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Wellbeing in the workplace: your guide to getting it right

Wellbeing in the workplace: your guide to getting it right

It's no secret that wellbeing and mental health awareness has increased across all areas of society, and rightly so. But when you consider that the average employee spends 36.7 hours at work each week, we must pay particularly close attention to wellbeing and mental health in the workplace.

With all the different advice available, and suggestions ranging from offering unlimited holiday to bringing your pets to the office, it can be hard to know where to focus your efforts. Wherever you are on your journey to improving workplace wellbeing, these key strategies can help you make a difference.

What is wellbeing at work?

At its core, wellbeing in the workplace is about providing the tools to help employees feel valued, safe, and content. Therefore, businesses and organisations should provide a work environment where their employees can thrive, develop their skill-set, and grow as people.

In a recent Deloitte study, 80% of Millennials and 82% of Gen Zs said mental health support and policies were important when considering an employer. So if you want to attract and retain the best talent within those demographics, then mental health and wellbeing in the workplace should be a top priority.

Why is wellbeing important in the workplace?

A good employee wellbeing strategy offers countless benefits, and aside from the obvious – happier employees – it can also encourage employee engagement, boost productivity, and improve employee retention.

Colleagues chatting in a modern office space

How to promote health and wellbeing at work

Promoting wellbeing in your business or organisation is essential to a good strategy. But where do you start? To make things a little easier, these are the key areas we've seen have the largest impact, here at Zip.

Focus on mental health

Starting a conversation about mental health should be the first step to building any workplace wellbeing strategy. Employers should provide – or at least signpost – where employees can get access to internal and third-party mental health support. But they should also seek to create an environment where issues can be discussed openly without prejudice, and in confidence.

For managers and leadership teams, providing mental health support has never been more important. According to MHFA England, 74 % of managers are concerned about their team's mental health due to the current cost of living crisis.

How to get started on improving mental health at work

Financial wellbeing is an essential cornerstone of good mental health. Spend time educating employees and managers about the early signs of mental ill health, and invest in good salaries, robust pension pots, and offer financial advice support where necessary.

Have line managers complete a Mental Health First Aid certification, or create a committee responsible for organising wellbeing initiatives and activities for colleagues. Both will improve communication about mental wellbeing within the workplace, and employees should feel safer to raise concerns should they need to.

Develop a positive, diverse, and inclusive work community

Inclusion in the workplace should be a given. From a compliance perspective, employers must abide by the Equality Act 2010, which gives legal protection to a range of protected characteristics, such as age, disability, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

A more diverse and inclusive workplace means different ideas, viewpoints, and solutions, which creates a more agile business as a result.

Diversity and inclusion are essential for attracting talent, too. In a World Economic Forum survey, 56% of Gen Zs said they wouldn't take a job without diverse leadership.

If you're looking for answers, ask how your employees feel

To develop a more positive, diverse, and inclusive community, it's important to understand where you're at. Have employees complete an anonymous survey and ask how they feel about leadership, initiatives, wellbeing, workplace problems, and overall job satisfaction.

By finding out what they think, you can identify any problem areas and focus your efforts where they'll make the biggest difference, creating a better workplace culture for the future.

Promote a good work-life balance

It's a phrase we've all heard, and there's no disputing that promoting a good work-life balance is a great way to encourage wellness at work.

Switching off outside working hours means when employees do come into the office, they're happier, less stressed, and more productive.

Indeed, a 2022 report found that more workers said they were attracted to a role for the positive work-life balance (41%), than the salary (36%). Senior leaders and managers should encourage employees to take holidays, avoid working at weekends, and spend time unwinding in the evenings to reduce the risk of burnout and dips in performance.

A greater work life balance, then, is key to the mental health and wellbeing of your employees.

A happy worker in a home office

Organise physical activities to give wellbeing a boost

Physical wellbeing shouldn't be overlooked, either. Getting up and moving your body is a simple way to decrease the risk of burnout, boost cognitive function, and improve performance at work.

While much of wellbeing centres around mental wellness, physical health is just as important. Try to organise fun physical activities for the whole company to build employee engagement and encourage healthy habits.

Playing in a company 5-a-side football league, starting an after-work running club, or hosting lunchtime yoga sessions are all great ways to get active and improve team morale. But it can also mean reduced absenteeism, as healthier workers should require fewer sick days.

Educate employees about stress management

Having a range of wellbeing initiatives to take part in is great, but it's also important that employees understand how stress manifests itself, and how best to manage it in themselves.

For instance, individuals should try and understand what their potential stressors are and learn how to handle them at home and work. Doing so will improve overall wellbeing and, in turn, performance.

There are many options for helping manage this, including taking regular breaks during the working day. However, not all breaks are created equal. 

Although it can be tempting to use your downtime to scroll social media or watch TV, the best use of a break might be screen-free. Getting some fresh air outside, going for a walk, or reading a book could be more beneficial for your own wellbeing.

Install a dedicated hydration station

Employees using a Zip tap in a modern office with green accent wall

At Zip, we know how important staying hydrated is for wellbeing. Recently, we compiled our ultimate guide to hydration, detailing what dehydration is and how it negatively affects wellbeing and employee performance.

Employers have a responsibility to provide drinking water for their employees. However, by providing higher quality filtered drinking water, you'll notice that your workforce drinks more.

We know this to be the case – in our research, we found 82% of people would drink more if they had access to our filtered water.

Hydrated individuals also show evidence of improved mood, sleep quality, and temperature regulation – all things that help to better handle stress and contribute to better wellbeing. Therefore, the wellbeing benefits of water can't be overstated. Dedicating a space in your office to drinking water is an easy way to provide a wellness and hydration solution that employees will use every day.

Our range of HydroTap for work might be the solution you've been looking for. Filtered boiling, chilled, and sparkling water on tap? That's pretty cool... if we do say so ourselves.

Discover how we can help improve wellbeing in the workplace with our full range today.

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