employee wellbeing has grown in importance recently
But are you supporting your employees across all areas of their wellbeing...
Over the last year employee wellbeing has become the focus for many HR teams across the UK, with 82% of private sector businesses now having some form of wellbeing benefits or strategy for staff compared to just 25% in 2016 (REBA/AXA Health). But are these wellbeing benefits supporting employees holistically?
To fully support your employees, any wellbeing strategy or benefits should be addressing all five pillars of wellbeing. These are:
- Helping people stay physically well
- Using technology in a healthy way
- Addressing financial stress
- Keeping people connected
- Supporting emotional and mental health.
If we’re affected in just one of these areas, our wellbeing as a whole can be too. In this blog, we’re looking exclusively at emotional and mental wellbeing, what it is, why it’s important and how you can help….
What is Emotional Wellbeing?
Also known as emotional and mental wellbeing, this pillar is all about our ability to be able to think clearly, be aware of our feelings and choose and have the personal resources and resilience to respond to challenges and know when to ask for help. When we have resilience, it means we can maintain our performance and wellbeing when under pressure. There will be times when we’re facing challenges in life or work that can get us down, but the key is understanding how to recover, learn from and move on from the challenges we face.
As a business, it’s important to create a culture where people can be themselves, proactively support mental health and communicate openly with everyone. Try to focus on mental wellness, not just illness.
Why is it important to support your employees with emotional wellbeing?
As an employer you may feel like it’s not your place to support your employees with their mental health and wellness, but our working lives can contribute to our emotional wellbeing. Work can provide fulfilment and achievement and also stress, unhappiness and mental ill health.
We all know that happy, healthy employees tend to have fewer sick days, so if we’re not eating well, exercising, getting enough rest and looking after our emotional wellbeing then we won’t be able to be our best. As an employer, here’s how you can help…
How can employers help with employee’s emotional wellbeing?
1. Create a culture that is open around mental health:
One of the first ways to help with your employee’s emotional wellbeing is creating a culture where everyone feels that they can come forward and talk about their mental health. You could start having discussions in their regular one to ones, before talking about where they are with work, just check in to see how they’re doing if anything is bothering them. It’s also important to be open about your own wellbeing, and senior leaders in the business to talk about it as well. The more people who are open about it, the more comfortable everyone else will feel.
As well as making sure your workplace is open to talk around mental health issues, try to encourage line managers to pay attention to their teams. An employee who is always on time, and then suddenly starts to regularly turn up late it could be a sign that they’re struggling with something.
2. Give them access to additional support:
As a business, you don’t have to directly support people if they’re struggling, but what you can do is provide them with access to additional support. Employee Assistance Programmes can help. They can give your employees access to BACP-accredited counsellors for face-to-face, online, e-mail or phone support 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Make sure these services are well signposted, so everyone knows they’re available and how to access them.
3. Focus on work-life balance:
Having a good work-life balance is key for us all to remain emotionally resilient. When we make time for ourselves to do the things we enjoy, whether that’s reading, exercise, or cooking, it can make us more productive in all aspects of our lives.
Encourage your employees to take regular breaks throughout the day (which is also important for employees who are using a screen all day), have lunch away from their desks, finish work on time and leave their work at work, whether they work from home or in the office.
4. Mindfulness and mind games:
Although you might not expect it, mind games like a puzzle or a crossword can help with your employee’s emotional wellbeing. This is because they challenge us mentally, can help us feel positive, and keep our minds healthy. You could send out weekly puzzles for your employees to do during they day, or a 5-minute riddle mid-morning, helping to break up the day and challenge their mind too!
Being mindful can also help. This is just a way of paying attention to the present moment and can help prevent us focusing too much on past events or worrying about the future. You could look at offering online meditation or yoga, both of which can help us manage our emotions.
5. Look at flexible working:
From our physical environment to the hours we’re working, it can all impact our emotional wellbeing. Talk to your employees to see where they would work best, whether that’s at home, in the office, or a mix of both.
Being flexible with hours helps too, if your employee has had a particularly stressful morning before work, taking a break to get some fresh air could really boost their productivity before starting the day.
How we can help:
We know it isn’t always easy to know how to offer a wellbeing programme that benefits all employees across all five pillars of wellbeing. 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.