As we head into spring, it’s natural for new year’s resolutions, like from training for a marathon or giving up sugar, to start to wane slightly, but it can be a great opportunity to bring employer wellbeing support to the fore, and work with your people to help them achieve their goals.
In fact, mental health charity Mind found that 60% of employees say they would feel more motivated – and therefore more productive – if their employer took action to support their health. They are also more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work – something particularly critical given the challenges many businesses face with finding experienced staff.
With this in mind, here are five changes you can make in our own team to provide better wellbeing support for your employees this year:
Discover what support employees need
The best support to give is one that is needed. So the first place to start is identifying employees’ goals and challenges. An employee survey is the best method of gathering information on whether their priority is physical or mental health, or improving their financial and/or social wellbeing.
This powerful data can then be used to explore what specific benefits or policies will best support your team, and inform a tailored wellbeing support plan.
Bear in mind that you might not be able to cater to every individual, but you can try to support them to meet their needs and ambitions.
Build better habits
Habits are an unconscious response to a trigger and compose much of our daily activities – a study at Duke University examined the diaries of students and community members and concluded that up to 45% of the activities and tasks we undertake daily are habitual.
To change or create a new habit, you need to find a trigger for the behaviour, reward that behaviour, and make the change an easy choice.
This could be focusing on building a new habit of taking more breaks, boosting both physical and mental wellbeing. For the employee who struggles to book themselves regular time off from work, they could benefit from a trigger like an email reminder every few months of how much annual leave they have left to take. With the reminder hopefully the employee will be spurred into action to book themself a holiday, a reward in itself.
Create daily wellbeing moments
45% of men and 37% of women walk for less than 30 minutes a day at work, 38% email colleagues next to them, while 52% regularly eat lunch at their desk, according to a survey of office workers by the British Heart Foundation.
Sedentary working life, and its potential negative health implications, can be combatted by building in moments for movement throughout the work day.
For example, you can hold walking meetings instead of seated video calls, yoga in the office, encourage employees to visit the gym during their lunch break, organise team lunches away from the office, or launch and support work sports teams.
Bring wellbeing into your benefits
Employee benefits are an extremely effective way to provide more opportunities for a healthier lifestyle. However, employers should only encourage and support healthy habits, not dictate how an employee should approach their health.
There are five pillars of wellbeing that your benefit offering should cover – physical, mental, social, financial, and digital. Examples of benefits include National Trust memberships for those who are looking to up their step count, online learning platforms for those who want to develop a skill, mental health first aid training, and regular health screenings.
You may want to consider a corporate healthcare trust that enables employers to provide the benefits and support employee’s needs. These can allow employers to create flexible healthcare packages built around your team, while also saving costs for the business in the long term with any unused claims rolled into future years.
Get everyone involved
Everyone in an organisation has a role to play in ensuring healthy habits at work, regardless of department or seniority.
The HR team may lead the way in steering a company culture that incorporates wellness, but, managers can also lead the way by openly encouraging breaks throughout the day, hosting ‘wellbeing check-ins’, and taking preventative action if they notice a problem. Managers play a critical role in employee wellbeing; the CIPD, found that a quarter (26%) of respondents blamed the management style for work-related stress. As such it’s vital to get managers on board with looking out for their teams.
Placing health at the heart of your culture
Being healthier and hitting a new year’s resolution isn’t the responsibility of an employer, but businesses can play a role in helping their people make healthier choices and build healthier daily habits. From offering healthier snacks, encouraging regular breaks, or offering access to wellbeing benefits, can be the simple trick that sparks a healthier lifestyle, while improving workplace morale and productivity.
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