Mentally healthy workplaces are an environment that makes people want to come to work. As workers find themselves spending longer hours at work, it is important they feel mentally healthy, safe and valued at their workplace. This is not only for their own wellbeing, but for the sake of the company as well. Modern research is finding that mentally healthy workers are more productive and less likely to take sick leave, showing how important health and wellbeing is in the workplace.
What does health and wellbeing mean in the workplace
Health and wellbeing in the workplace is all about creating environments where employees feel safe, happy and valued at work. When employees are working and thriving in a mentally healthy work environment, productivity increases, moods lift and motivation levels soar. This makes for happy employees and a successful business.
Implementing health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace doesn’t mean eliminating all stress and aggravating factors. It simply means understanding mental health better and adopting a few practices to encourage wellbeing at work. In mentally healthy workplaces, people watch out for each other and ask if everything is ok. The individuals in charge will understand mental health and the right and wrong way to talk about it, and employees will understand strategies they can use to help them through challenging times.
Adopting health and wellbeing practices in the workplace doesn’t mean changing business operations. Rather, it is about implementing a few strategies or initiatives here and there to get the best out of employees.
Benefits of promoting good health and general wellbeing practices
From increasing productivity and motivation to bringing the team together, promoting good health and wellbeing in the workplace has a range of benefits for both the employer and employee.
By simply implementing a few wellbeing and mental health programs or strategies throughout the business, employees know that their needs are recognised and valued by the company. Knowing that their work is valued helps to increase productivity rates and feelings of goodwill.
Another benefit of wellbeing and good health in the workplace is that by keeping employees generally well looked after, companies are cutting health care costs through decreasing employee absence days. Recruitment and retention also improves as happy employees generally don’t want to leave their jobs in search of something better.
At the end of the working day, taking steps to promote a healthy workplace and healthy employees benefits everyone involved. Having happy and engaged employees fuels motivation levels, improves engagement and encourages innovation – all things that benefit the business.
By taking the time to invest in employee wellbeing, employers are creating happier, healthier and more productive work environments.
Top initiatives to implement
From training and fitness programs to flexible working hours and office design, businesses have a lot of options when deciding how to implement health and wellbeing in the workplace effectively. Whatever direction a business decides to go, it is important that employees are consulted and able to make suggestions for the initiatives to work best.
One option is the idea of working smarter not harder. Have employees work on one task at a time, allowing them to work collaboratively and give them the most up to date tools to complete their job. Allowing employees to work on one task at a time cuts down stress levels and increases focus. While working in collaboration builds cohesion and inclusiveness within a business.
Simple touches around the office can also go a long way in promoting wellbeing. Placing potted plants around workspaces provides the office with a clean supply of air, making it easy to breathe and function. Working in an office space with plenty of light (be it natural or from light fixtures) helps keep employees awake and feeling fresh.
Physical fitness also plays a role in employee health and wellbeing. As office hours take up a big part of the day, providing employees with on-site fitness programs is another way to promote health in the workplace. Anything from sit-stand desks to yoga classes or an on-site gym can work towards giving an employee balance and exercise, which helps fuel their work.
Sometimes the best way to promote wellbeing is to allow employees to work remotely a few times a week. For employees that can work efficiently from home, a break from being in the same surroundings and a long commute can boost emotional and mental wellbeing while still doing their job.
On the job mindfulness and emotional development training can also go a long way in promoting health and wellbeing in any workplace. By participating in workshops and active learning, both employers and employees learn about balance and how it can be implemented, as well as techniques to relieve stress to perform to a high standard at work. By offering this training at work, employees can see for themselves that their company supports their wellbeing and is providing them with ways to remain healthy.