Employee well-being goes ways beyond the simple fact of having mentally and physically healthy workers. While the initial goal is to positively affect your workforce, it also boosts your business growth. This double win is the overall reason why well-being in the workplace is an aspect impossible to ignore.
As experts in modern work and employee centricity, we have studied the various perks of fostering wellness at work. We have gathered all the best practices to support you in creating a healthy work environment, avoiding risks of burnout among your team, and enhancing a better employee experience. We hope this will help you build the most suitable strategy to promote well-being in your organization.
The number of well-being initiatives you can implement in your workplace is endless, from your management style to the company's benefits and office design. This article gives you a theoretical and practical understanding of making your staff feel good at work. The cherry on top, professional and personal well-being are interconnected. Therefore, enhancing this aspect not only uplifts them at work but also in their private lives.
Why is employee well-being important?
Focusing on well-being in the workplace improves employee experience
Evolving in a work environment where leaders implement practices to promote wellness already makes your workforce feel more satisfied with their job. On top of this, the outcomes of such well-being initiatives on your workers’ physical and mental health also make people more grateful and happy about their company and management. Having said that, there is a high chance that focusing on your staff’s happiness and health improves their experience at work.
Promoting employee well-being fosters a positive work environment
On the one hand, focusing on employee well-being requires you, as an employer or a manager, to be more people-centric. This already contributes to strengthening your relationships and collaboration with your team members. On the other hand, your workers feel more valued and appreciated. Therefore, they are more engaged and motivated to do their job. The combination of all these benefits participates in building a work environment based on a positive atmosphere. It doesn’t mean everything is smooth and easy each day, but everyone aspires to make their coworkers feel good at work and thrive.
Well-being at work boosts productivity for many reasons. For example, doing more sports is a great way to increase productivity. One of the explanations is that physical activities help reduce stress and refocus. Also, do you manage to concentrate as well when something is bothering you as when your head is free of anxious thoughts? Introducing wellness initiatives such as meditation resources or a mental health support team encourages your workforce to take care of their psychological and emotional health. People with a healthy mindset are more likely to perform better. An Oxford study revealed that happy employees are 13% more productive than others.
Encouraging wellness at work answers Millennials’ and Gen Z’s expectations
Sadly, the younger workers are, the more depressed they tend to be. 59% of Millennials declare having experienced at least once an episode of work depression, while Gen Z is considered the fastest demographic group to show signs and symptoms of burnout. For these two generations, seeing well-being initiatives in the workplace is particularly important. . Therefore, they greatly appreciate companies creating solutions to help them reach better health, , especially when it means fostering a better work-life balance.
🔍 Do you want to know more about work depression and how it affects organizations? Check out our article regarding the latest burnout statistics!
Having healthy workers reduces absenteeism and sick notes
Because of the explanations mentioned above (lower stress level, a better mindset, more physical activity, etc.), employees with access to wellness initiatives in their professional environment are more likely to stay healthy. This factor is also significant as it decreases the number of people having sick notes and being absent. Isn’t having healthy staff and reducing absenteeism another great reason to promote well-being in the workplace? Yes, we agree. But wait, there is one more advantage we want to highlight!
Caring about employee well-being helps you retain and attract talent
All the benefits of promoting wellness at work mentioned above directly impact employee turnover. Caring about your workforce’s well-being can play a significant role in retaining and attracting talent. More than ever, workers know what they want for their professional lives and are ready to do everything possible to make it happen (quiet quitting, resigning, starting a side business…). Focusing on their well-being becomes a core pillar for Human Resources and management teams.
What aspects negatively impact employee well-being?
Ignoring employees’ feedback and needs
Not only considering your workers’ opinions is key to fostering a positive work environment, but it is also essential to understand better how to improve their well-being. Ignoring their feedback and needs doesn’t make them feel valued or recognized. This can quickly result in frustration and impacts their mental health and their work. Being people-focused is a major component of successful management, and it starts with employee empowerment practices, such as giving them a voice.
💬 Do you want to collect your staff’s opinion about how the workplace makes them feel? Check out our article regarding employee satisfaction questionnaires to discover how to conduct an efficient survey!
Another well-known consequence of a toxic work environment is the psychological effects of micromanagement. Overcontrolling your team members and checking everything they do is the opposite of an employee-centric leadership style based on trust and empowerment. It makes people feel unvalued and refrain them from thriving. If you want to improve your workforce’s well-being, micromanaging practices is a no-go. It might be challenging for leaders who collaborate with remote workers and struggle to trust them when they can’t see them working, but it is crucial.
Not showing recognition
How often do you show gratitude to your team? Everybody appreciates consideration and recognition, and so do your coworkers. A lack of acknowledgment for their efforts in the company can seriously damage how they feel about your collaboration and their job. Thanking and rewarding them regularly is essential to foster healthy relationships, keeping them motivated, and enhancing workplace connections. It can be as simple as saying “thank you,” but you can also show them your recognition with gifts, extra benefits, or, why not, a promotion.
Not offering skill development and career evolution
Widening their skill set and climbing the career ladder are among employees' top priorities, especially Millennials and Gen Z, who represent most of today's workforce. When you restrain them to the same tasks and jobs, you miss a big component of employee satisfaction: the ability to keep learning. Depriving them of upskilling and reskilling opportunities often lead to frustration and boredom. It ultimately affects their mental health. Encouraging and giving them the means to grow professionally answers a need essential to keep them satisfied and fulfilled with their job.
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Setting unrealistic goals and deadlines
Who has never been under stress before a deadline for a big project coming up? Almost all of us. Yet, there is a difference between experiencing this feeling occasionally and constantly under pressure because of unrealistic goals and deadlines. For you, as much as for your coworkers, being realistic about your expectations is fundamental. The best solution is to discuss and decide with your team the next deadlines and goals to achieve. Through this, you can provide a better overview of who is currently working on what and determine together the best strategy to reach your goal.
Allowing discriminating, unfair, and exclusive practices
Do all your employees have the same opportunities to reach their goals? Does everybody feel included no matter their differences? Discrimination at work is a serious topic that can drown a company. Not giving all equal and fair chances, impacts the well-being of your workers. For example, being satisfied and motivated is hard in an organization where the more you climb the career ladder, the less diverse the teams become. Promoting DEI in the workplace is a must to boost employee well-being.
What enhances well-being in the workplace? Theory
Building a people-first culture
Culture is the backbone of a company and building a positive and healthy one is key not only to enhancing growth and success but also to improving the well-being of your staff. One doesn’t go without the other. Aspiring to succeed with a workforce unsatisfied and unhappy about their professional lives is irrational. Focusing on your team member’s needs and expectations by adopting an employee-centric approach is crucial to enhance well-being in the workplace. A people-first culture is one of the best ways to develop a healthy workforce and business!
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Opting for an empowering leadership style
Empowering your staff is also an efficient way to improve how they feel at work. Employee empowerment means giving them more autonomy, flexibility, and responsibility to do their job. It is the opposite of micromanagement, and it answers your workers’ expectations in terms of personal and professional growth. This management approach also fosters trust and recognition, strengthening the sense of belonging. This feeling is essential for any human being and helps improve mental health.
Creating workplace connection
Do you think your employees wake up in the morning motivated to do their job? The goal is that most of the time, they do. Of course, we all have some days when we lack motivation and would like to chill all day. Yet, having the feeling to do the right job, work with the right people, and be at the right company certainly helps to get out of bed. This is called workplace connection and it contributes a lot to the sense of belonging we just referred to. Supporting your workers in finding purpose in their job, creating a sense of belonging thanks to strong corporate culture and values, and boosting genuine relationships at work is already a good start.
Introducing DEI initiatives in the workplace
Social justice is as essential inside the workplace as it is outside. For businesses, working with diverse teams have so many advantages and becomes critical to success. Yet, this can only work if equity and inclusion practices are part of your strategy too. People from different communities aspire to be offered the same opportunities and support to thrive in their careers. Obviously, applying DEI initiatives is key for the well-being of employees coming from minorities. Yet, it is also crucial for other workers who can’t imagine working for a company that doesn’t promote social justice and fair practices for all.
What wellness initiatives can you implement to boost employee well-being? Practice
Facilitating access to sports activities is one of the best solutions to help your staff stay physically healthy and reduce stress. However, not everybody has the ability to practice regular physical activity. Facilitating access to sports is a great way to boost this aspect of employee well-being. Do you have an empty room in your workspace? Why not turn it into a gym where workers can go as often as they want (before or after work, during their lunch break, when they need to release the pressure and get some stamina, etc.)? If this option isn’t possible for you, what about offering a reduction in gym subscriptions or free online classes?
Providing mental health support resources
As mentioned earlier, poor mental health is a real issue among Millennials and Gen Z. Yet, anybody in a multigenerational workforce can face emotional and psychological problems. Being mentally healthy is as important as being physically fit. Both are interconnected and impact one another. For this reason, offering mental health support to all your workers is a great wellness initiative to put in place. According to your company's size, budget, and working model, you can create a specific team dedicated to this aspect or you can provide your staff with online mental health resources, for example.
Organizing team-building activities
Employees who get along with their colleagues are more likely to experience workplace connection. Oppositely, workers that don’t have anything in common and don’t feel connected to their coworkers tend to struggle more at work. Collaboration is more challenging and feeling in the right place with the right people is also an issue. Organizing team-building activities regularly is a great idea to enhance good relationships between your team members and help them get to know each other better.
Encouraging leaders and team members to attend training about well-being in the workplace
Although this article gives you and your teams a better insight into why employee well-being is important and how to improve it, some people might want to go further and get more understanding of it. Why not encourage your staff to attend workplace well-being training? It can be in-person training, an online course, or a conference. You can make it mandatory or keep it as an option, but offering this opportunity to learn more about this topic is a great way to promote wellness at work.
Rethinking your office layout and design
The office layout and design play a key role in how your staff physically and mentally feels at work. For example, introducing a standing desk can help them physically. Creating workstations (single desks, collaborative spaces, chilling rooms, etc.) that answer their needs provides them with the best conditions to achieve their goals. What about the atmosphere in the workspace? The colors, the light, the decoration, all this can have a significant impact on your team members’ moods. Lastly, as DEI initiatives are key to improving how your employees feel at work, creating an inclusive office layout is also crucial.
💡 Are you wondering how to redesign your workspace to foster an atmosphere that makes your staff thrive? Have a look at our article about how to create good Feng Shui in the office!
Promoting flexible work arrangements
Have you already chosen to enable flexible work arrangements in your business? This is great and it also contributes to employee well-being. How? Hybrid work and other types of flexible work arrangements such as flexitime or compressed hours are essential to improve work-life balance. Letting your staff work from anywhere and at any time (which doesn’t mean they are working less), gives them the flexibility to arrange their week according to their needs. They have more time for personal activities, like sports and hobbies, for family, and for friends. On top of improving their work-life balance, it also ticks many boxes that contribute to better mental health.
Measuring the level of well-being in the workplace
Finally, gathering honest and constructive feedback is the best way to know how your workers feel and foster workplace wellness. There are many ways how to get their opinion. It can be while sharing a lunch break, during a one-to-one meeting, through an anonymous survey, or a combination.. However, while measuring the level of well-being in your workplace and learning how to improve it, you need to remember that this is a very subjective topic. When we don't feel good in our personal lives, it also impacts our professional lives.. Although this step is essential, you have to consider that the results have to be evaluated individually.
Employee well-being is not just about caring of your team members’ mental and physical health. Ultimately, your workforce has a better chance to thrive and so does your business. You can enhance well-being in the workplace through various ways but the key is to keep a people-centric approach in mind. Reaching a good work-life balance improves how employees feel about work and it can be achieved thanks to flexible work schedules.