Why employee wellbeing is important and how you can improve it

Woman smiling in an office with co-workers

Employee wellbeing should be a crucial focus for any business that wants to be successful, and if you’re not sure where to start or why, keep reading.

Wellbeing refers to a broad spectrum of different ideas, but it boils down to how we are doing as humans and if we are comfortable and happy.

According to Dr. Paul Litchfield, Compass Group’s newly appointed Chief Medical Officer, the starting point to ensuring employee wellbeing is “First and foremost, treat your people with the dignity and respect they deserve as fellow human beings.” Additionally, he has suggested that businesses focus on the critical motivations as a guide to their wellbeing approach, which are: health, security, relationships, environment, and purpose.

The impact of COVID-19 on everyone’s wellbeing has been significant. With the effects of lockdown and social isolation, health risks, uncertainty and adapting to an unprecedented amount of new rules to follow, influencing each person’s vision of the world and their state of mind. 

As the majority of people have been working from home during the lockdown period and are only now slowly starting to return over the coming months, we’ve witnessed that perceptions of the workplace have changed, presenting new challenges for employers to overcome.

According to a recent survey from LinkedIn, one in five employees surveyed said they intend to continue working from home until they feel more comfortable being around others in a workplace setting. Whilst 28% of respondents highlighted eating or rest areas in public/shared spaces as a concern of theirs. 

For some employees, concerns around returning to workplaces may be more serious, due to social isolation and health worries, new anxieties may have presented themselves. For others, it will be a welcomed relief to be back in the workplace, relishing face-to-face communication and collaboration once again. Each business will be dealing with both ends of this spectrum and everything in between, so to maintain a productive and happy workforce it’s essential to introduce wellbeing measures and a clear back to work strategy.

How to boost employee wellbeing and company culture

Equip employees with wellbeing and mindfulness apps

Businesses can boost employee wellbeing and company culture by introducing wellbeing and mindfulness apps such as Headspace, Unmind, and Calm. Apps like these support wellbeing and help employees get into a more relaxed mindset when work and personal lives become overwhelming. Something most of us have experienced to some degree during this intense period, whether it’s adapting to the pressures of working from home, homeschooling whilst managing a full time job or caring for a loved one.

Headspace, which offers specific programs for businesses of all sizes, states that using their app for just 3 weeks cuts reactivity to negative feedback by 57%, enabling more cohesion within teams.

Unmind also reports that 76% of employees who use their wellbeing platform feel in a better position to support the mental health and wellbeing of those around them. Crucial during this time, as employees recalibrate to this new normal of increased remote working and decreased socialisation.

Promote healthy eating

We know that nutrition is vital for both our physical and mental wellbeing, It impacts concentration, productivity, the immune system, and our feelings of self-worth. It has even been suggested that having a healthier diet and keeping fit will reduce the severity of COVID-19. If businesses can provide excellent and safe food services to their employees, it will positively affect their overall wellbeing and performance at work.

However the safety of employees is paramount. Businesses of all sizes are looking at ways they can safely manage food provisions in the office, as their workplaces continue to reopen and more staff return.

One solution to this challenge is Feedr’s Cloud Canteen – a contact-free pre-order and delivery food service. Employees can order from daily menus featuring local high quality, healthy food providers. Meals are then prepared and delivered to the office at lunchtime, individually packaged and named. As an employer, this is a fantastic way to keep employee health and wellbeing at the top of your agenda, as the service offers a safe way for your employees to get food without having to venture to the high street.

Keep communication flowing

Good communication between employees and management in both a casual and professional manner is the key ingredient for success and for a boost in company culture. During lockdown, it has been impossible to have casual chit-chat whilst grabbing a coffee which usually makes the workday less intense, so it is important to try and maintain this level of informal chat when you are not in the office. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep employees in the loop about how the business is willing to support them during these difficult times.

You can improve casual communication by planning out regular virtual get-togethers for employees to have water cooler conversations, virtual cook alongs, how-to sessions and online multiplayer games for something a bit different, or socially distanced team breakfasts and coffee breaks for those in the office.

In conclusion

Employee wellbeing should be high on every business’s agenda as we embark on this new normal for the coming months and beyond. Everyone has suffered in some way or another, so offering your employees a little extra support during this time, whether it’s a mindfulness app, virtual coffee dates or a healthy lunch service when they return to the office, will go a long way to boosting overall wellbeing and company culture.

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