"FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10 per cent."
That statistic comes from the BITC Workwell FTSE 100 Public Reporting Benchmarking Research Findings – and was included in a report from the mental health charity Mind.
In the same report they include a finding from a survey of 2,060 people in the UK and Wales: "60% of employees say they'd feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing."
Promoting wellbeing, and creating workplaces that facilitate good mental and physical health, is an affordable way to prevent absences, reduce sickness and improve staff retention rates – as well as your employer brand.
How can your company promote wellbeing at work?
Get senior leaders on board
Support for employee wellbeing programmes must come from the top. Managers and employees should all feel encouraged and supported to pursue wellbeing – in all its guises. Spending time on wellbeing activities is not lost or wasted time; and this message must come from all senior leaders.
Start from the beginning
Employees need to understand the importance of wellbeing from the start of their employment. Employees should be directed to sources of support and encouraged to have honest conversations with their manager so that help can be provided when required. Induction materials should mention wellbeing programmes and reinforce its importance.
A wellbeing programme and campaign are important to establish the importance of wellbeing, and to raise awareness of the issues and the support available.
Assess the workplace and the work
Your wellbeing programme will be wasted if the work is damaging. Employees need a sustainable workload, healthy working practices and an environment that doesn't diminish health. For example, you might need to give employees opportunities to take breaks or to experience fresh air and daylight, or you might want to make offices feel less corporate by including plants, healthy snacks and comfortable seating.
Train managers to support wellbeing
Your line managers play a major role in supporting employee wellbeing, and they should be trained to understand the components of wellbeing, and how work can either support, or detract, from employee wellbeing.
Flexible working options
Can your employees manage their lives as effectively as they manage their work? Flexible working can help people organise their lives in a way that makes sense for them, taking into account their other interests, concerns and responsibilities – which in turn can significantly reduce stress and help people focus on their work.
Train employees to address wellbeing
As we discussed in a recent article, 65% of employees don't take part in any stress-relieving activity (like exercise or spending time on hobbies). This suggests that employees need help to recognise their own role in their wellbeing. While corporate wellbeing programmes are admirable and positive, employees must also take part and take action to reduce stress and make their work manageable and sustainable for the long term.