, happy, motivated team will provide results in increased business productivity and a reduction in costs due to absence and turnover.
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