21 January 2019

The 4 things you need for a successful workplace wellbeing programme

The 21st January, AKA Blue Monday, is apparently the most depressing day of the year. So what can employers do to help employee wellbeing?

Of course, anxiety and depression can strike at any time. But with a combination of looming post-Christmas debt, New Year’s resolutions left at the wayside, and the miserable weather, Blue Monday has become a day synonymous with being the most depressing day of the year. But the question is, what can employers do to help?

Investing in employee wellbeing makes business sense. Happier employees are more productive employees. Which means more efficiency, growth, and profit for the company.

But for a wellbeing programme to work, it needs to extend far beyond the workplace. In fact, there are four key areas to consider; physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, financial wellbeing, and social wellbeing.

If you’d like to see how this comes together in real life, read our interview with Aviva on their Wellbeing@Aviva initiative.


1). Physical wellbeing

The most obvious answer to the physical wellbeing question is to help your people get active. This could be by providing an on-site gym, subsidised gym memberships, or group yoga or fitness classes.

But, it goes much further than that, as the CEO of Hootsuite said in a recent INC article: “Far more than fancy facilities, what employees really crave is the social license to exercise on the job.” By this, he means flexibility with working hours and an environment that’s open to exercise.

Create a culture where you can turn up sweaty from a bike ride commute, let people take a longer lunch so they can fit in a gym class, and encourage employees to exercise during work hours because you understand the mental and physical benefit it brings to all. Can your running person set up an after-work running club and make it accessible to all fitness levels?

Not got the budget for subsidised gym memberships? Start with adding some healthy snacks to the office kitchen area and keeping that water cooler topped up.


2). Mental wellbeing 

1 in 6 adults has experienced a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression. And 1 in 5 has considered taking their own life. Although the attitude towards mental health is slowly changing, there is still work to be done.

The most important part of any mental wellbeing strategy is to create an open environment where mental health can be spoken about openly and not judged.

This starts with managers and leaders. Organisations need to ensure that managers have the knowledge, skill, and tact to recognise the signs of someone struggling with mental health and the understanding that it is just as valid as a physical ailment or illness.

Managers also need to understand how to support someone with mental health issues to thrive at work. Consider special training for your managers to tackle these issues. And why not try a campaign or communication aimed at opening up the conversation about mental health within the wider business? West Midlands Trains trained their managers as ‘mental health first aiders’ to spot and help colleagues with mental health concerns.


3). Financial wellbeing

Financial worries are a major source of stress and can drastically impact an employee’s ability to focus at work. In fact, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 2.3 million people in the UK are experiencing mental health problems that affect the amount of paid work they do.

So what can be done? As Relocate magazine points out, companies need to shift their mindset and see financial wellbeing as jointly important alongside physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Try offering access to financial coaches or planners, pensions information, budgeting advice, and reward programmes so employees can save on household bills and expenses. If you’re planning a campaign, check out Neyber’s financial wellbeing calendar to align activity to key awareness days and milestones.


4). Social wellbeing

Social wellbeing is about connecting with your community and having a strong support network of friends, family, and colleagues.

With employees working on average 3,500 days in their lifetime, businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their workplace culture is a positive one. Adopt zero-tolerance bullying and harassment policies, offer social events and activities that build relationships, and encourage knowledge sharing and teamwork.

Do you need help with your workplace wellbeing strategy? We can help! 

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