How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace by Focusing on Employee Wellbeing


Why is employee wellbeing important?

Why employee wellbeing is the key to productivity

What factors affect employee productivity?

Ready to increase productivity with improved employee wellbeing?


How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace by Focusing on Employee Wellbeing

There are few metrics as important to the success of a business than employee productivity.

It doesn’t just heavily influence the company’s output, but also the profitability of each employee and, ultimately, your bottom line.

The question is, if productivity is so essential, how do we go about improving it? Unfortunately, this seems like one problem UK businesses aren’t very good at solving.

British workers are among the least productive in the G7, with only Japan and Canada producing a lower output.

The secret of how to increase productivity in the workplace may lie in focusing on employee wellbeing.

Why is employee wellbeing important?

You’ve probably heard about the importance of employee wellbeing, but do you actually know what it means?

You should.

Employee wellbeing relates to every element of an employee’s life—and not just at work.

At Sodexo Engage we define it as being made up of three pillars: physical, mental and financial. If there’s an issue with any of these pillars—for example if they’re unwell, feel stressed in their role or worrying about money—everything falls down.

This has a big impact on businesses. In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates that depression and anxiety cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

Why employee wellbeing is the key to productivity

To have a thriving business you need thriving employees, and productivity is closely linked to employee wellbeing. 

A government study found significant evidence that workplace wellbeing and job performance are directly correlated, but as an organisation you need to ensure you’re supporting each pillar of employee wellbeing.

Physical wellbeing

The numbers on the link between physical wellbeing and productivity are clear: along with mental health, physical health accounts for more than 84% of direct effects on productivity, and 93% of indirect influences.

Physical health is also, unsurprisingly, closely linked to presenteeism and absenteeism. For example, a 2020 study conducted by the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity found that workers diagnosed with chronic physical health problems have an unhealthy diet or that don’t get much exercise tended to report reduced productivity due to presenteeism and absenteeism.

With this in mind, is your organisation doing enough to support physical wellbeing?

It might seem as though getting exercise and having a healthier diet is something for your employees to worry about in their free time, but they spend a huge amount of their waking life working. Seeing how much of a difference it could make to productivity, you need to be thinking about what programmes you can put in place to support physical wellbeing, whether that’s discounted gym memberships, providing free healthy snacks in the break room or implementing cycle to work schemes.

Mental wellbeing

When we’re happy we perform better at work.

As well as the study above showing just how important mental health is to productivity, a joint study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and BT found that happy workers are 13% more productive.

And it makes sense that we don’t perform as well when we’re unhappy, stressed or anxious. If there’s something on our mind it’s going to make it harder to focus on the task at hand, and that only becomes increasingly likely the more serious the issue is.

When an employee is suffering from a mental health issue it impacts every aspect of their work, from productivity and the quality of their work to how they manage their relationships. Supporting the mental wellbeing of your workforce is a complex issue, and your primary aim should be to create a supportive workplace culture, but there are some simple things you can implement immediately to support employees.

Take a look at our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and the benefits it can offer your team.

Financial wellbeing

Financial and mental wellbeing are closely linked. Almost all (90%) young workers say their mental health is affected by money worries, while two thirds of all age groups admit to worrying about job security.

Like with any other stressor, money worries lead to trouble concentrating, while it can also lead to absenteeism and long-term sickness. As an employer, you’re uniquely positioned to support your employees’ financial wellbeing due to the ‘salary link’, but your financial wellbeing strategy should go beyond monthly pay packets.

An employee benefits platform is one solution that can help your workforce’s salary go further, with money off the weekly shop and leading retailers. Salary sacrifice schemes are another great option that not only help employees avoid having to take out expensive lines of credit for things like travel season tickets, but also reduce tax and National Insurance contributions.

What factors affect employee productivity?

Understanding how to increase employee productivity at work requires you to know what factors influence it in the first place.


As we’ve discussed, wellbeing—whether it’s physical, mental or financial—is the number one driver of employee productivity.

As an employer you need to be supporting each of the three pillars of employee wellbeing, encouraging them to look after their own wellbeing, and implement the programmes, policies and processes that facilitate this.

Lack of recognition

Why should an employee go above and beyond if they’re not going to get any more credit than if they just did the bare minimum?

Rewarding staff for a specific achievement or consistently high performance makes them feel valued, boosts engagement and has been found to increase productivity and loyalty.

Work environment

Work environment includes everything from structural elements such as lighting and ventilation, through to the work atmosphere. This refers to factors like how well the team works together, how supportive the culture is and how valued employees feel.

Clear goals

In order for employees to be productive, they need to know what productivity looks like and what’s expected of them. This comes down to each individual’s goals, and they help your staff to prioritise what’s most important to the business. 

Ready to increase productivity with improved employee wellbeing?

Maximising your organisation’s productivity potential takes a lot of work, but fortunately it’s easy to get started on the journey towards supporting your employees’ wellbeing.

Here at Sodexo Engage we’ve been working with companies for over sixty years, providing them with the solutions for supporting each pillar of wellbeing.

Ready to find out more about increasing productivity with improved wellbeing? Get in touch with our expert team today and we’ll work with you to identify the best schedule of products to suit your organisation.