Which Health and Wellbeing Activities will Employees Engage with at Work?

Summary:

Why is employee wellbeing so important?

What sort of health and wellbeing activities are beneficial to employees?

How can you engage remote and hybrid teams?

How can you engage employees with health and wellbeing activities?

 


Which Health and Wellbeing Activities will Employees Engage with at Work?

Supporting the wellbeing of your employees has never been more important.

Although we appear to be emerging from the other side of Covid-19, the pandemic and lockdowns caused significant job insecurity and strain on our mental health. In fact, a study from this year found that more than one third (35%) of British workers are negatively impacted by stress, while 82% report experiencing anxiety and 74% feelings of depression.

Employee engagement is key to wellbeing, and there are a number of health and wellbeing activities at work that can give it a boost.

Why is employee wellbeing so important?

What’s most important to your organisation? 

Maybe it’s annual turnover, quarterly profits, talent acquisition and retention, or product innovation.

Employee wellbeing impacts all of these metrics, so isn’t it time you started to prioritise it?

When we’re happy at work we perform better, and this includes being more productive, more creative and less likely to take time off. Approximately 32.5 million working days are lost in the UK each year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety.

Supportive workplace cultures that prioritise wellbeing will help to attract and retain the best staff too. Job seekers are more conscious than ever of their physical, mental and financial wellbeing, and if your company has a reputation for neglecting them you’re going to lose out in the fight for your industry’s top talent.

Not convinced? Almost one third (31.3%) of candidates have turned down a job offer due to negative online reviews, while 62% of employees surveyed by Paychex and Future Workplace identified employee wellbeing as a key deciding factor when applying for a new job.

 

What sort of health and wellbeing activities are beneficial to employees?

Employee wellbeing is made up of three pillars: physical, mental and financial. When thinking about different health and wellbeing activities to implement in the workplace, consider how they support one or more of these pillars.

Physical wellbeing

When we’re healthier we feel better, and research has shown that physical health directly improves mental health, reducing anxiety, depression and negative moods.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking an employee's physical health is entirely their responsibility. There are a number of health and wellbeing activities an organisation can implement to support its workforce’s physical wellbeing.

Make healthy snacks freely available

A balanced diet is essential for physical wellbeing, but it can be hard to resist the instant energy hit of sugary foods and drinks when we’re given the choice.

Providing free healthy snacks—for example fruit and nuts—in the break room can support those healthier choices.

Also consider choosing healthier options for team lunches and food for long meetings. You don’t have to bin the pizzas permanently, but make them the exception rather than the rule.

Discounted gym memberships

Signing up to a gym can be expensive, so if the cost is what’s putting off some of your employees then offering corporate gym memberships will help them prioritise their health and fitness.

Cycle to work schemes

Reducing the cost of the daily commute, reducing your company’s carbon footprint and promoting a healthier lifestyle with more exercise are all benefits of implementing a cycle to work scheme.

Both the organisation and employee will also save money on tax and National Insurance contributions: up to 13.8% for the company, and up to a massive 42% for the employee!

Implement walking meetings

Office-based work is very sedentary, and being sat in front of a computer all day is no good for our physical health—or our creativity and productivity.

The likes of Aristotle, Steve Jobs and US president Harry Truman all used ‘walking’ meetings, which don’t just help us blow away the mental cobwebs, but also sneak some extra exercise into our days.

Challenge employees and managers to organise at least one walking meeting per week.

Mental wellbeing

Although mental health is a subject people still find difficult to talk about, things are improving. More and more of us understand the importance of addressing emotional wellbeing at home and at work.

Here are some great ideas for activities that will support mental wellbeing at work. 

Run meditation sessions

Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of meditation for our mental wellbeing, including reducing anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Implement weekly meditation sessions for anyone who wishes to attend, while you could also look at offering discounts to meditation apps through an employee benefits platform.

Other resources your organisation can put in place to promote mental wellbeing include an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). For example, our EAP will connect your workforce with professional counsellors that are accredited with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). 

Implement mental health awareness days

Instigate mental health awareness days periodically throughout the year that the whole organisation can get involved with. This might involve talks from mental health experts, roundtable discussions where smaller groups of employees discuss mental health issues in the workplace and more broadly, or fun activities that promote emotional wellbeing.

Creating a supportive culture where your employees know the organisation cares about their mental wellbeing is an essential element of improving mental health at work.

Financial wellbeing

Supporting your employees’ financial wellbeing doesn’t begin and end with their salary.

Employee recognition

Health and wellbeing activities at work are a great way to reward a job well done, whether that’s the entire company or individual teams and departments.

This could include nights out, dinner at a restaurant or film rewards, and recognition through fun social activities doesn’t just support financial wellbeing—they help to forge better relationships too.

Run money management and financial advice sessions

Knowing how to manage money effectively is essential for financial wellbeing now and in the future, but it’s not always an easy subject to get your head around.

To help your employees plan their finances better, invite expert speakers to put on talks about various elements of financial wellbeing, for example pension planning, investing or simple money management advice. In fact, one in five workers said they’d value broader financial guidance, debt management and counselling if they were struggling with money worries.

 

How can you engage remote and hybrid teams?

Since Covid-19, more employees than ever before are either fully remote or hybrid workers. It’s essential organisations put just as much, if not more, effort into engaging these teams as on-site staff.

This means ensuring that the health and wellbeing activities you put in place aren’t all on-site or in-person only.

Run dedicated virtual team building activities

Team building days are typically held on-site and require employees to be there in person, but excluding remote workers will undermine the team spirit you’re attempting to create. With that in mind, make sure virtual activities are a part of the day, or run a separate team building day with exclusively digital events.

Stream expert speaker events

If you’re bringing in an expert to talk on a specific subject, such as financial or mental wellbeing, make sure you’re also streaming it for remote employees. If that’s not possible, record the event and share it with remote employees afterwards.

Facilitate travel to the workplace

Offer to pay for remote workers’ travel for team building days. The money might not be an issue, but making reasonable efforts to facilitate the employee coming into the office will make them feel valued and might be the difference between them attending or not.

Implement an online benefits platform

It’s harder to engage remote workers with activities due to their location, but other solutions can help improve employee engagement.

An employee benefits platform, accessible wherever the employee might be based, helps to support their wellbeing with discounts on leading brands, cinema benefits, money off family holidays and more.


How can you engage employees with health and wellbeing activities?

Want to find out more about engaging your organisation’s employees with health and wellbeing activities at work?

Here at Sodexo Engage, we’ve worked with some of the world’s leading brands to supercharge employee engagement, boosting productivity and supporting wellbeing.

We’ll work with you to identify the employee benefits and rewards packages that make sense for your business, backed up by our 60 years of experience and expertise. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to employee wellbeing, so we won’t prescribe a set list of solutions.

Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help your business, with:

  • Our Employee Benefits Platform, boasting an award-winning range of benefits.
  • Salary Sacrifice Schemes, including annual leave purchase, tech deduct and travel season tickets.
  • Our Employee Assistance Programme, offering face-to-face counselling, email and phone support from BACP-accredited mental health professionals.
  • A Rewards and Recognition platform with a wide range of ways to recognise hard work and success.