Since World Mental Health Day back in October, we’ve continued to see more and more people get in touch with our helpline about improving mental health in the workplace.
Introducing just a few wellbeing initiatives can decrease work-related stress and help your employees manage their workloads better. At the same time, they reduce your risk of long-term illness while building employee motivation and morale.
Here are just a few quick, easy ideas for introducing wellbeing into your workplace routine.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression by as much as 20%, while helping the body to manage levels of cortisol, the hormone that is released under stress. That’s why a simple cycle or walk to work programme can have a huge impact on wellbeing.
It can be very useful to incentivise your employees with a friendly contest to see who does the most steps in a week, or reward being part of the programme with a Friday treat. Some organisations even introduce walking meetings, where people walk-and-talk for an hour rather than sitting at a desk.
To keep stress levels regulated, a healthy and balanced diet is essential. However, depending on your workplace and the food you make available, it’s often easier to grab a quick snack at your desk rather than take an hour to unwind, de-stress, and give your body the nourishment it needs. Try adding a fresh fruit bowl to your office, helping employees to reach for something healthy on a daily basis.
As little as once a month, you could combat this by making lunch more of an occasion. Whether you order a healthy lunch for the entire team or simply create a themed day where people bring lunch from a certain part of the world, it’s a way to encourage people to think more carefully about what they eat. At the same time, it’s also a good way to bring the entire team together to connect in a more informal lunch setting.
Increasingly, new technology makes it more possible for people to be measured by what they do, not where and when they do it. Whether you’re making reasonable adjustments to your expectations to allow for an existing mental health condition, or simply trying to improve wellbeing for the entire team, showing that you’re a flexible, understanding employer is essential.
Encouraging people to work from home or in their own preferred hours gives people time to de-stress and increases their feeling of control over their own workload and work-life balance. And, if you’re concerned about getting buy-in from your organisation, remote working can also be a powerful way to increase productivity or reduce the costs associated with on-site teams.
A sense of real purpose and contribution is an important part of the human experience. In the office, you can achieve this with regular feedback, taking the time to show people how their individual efforts feed into the success of the entire organisation. However, it’s important to give people a sense of achievement outside of the office too.
One idea is to extend your work out into the community, finding local charities that would be appreciative of your time, energy and support. Letting your people spend some of their time working for the community can be incredibly rewarding - as well as a useful addition to your existing CSR initiatives.
While there are endless initiatives you could use to improve employee wellbeing, it’s important to recognise that there’s no quick fix or one-size-fits-all answer. The most impactful thing you can do is bring stress, mental health and wellbeing into the everyday routine of your business.
You could set aside an hour every week where people have the opportunity to raise the flag if they’re struggling. You could create a ‘buddy system’ where everyone is assigned a partner that they can turn to if stress becomes unmanageable.
At Park City, our unique position at the cross-section of HR and Health & Safety makes us ideal partners for improving wellbeing in your workplace. Whether you’re looking for advice on the initiatives you could launch, or need practical help introducing them into your business, we’ll provide the support you need.
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