Staff Wellbeing

  • Occupational Health
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss staff wellbeing, the signs of mental ill health, and what practical support you can provide your workforce.

As an employer, taking care of staff wellbeing should be your top priority. And whilst you should ensure their physical health is intact, their mental health is just as important.

Failure to support staff in this way can have serious consequences for your business. For instance, people's wellbeing could worsen, and they might dread attending the workplace.

As a result, your business might face high rates of absenteeism, or even low staff retention.

In this guide, we'll discuss staff wellbeing, the signs of mental ill health, and what practical support you can provide your workforce.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing is how we feel in ourselves both physically and mentally. When an individual is content, happy and healthy in their mind and body, they have good wellbeing. But, when a person isn't satisfied in themselves, or fails to manage life's challenges - they might have poor wellbeing.

Overall, when we experience good wellbeing, we're able to deal with daily troubles effectively, as well as having a greater sense of control over our lives. When our wellbeing is poor, we’re susceptible to higher levels of stress - which might lead us to withdraw from our personal and professional lives.

What is wellbeing at work?

Wellbeing at work refers to how work affects our overall health and wellbeing. When employers prioritise the wellbeing of their staff, employees will likely be happier and more satisfied in their job roles.

But, if an organisation has unmanageable levels of workplace stress, employee health and satisfaction will be jeapordised. For example, staff might dread attending the workplace - resulting in higher levels of absenteeism.

What is the law on employee wellbeing?

The law on staff wellbeing is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This legislation outlines that employers have a duty of care for staff. Meaning, it’s your legal responsibility to maintain and uphold your employee’s physical and mental health.

Some of your employees will likely experience mental health difficulties at one point or another. When this happens, you are legally required to do everything you reasonably can to support them.

Why is employee wellbeing important?

There are several reasons why employee wellbeing is important. Not only does it help the people in your company maintain a happier, positive attitude in their personal and professional lives, but it has other benefits too.

Let's explore the importance of supporting staff wellbeing in further detail:

Increases job satisfaction

Having a healthy wellbeing means having a positive attitude and outlook on life. Which, an individual can achieve by being satisfied in most aspects of life, including work and home. So, if your employee has a healthy wellbeing - they'll likely be happier in their job role.

This can benefit your business greatly, as happy employees are more likely to stay loyal to your company. Not to mention they'll probably enjoy the tasks their role requires, so will be more engaged with your business and its development.

Increase productivity

Another reason why healthy employee wellbeing is important is because it can increase productivity within your workplace. As mentioned, staff who have a healthy wellbeing are more likely to be happy at work.

And happy employees are typically satisfied with what their work entails, as well as having an interest in progressing within your company. Consequently, they'll have higher levels of engagement, and will be more motivated to perform.

Creates a positive workplace culture

Employees with a healthy wellbeing can also help create a more positive company culture. This is because they might approach stressful situations calmly. And collaborate well with colleagues.

If your staff are happy with their work and satisfied with the way your workplace runs, there's less chance of conflict occurring. As a result, your staff will develop strong relationships with each other and work better together.

What does healthy wellbeing look like?

Healthy wellbeing looks different to everyone. For example, it might be an individual's ability to deal effectively with anxiety and stress.

Other examples of healthy wellbeing include:

  • A good control of finances. For example, avoiding impulse spending and budgeting properly.
  • Having healthy relationships with food and alcohol. For example, having a healthy diet and drinking moderately.
  • Staying active. For example, going the gym regularly or taking lunchtime walks.
  • Maintaining sleep hygiene. For example, getting a good amount of sleep every night and waking up feeling refreshed.
  • Building healthy and positive relationships, at work and home. For example, having mutual respect and trust with your colleagues, as well as friends and family.
  • Mindfulness. For example, staying grounded in the present moment and not allowing your brain to dwell on life's worries.

How to promote wellbeing

There are plenty of initiatives you can implement to promote wellbeing within your workplace. For example, you might encourage staff to talk openly about how they feel, to prevent them from bottling their emotions. And help them resolve their workplace concerns quickly.

Other ways you can promote staff wellbeing are:

Provide training on mental health

Providing training on mental health can help raise awareness within your work. If staff have a better understanding of mental health, they'll be able to spot when they're struggling. Or even recognise when their colleagues are.

As part of the training, you should signpost free resources that could aid your staff's mental health. For instance, this could be tips on maintaining financial wellbeing, or mindfulness exercises to help staff remain grounded in periods of stress.

Remember, everyone in your workplace should receive training - from senior leaders to young people. It might sound simple, but awareness can help normalise talking openly about mental health. Consequently, your staff will feel more comfortable expressing themselves when their mental wellbeing is in decline.

Promote work-life balance

Another way to promote staff wellbeing in your workplace is to promote work-life balance. This is when a person has a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives.

Having a good work-life balance will likely improve your staff's wellbeing. This is because they’ll  have a greater sense of control over both aspects of their lives.

This means they'll likely have lower stress levels, and will be able to juggle different tasks without issue. Consequently, productivity at your work might increase - which will ultimately aid your business's development.

Have frequent one-to-ones with employees

You can also promote staff wellbeing at work by having frequent one-to-ones with staff. How often these are depends on the size and scale of your business. Hosting one-to-ones will allow your staff a comfortable space to talk openly about any concerns they have.

For instance, they might wish to feedback on how they've found a specific task - or even to report any wrongdoing that they've witnessed. Either way, it allows you to provide them with emotional support, and further build upon your workplace relationship.

These can also be hosted by your company’s line managers, if you're busy with running day-to-day activities.

How to improve staff wellbeing

If you feel like your employees aren't themselves, or you've noticed a general low mood in your workplace - it might be time to improve staff wellbeing. This may sound difficult, but there are several ways you can achieve this.

For instance, you could signpost practical resources at work to help staff with their mental and physical health. Other ways you can improve employee wellbeing include:

Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Introducing an EAP into your business can help to support staff wellbeing. Paid for by your company, EAP's allow employees to access support that can benefit them when they're struggling. For example, staff might be able to receive help such as counselling or talking therapy.

This gives your employees the chance to voice problems at work in a confidential setting. Moreover, it could also help strengthen your staff's trust in you as their employer, because they'll likely recognise the lengths you're going to support them.

Implement flexible working

Another way you can improve overall wellbeing in your workplace is to implement flexible working. Of course, it won't help every person with a mental health problem, but it puts less pressure on your staff.

Not to mention, it can help those who care for relatives or children to balance work around their personal lives. Overall, it can be a great way to alleviate stress, as employees won't have to fret about arriving to work on time - since they can work hours that suit them.

Create wellbeing initiatives

You could also support staff wellbeing by creating wellbeing initiatives. Wellbeing initiatives can help you foster a business where your workforce thrives. They can vary from programmes and policies, to practices that your company implements to support staff.

For instance, if you work in education, you might wish to support school staff wellbeing by providing free memberships. This will encourage staff to exercise in their free time. And as exercise has been scientifically proven to release endorphins and improve moods - it could help improve employee wellbeing.

Get expert advice on staff wellbeing from Peninsula

You must support your staff's mental health and wellbeing. Doing so might even help you increase job satisfaction and engagement within your business, as well as helping to reduce absence rates.

Failure to deal with your staff's health and wellbeing effectively could negatively impact your organisation. For instance, staff retention might decrease as employees are reluctant to stay in a workplace that doesn't support them.

Peninsula offers expert advice on staff wellbeing. Our teams provide 24/7 Health & Safety advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our Health & Safety experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with a Health & Safety consultant today.



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