Why is wellbeing in the workplace important?
All great business leaders understand the benefits of workplace wellbeing. Paul Drechsler (CEO Wates Group Ltd) sums it up quite concisely, “good health IS good business,” and while this is perhaps a modern spin-off of the term coined 2000 years prior by Ancient Roman poet Virgil (‘the greatest wealth is health’), there is a lot of evidence to support the benefit of implementing high standards of workplace wellbeing.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally thriving employees experience higher levels of productivity and improved performance of tasks, leading to better results for the company. Taking into account the observations of both Drechsler and Virgil, to achieve optimal business results, your employees need to have access to comprehensive resources and guidance to support them as they perform daily tasks. Taking a step back, and considering your organisation’s standards of workplace wellbeing is a good start to understanding the importance of workplace wellbeing and how improved psychological working conditions can achieve optimal business results.
Optimising business results
Implementing effective wellbeing programmes at work can have incredible benefits for both the organisation and your employees. This has been demonstrated in a multitude of studies conducted over the years, and a recent study that was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine highlights how employees who received proactive mental health support in the workplace demonstrated a 23% increase in productivity.
Likewise, a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management states that companies with comprehensive wellbeing programmes experienced a 27% reduction in absenteeism. These statistics, which similarly emerge in a plethora of other studies on workplace wellbeing and productivity, serve to illustrate the power of creating a comprehensive wellbeing strategy, and how implementing a targeted wellbeing approach has the capacity to increase productivity, and the achievement of company targets and goals.
It is important to understand that driving significant change in workplace wellbeing cannot be achieved by simply providing companies perks like free yoga classes or healthy snacks. To truly influence your team to adopt healthier lifestyles and work styles, you need a well-structured and comprehensive wellbeing strategy planned out and put into place.
How to maximise the benefits of workplace wellbeing
- Recognise the importance of workplace wellbeing:
Above, we made reference to the findings of two studies that give examples of how maintaining adequate levels of workplace wellbeing (through the provision of support services), resulted in reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Now, let us talk about the growing negative impact that the lack of focus on workplace wellbeing has on the working population. 85% of UK employers remain unsure about whether their businesses meet the basic legal requirements of employee care, meaning: it is likely that the vast majority of UK businesses are failing to provide the adequate wellbeing support services to their employees.
In 2019, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported 0.6 million cases of work-related stress, anxiety and depression. This figure shot up by 55% to 0.9 million cases just 3 years later in 2022. The HSE estimates that there were 36.8 million working days lost as a result of the reported cases of workplace ill-being.
Recognising the correlation between the lacking provision of wellbeing support services in UK business settings, and the increase in work-related psychological ill-health cases from 2019 to 2022, is the first step towards optimising employee wellbeing and organisational productivity.
- Develop a strategic wellbeing framework:
Make strategy the foundation of your employee wellbeing initiatives. Assigning time to plan and build a solid strategic base will naturally and effectively inform the direction of all subsequent organisational processes. To design a comprehensive wellbeing strategy, you need to first understand the strategic imperatives driving the need for such a strategy in your organisation: why do you need a wellbeing strategy? When answering this question, you must likewise conduct a series of internal assessments and research to define priorities, design targeted interventions, structure offerings and pinpoint key areas of weakness, all of which will illustrate why your business needs a wellbeing strategy.
Similarly, part of building a strategic wellbeing framework is to identify a dedicated leadership team responsible for running the programme. They will need to develop an approach to communicate openly and effectively, and design and use tools to monitor results.
A well-defined strategic framework will maximise the return on your investment and ensure the success of your workplace wellbeing initiatives.
- Seek expert assistance:
While the human resources department can host workplace wellbeing programmes, it is important to acknowledge that HR professionals are often overloaded with other responsibilities and may lack in-depth expertise in designing, implementing, and managing comprehensive wellbeing programmes. Consider seeking external expert help from workplace wellbeing consultants to ensure your initiatives are well-designed, effectively implemented, and efficiently managed. The sole purpose of workplace wellbeing consultancy services is to support companies in achieving their wellbeing goals; they exist to enhance workplace wellbeing, and engaging such specialists will greatly improve the impact of your workplace wellbeing programme.
- Take action now:
If you are still waiting to implement a company-wide wellbeing strategy, now is the time to take the initiative and build a wellbeing strategy your employees would be proud of (and more productive because of). As a leader, start a workplace wellbeing programme within your team and begin seeing results immediately. By setting an example for the rest of the organisation, you can inspire others to adopt similar interventions. Remember, the sooner you start, the sooner you will create a positive impact on your team and foster a culture of wellbeing throughout the organisation.
It’s time to invest in the benefits of wellbeing in the workplace
Investing in the wellbeing of your employees is not just a nice thing to do; it is a crucial factor for achieving optimal business results. To drive meaningful change, it is essential to go beyond sporadic initiatives and develop a strategic framework for workplace wellbeing. By prioritising strategy, seeking expert assistance when needed, and taking action promptly, you can create a workplace environment that promotes employee health, happiness, and productivity.
The importance of wellbeing in the workplace is undeniable. At Dharma Centre of Wellbeing, we help businesses unlock employee potential through comprehensive, strategic and systematic wellbeing planning, and assessment. To access more information about how our consultancy services can help your business reap the benefits of workplace wellbeing; optimise the productivity of its workforce; and become nationally, (or internationally), recognised as having high standards of workplace wellbeing, visit the assessment and consultancy pages on our website.