Putting wellbeing first

With Christmas behind us and the New Year well and truly underway, ‘January Blues’ may well be setting-in. There will also be those who may be more ‘down’ than usual, perhaps feeling stressed, lonely or undervalued.

Although more and more organisations are recognising the need to support employees with their wellbeing needs, many are still falling short in relation to emotional and social wellbeing. Only 14 per cent of workers believe their workplace prioritises emotional wellbeing and a mere 9 per cent believes their company cares about their social wellbeing. It’s time organisations cared about the employee as a whole – their physical as well as their social and emotional needs, otherwise known as holistic wellbeing. And with the post-Christmas ‘low’ intensifying people’s emotions, now’s a good time to start.

Using findings from The 2018 Global Culture Report by The O.C. Tanner Institute, Georgia Portwain, Culture and Engagement Strategist from O.C. Tanner Europe provides her top tips on how to care for employees’ holistic wellbeing.

1. Focus on the bigger picture of wellbeing – Think beyond just physical wellbeing so that social and emotional wellbeing are prioritised. The bottom line benefits of this approach must be ‘sold into’ the leaders so that they’re on board, as without their backing, any initiatives will fall flat and will simply be token gestures. The advantages of taking a rounded approach to wellbeing are huge, for instance, when social and emotional wellbeing are prioritised, 52 per cent of employees will feel less stress than average. 

2. Be inclusive – Inclusion isn’t just about diversity but is all about helping employees to feel they can be their authentic selves, they belong and are valued. When an organisation’s culture is inclusive, employees are 141 per cent more likely to feel a sense of belonging. With the rise of technology leading to higher level of loneliness and depression, especially among Gen Z and Millennials, feeling a sense of belonging is more important than ever before.

3. Prioritise connections and work/life integration  – Ensure your workplace is filled with camaraderie and encourage workplace friendships and interactions rather than relying on technology for communications. It’s also important to provide policies and technologies to allow employees to decide to want extent they want to integrate their work and personal lives. When employees feel forced to respond to work-related issues while away from work, 34 per cent are more likely to leave the organisation.

4. Create a space that builds friendships – Take a look at your office with fresh eyes. Is there an area where employees can relax and share ideas?  Workspaces must encourage creativity, collaboration and innovation and so provide communal spaces and shared screens to build camaraderie and enable teamwork. When an organisation’s workspace enables interactions with colleagues, employees are 84 per cent more likely to have a close friend at work and are 92 per cent more likely to feel optimistic about the future! However it’s equally as important to provide areas where staff can have some personal space if needed.

5. Appreciate! – It’s key to have a recognition programme in place which ensures staff are thanked in a meaningful and sincere way, and which involves managers and peers in the celebrations. Such an approach can lead to powerful results, for instance, when employees are regularly recognised for the effort they put in and the results they achieve, they feel a 33 per cent increase in a sense of belonging and a 27 per cent increase in overall health. Although employees should be appreciated all year round, why not say a special “thank you” to staff this January when they may need some ‘perking-up’?

People thrive on social interactions and feelings of ‘belonging’ and yet it’s all too easy to rely on technology for building workplace connections, ignoring the importance of face-to-face relationships. To ensure employees thrive at work socially, emotionally as well as physically, it’s vital for organisations to address the holistic wellbeing of their staff. The results will be a workplace in which people feel prioritised, a sense of ‘belonging’ and are both happy and healthy.

Author: Editor

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