When debating the pros and cons of your job, or deciding between one job offer and the next, your mind probably automatically defaults to thinking of a pro as a competitive salary and a con as a long commute, or perhaps the bare minimum of holiday. But that’s not all you should be thinking about. This week, we’re talking about workplace wellness, workplace wellbeing and typical wellness practices in the workplace.
What is workplace wellness?
Putting it simply, workplace wellness describes the combination of practices, strategies, plans and techniques that are in place in your workplace (whether that be an office, school, charitable organisation or otherwise) that are put in place simply to ensure that a workplace is keeping their employees happy, healthy, motivated, and eager to work.
The aim of these practices is not to generate profit, look good on social media or “tick some boxes”. Oh no, the purpose of these strategies is simple: to ensure that employee wellness is a top priority.
Why is workplace wellness important?
Aside from the fact that everyone (of course) wants to be happy in their workplace – especially considering, on average, we all spend at least 40 hours a week in these places, workplace wellness practices are integral to businesses who want to maintain (or achieve) a low staff turnover, create an attractive workplace for prospective employees, and to create a healthy and harmonious workplace for existing colleagues to ensure that they are (more than) satisfied in their day-to-day working life.
Not only this, but the importance of this has been reinstated by countless studies and investigations. So… employers, it’s time to listen up.
An investigation conducted by organisation Employee Benefits discovered that this is most definitely the case, and more worryingly, reported that a staggering 89% of workers have reported that their poor mental health as a result of a lack of workplace wellness initiatives leads to a negative effect on their working life.
Not only this, but burnout experienced as a result of a lack of supportive workplace measures and a limited number of workplace wellness activities and programs has a direct correlation with high staff turnover rates.
That only means one thing: we need to take workplace wellness seriously. ASAP, if you aren’t already.
So, why is workplace wellness important?
Whether you’re an employee or an employer reading this, make sure you’ve got a pen and notepad ready. We’re here to hit you with our favourite (and the most effective) workplace wellness initiatives and techniques that you can begin to implement in your day-to-day working life or for your team.
First up, we’re talking to you, employees.
Wellness practices in the workplace for employees
- Work on maintaining a work-life balance
Don’t reply to emails or work calls once your day is done. Schedule yourself regular holiday… not just a Friday off here and there. Aim for a full week each quarter.
Set boundaries. Take your sick days. All that good stuff.
- Communicate your needs clearly
If you’re struggling with a piece of work, need extra training, can’t meet a deadline, or just need some assistance: don’t be afraid to voice this. Teamwork makes the dream work, and your management team and colleagues are there to make your life easier, not harder… so don’t be afraid. Just ask – it’s easier than you think and can make that problem that you made into a mountain back into that mole hill that it really is.
- Keep a clean and tidy workspace
You know what they say – a tidy space is a tidy mind. Get rid of scrap paper, decorate your desk with pictures of your loved ones, organise your files… get a wase paper bin! You know the drill.
- Stay fuelled up!
If you don’t have time for breakfast and can’t eat before work, make sure you have a stocked-up snack drawer at work to fuel your through the day. A snack drawer doesn’t have to be unhealthy, either. Stock up on a Monday lunchtime to see you through the week and that way you can enjoy fresh fruit, homemade protein bars, and even make yourself a cheeky protein shake halfway through the day, if you need a bit of an energy boost.
Next up, employers. It’s you that can make the biggest difference. So listen up!
Wellness practices in the workplace for employers
- Set motivational incentives
Everyone wants to feel good at work, and incentives are a great way to promote employee wellness.
This doesn’t have to be a super trip to Miami for the team (although, that would be pretty good, if you can facilitate that for your staff…)
We’re talking regular recognition, promotions, pay rises, job security, team lunches, extra holiday and more… get creative! Just show your employees that you appreciate them, their work and their loyalty. Good work should be rewarded. Always.
- Maintain a regular review and training schedule
This ties in quite nicely with our last point. To ensure employee wellness, schedule monthly reviews to ensure that your employees are on track (and happy), and make sure that you’re regularly implementing training exercises so that employee knowledge stays in tip-top condition, and that your employees feel valued, nurtured and motivated to continue.
- Prioritise mental health initiatives
Workplaces that support mental health initiatives and prioritise putting in place wellness practices in the workplace, maximise flexibility, support and growth within the workplaces are absolutely more likely to see high staff retention.
Change with the times and offer flexible working options, carers’ leave, paternity privileges and more: your staff will thank you for it.
Like we said, sometimes we can all focus too much on the overarching factors of a job and forget to take care of ourselves. Whilst you may be concerned about a competitive salary or distracted about the latest workplace gossip, it’s important not to forget about the most important thing: your health and wellness.
If you’re an employee struggling with your mental health as a result of a poor working environment, an employer looking for ways to boost morale, give our tips a try. To ensure you’re working for the best companies, attracting the best talent and retaining valuable staff members, workplace wellness is absolutely non-negotiable. Period.
- Scanlan, J. N., & Still, M. (2013). Job satisfaction, burnout and turnover intention in occupational therapists working in mental health. Australian occupational therapy journal, 60(5), 310-318. Click here.
- Employee Benefits. (2021). The Importance of Workplace Wellbeing on Staff Retention. [online]. Click here.