Employee Wellbeing has become a focus for most employers
And it's not going away any time soon. Here's how to adapt your wellbeing programme for 2021...
Employee wellbeing has become a focus for most employers in the last year, and it’s not going away anytime soon. A robust staff wellbeing strategy should create a safe and inclusive environment for all and help prevent things like employee burnout.
It’s encouraging to see the recent focus in mental health in the workplace and recognising when people are suffering. But wellbeing efforts should be focusing on prevention rather than treatment.
Although 2020 is over, and many of us have started to adapt to the new norm, it doesn’t mean the focus on employee wellbeing is going away anytime soon. There are many challenges we still have to face together, including job security, financial hardship, a lack of social contact and the ongoing pandemic have led to increased stress in the population.
We all know we should be looking after our mental and physical health, but did you know there are five pillars of wellbeing that your programme needs to be addressing? These are:
- Mental and emotional wellbeing – supporting mental health
- Social wellbeing – keeping people connected
- Financial wellbeing – minimising financial strain
- Physical wellbeing – staying physically healthy
- Digital wellbeing – using technology in a healthy way
If even one of these pillars isn’t being addressed, it can knock us out of balance. Here’s how you can adapt your wellbeing programme in 2021 to address these pillars:
Mental and emotional wellbeing:
When our mental and emotional health is in good shape it means we can think clearly, we can respond to everyday challenges and know when to ask for help. Employers should be creating an environment where people are able to be themselves and have the freedom to express themselves.
We know that the pandemic has affected everyone’s mental health. In fact, according to research from AXA, 64% of people said their stress levels had increased since before the pandemic, while 84% said they had a poor or low state of mind.
Consider revaluating initiatives put in place when we all first moved to home working, to ensure they’re still fit for purpose going forwards. Whether that’s weekly check-ins, or different ways of working that were put in place.
Make sure all line managers in your business are supported with advice around work-related stress and performance in remote workers. It’s also a good idea to ensure your wellbeing strategy includes everyone, including managers, leaders and HR.
The mental health of your employees can be difficult to know how to manage, but you don’t have to do it alone. You could look at offering an employee assistance programme, which can reduce the chance of your employees experiencing mental health issues by offering free, confidential mental health support with BACP-accredited counsellors.
This pillar of wellbeing is closely connected with our mental and emotional wellbeing. Having a sense of belonging, communicating with other people, and staying connected both boost our social wellbeing, but also our mental health.
As an employer, it’s important to create a culture of togetherness, promote collaboration and knowledge sharing, as well as creating an environment of trust, transparency and opportunities for connection and relationship building.
This can be tricky when we’re all remote working, but there are some things you can do to get around it. Have informal chat channels amongst your teams, so they can all check in with each other like they would in an office environment. You could also have short socials in company time, whether that’s weekly tea breaks, monthly quizzes or online exercises together, this is a great use of that last hour on a Friday when we’re all getting ready for the weekend. If you’re not sure what your employees would want, why not send out a poll? The results might give you some great ideas!
When we’re having financial troubles, the additional stress and anxiety can affect our mental health. Having control over our financial wellbeing means we have the skills and resources to manage our money, can plan our finances, as well as cope with any pressures and challenges that we may face.
Talking about finances isn’t always easy, but there are some ways you can help your employees with their money troubles. Firstly, try to remove the stigma around experiencing money pressures, as well as provide your employees with the education, tools and support they need to manage their finances.
If you’re not sure where to start, our financial wellbeing services help your employees take steps to secure their financial future, whether it’s help with financial education or debt consolidation we can help. Plus, we make it easy to integrate financial support with your existing payroll system.
We all know that our physical health is important, when we exercise regularly, eat well and get enough sleep it can help us to feel our best as well as looking after our long-term health.
There are a few ways you can help your employees look after their physical wellbeing. Including:
- Giving your team the flexibility to work in a way that suits them, ensuring your employees have the time to look after themselves through reasonable workloads, healthy working practices and encouraging a good work-life balance.
- Offering a safe working environment, wherever your employees are. Including helping them set up a good workplace at home and encouraging them to make healthy decisions at home if they’re remote working. Or making sure their work environments are complying with the current government guidelines and making sure your employees feel safe at work.
- Support employees in making healthy decisions at home, like moving away from back-to-back meetings to give them a break from a screen if they need it or encouraging everyone in your business to block out their lunch break in their calendar.
- Look at schemes you can offer to encourage your employees to get active, such as cycle to work to allow your employees to find the bike of their dreams, while spreading the cost over 12 to 18 months and saving them 42% in tax and NI contributions.
- Download our free health and wellbeing pack, which includes exercise you can do at home.
When we’re looking after our digital health it means we feel control of the tech in our lives, and it helps us do our jobs. But we don’t feel overwhelmed by it and we can switch off from work outside of hours.
It’s important to create a workplace culture where tech is there to improve how we work, places work-life balance at the heart of it (especially when working from home where it’s harder to switch off) and ensures that everyone has the digital tools they need to do their jobs.
Make sure your employees have been properly trained on the tech they need to use to work every day. With remote working, many of us aren’t getting the screen breaks we may be used to with meetings all being virtual. So, encourage your employees to remember to take breaks away from their screen.
There are also ways technology can help with wellbeing, whether that’s mindfulness apps or online exercise classes.
How we can help:
We know it isn’t always easy to know how to offer a comprehensive staff wellbeing programme that benefits all employees. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees health and wellbeing, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your staff.