Why wellbeing at work matters
Have you ever felt issues in your personal life were stopping you from concentrating properly at work?
Or you are thinking about work at home and finding it hard to switch off?
Yep. Me too on both counts. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Changes in the way we work mean there is a less of a demarcation between work and home lives. Technology enables us to pick up emails on the go and so without even realising it, we’re working longer hours and not giving ourselves time to rest.
Good employers are picking up that stressed employees don’t make the best employees. They are less likely to be productive and bring their whole selves to work. Whereas those who feel valued and cared for are far more likely to put in discretionary effort and be a positive energy in the workplace.
Employers are starting to implement wellbeing programmes in the workplace. However, to be truly beneficial, they need to focus on life outside of work as well as inside. We all have hard times, which may not be to do with work itself, but still impact on our performance. A good wellbeing programme understands that personal and professional lives overlap.
There are five pillars of wellbeing, which employers should consider:
- Physical (health and fitness)
- Emotional (mental health and resilience)
- Social (creating a sense of belonging)
- Financial (understanding and dealing with managing money)
- Careers (supporting and offering development)
The idea being that supporting employees emotionally, as well as physically leads to happier, more motivated staff.
benefit of wellbeing programmes
Wellbeing programmes do have costs involved both financially and in terms of the time, it takes to implement them. However, the benefits should be easily measurable. It’s expensive to recruit new employees when one leaves and high levels of absenteeism are a drain on any business. Wellbeing initiatives should first and foremost be improving staff loyalty and sickness levels.
Anglian Water in the UK have said for every £1 they spent on wellbeing, they got £8 back. Productivity was raised and the number of sick days reduced. They also saw greater employer brand and customer engagement.
There are other elements which are harder to measure such as discretionary effort (given that it is discretionary). However, there should be visible signs of engagement and people feeling happy at work.
Managing our own wellbeing
Of course, we can’t all work for big companies or employers who want to invest in our wellbeing. So what can we do to manage our own wellbeing at work?
There are some simple steps, which should help to make day-to-day life a little bit easier.
Sleep – the jury is still out on what the optimum amount of sleep is and realistically, it probably varies from person to person. Try to make sure you are getting at least seven hours a night. Sleep helps restore and reset us physically and emotionally and things normally seem better following a good night’s sleep.
Exercise – exercising has been medically proven to reduce stress. Try to build in exercise into your weekly routine, even if it’s just going for a walk.
Nutrition – the stress hormone cortisol makes us crave fatty foods. Think about diet and eating healthily even when it’s tempting to phone for a takeaway.
Relaxation – make sure you’re building in time to relax. Read a book, watch a film, take a bath or anything which allows you to unwind.