5 Wellness Initiatives to Improve Employee Experience


What is employee wellbeing and why is it important?

The benefits of wellbeing in the workplace

5 wellness initiatives to implement in the workplace

Ready to invest in employee wellbeing?


5 Wellness Initiatives to Improve Employee Experience

More and more businesses are implementing wellbeing initiatives in the workplace in the UK. Is your organisation one of them?

Let’s take a look at the benefits of prioritising wellbeing in the workplace, and some of the initiatives you can put in place to help support it.

What is employee wellbeing and why is it important?

We consider employee wellbeing to be made up of mental, physical and financial health. This also includes feeling happy and satisfied at work.

These three pillars of wellbeing have an impact on every area of our lives, both at home and at work. When one of these pillars isn’t supported, everything can fall down.

Supporting your organisation’s employee wellbeing is important because your organisation is its people. When your workforce’s wellbeing isn’t at its best their productivity, engagement and decision making all suffer. As an example, depression and anxiety cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion per year in lost productivity, according to the World Health Organisation.

The benefits of wellbeing in the workplace

So, why exactly should you invest in workplace wellbeing? Because organisations that do enjoy a number of significant benefits.

Increased productivity

Do you think your employees are as productive as they could be? Considering British workers are among the least productive in the G7, the chances are they’re not, but it won’t necessarily be their fault.

Happiness, mental health and recognition all play a big part in delivering high levels of output:

  • A study conducted by BT and Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found employees were 13% more productive when they were happy.
  • Workplace stress, including feelings of depression or anxiety, leads to a drop in productivity.
  • More than two thirds (69%) of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were recognised.

Want to see increased productivity from your workforce? Make sure you’re prioritising wellbeing at work.

Better staff retention and acquisition

The most successful companies keep hold of their best talent, but if you’re not doing anything to support their wellbeing, why should they demonstrate loyalty to the organisation?

On average, dissatisfied employees waste £2,732 per person in recruitment costs compared with happy staff. 

Wellbeing initiatives in the workplace can also improve talent acquisition. More than two thirds (70%) of candidates now consult review sites like Glassdoor before making job decisions, with 31.3% actually turning down job offers due to negative online reviews. If your organisation isn’t willing to support employee wellbeing it’s not going to secure positive reviews online.

Reduced sick leave/absence

Over 30 million working days are lost in the UK each year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety, but you can start to reduce your share of this by implementing initiatives that support mental wellbeing.

What’s more, the rate of workplace mental health issues are on the rise, with the pandemic being a significant factor, so it’s never been more important to put in place policies and procedures to tackle them. 

5 wellness initiatives to implement in the workplace

1. Flexible working hours

What’s important to your organisation when it comes to employee output? Quality of work or volume of work?

There is of course a third option: what time of day and the day of the week work gets done—but probably not.

Despite this, many organisations are still insisting that their workforce sticks to the old-fashioned 9-5. If you’re one of them, have you asked yourselves why?

In the past, employees simply had to fit their lives around their work schedule, but the modern worker wants more understanding from their employers. In fact, 80% of employees would stay with an organisation for longer if they were offered flexible working arrangements.

By offering even a limited degree of flexibility you recognise that sometimes people need to prioritise something else, while showing that you trust them to get the job done on a schedule that suits them. They’ll repay that faith in the long run.

2. Remote working options

The same businesses that are reluctant to implement flexible working are often also reluctant to implement remote working.

The benefits to the employee are much the same—the chance to fit working life around their personal life while still delivering the same output—but for the organisation you also open yourselves up to a much wider talent pool. You’re no longer competing for the limited talent within a 20-mile radius of the office building, but a national or even global selection of expertise.

Like with flexible hours, job hunters are looking for remote working options now, with 37% willing to quit their job and move to a company that does offer it.

3. Recognise success with a rewards platform

A thank you goes a long way, but it’s not always going to be enough.

A massive 79% of employees surveyed by OC Tanner reported quitting their jobs as a result of a lack of recognition, so you need to implement a platform that makes sure a job well done is rewarded.

This might include discounts on leading retail brands, eVouchers to spend online or prepaid recognition cards that empower employees to spend their money where they see fit, but you only have to spend 1% of payroll on recognition before seeing positive business outcomes.

4. Implement an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

As we’ve already mentioned, people need support for their mental wellbeing like never before. 

It’s important to create a supportive company culture where everyone feels as though they’ll be supported and listened to if they have concerns, but not everyone wants to speak about mental health with someone they know.

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can provide access to professional and confidential mental health support. At Sodexo Engage, our EAP will connect your team with counsellors that are fully accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), with access to sessions via the phone or face-to-face.

5. Encourage and facilitate healthier choices

On average, Brits spend 8.9 hours a day sitting down, with office workers sitting for 10 hours per day. This ultimately leads to a number of health issues, including back pain, muscular degeneration and heart disease, but what are you doing to empower your workforce to be less sedentary?

A lack of physical activity costs the UK an estimated £7.4 billion every year, but fortunately there are a number of potential quick wins in regard to wellbeing initiatives that support physical health:

  • Consider offering discounted gym memberships for all employees. Although cost isn’t always the reason someone doesn’t want to join a gym, if it is then a discount can be the encouragement they need.
  • Encourage ‘walking meetings’, that not only help people get some fresh air, they also encourage a little extra exercise each day and get people up from their desks.
  • Offering free healthy snacks at work will help to discourage employees from snacking on sugary food and drink. While sugar can provide a quick burst of energy, it also leads to an energy crash which isn’t good for productivity or focus.
  • A cycle to work scheme encourages more exercise and aids financial wellbeing. Not only do employees get to swap their cars for bicycles, but they can find the bike of their dreams and save up to 42% in tax and National Insurance Contributions. As the employer, you can also save up to 13.8% on NICs!

Ready to invest in employee wellbeing?

There are a huge number of benefits to organisations that invest in improving employee wellbeing, but there’s a lot to consider, especially when taking into account all three pillars of wellbeing: mental, physical and financial.

However, when you choose to work with a provider that has a track record of delivering first-class wellbeing solutions, you can be confident that you’re on the right track.

Here at Sodexo Engage we’ve been helping organisations just like yours for over six decades to support employee wellbeing.

Want to find out more about wellbeing at work?