The term employee wellbeing refers to the impact your job has on your overall health and happiness. When we talk about wellness or wellbeing, we’re talking about a combination of good physical
health and good mental health.

Wellbeing in the workplace is influenced by several factors – some physical, some social, some psychological, and some environmental.

Help your employees and you’ll help your business. Businesses that make wellbeing a priority can expect huge boosts to job satisfaction and productivity, along with improved employee retention and reduced absences.

Why employers need to be aware of health and wellbeing in the workplace

According to the CIPD’s health and wellbeing report, HR managers identified within a survey that only 40% of UK businesses have a standalone employee wellbeing strategy.

What’s more, mental health is responsible for 56% of long-term unplanned absences, making it the most common cause of long-term absence.

While many companies are taking steps to address their employees’ wellbeing, far too many companies are doing it on an ad-hoc basis, with no real strategy in place. And that’s if they’re doing anything at all. Many organisations have no wellbeing program to speak of (as reflected in the CIPD’s survey results).

So, what can you do as an employer or manager support employee wellbeing in your business?

6 ways to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace

1. Keep on top of your absence statistics

An absence management system provides transparent reports that will help you to understand the absence trends for your business. If you understand your absence data, employee demographics and behaviors, you can take strategic actions to not only support employee wellbeing but also reduce absence costs.

2. Conduct routine return to work interviews

If an employee took time off for stress-related reasons, talk to them when they return to work. Ask them for their thoughts in a return to work interview on the source of the stress. You never know, you just might be able to help.

3. Make flexible working possible

If your employees can do their jobs remotely, let them. Remote working means less time and money spent on stressful commutes, and more time spent in an environment where your employees can feel safe and comfortable. Remote working also means that your employees won’t miss any days when the weather’s too extreme for them to safely travel.

4. Encourage better work-life balance

Offer generous leave for new parents. Make it clear that you’ll be willing to accommodate if your employees ever need to take time off, for whatever reason – from newborn babies to dental appointments.

5. Discourage overworking

Don’t pressure your employees into working too hard as it increases the risk of burnout. When the clock hits 5 pm, or whatever time you officially finish work, then make it clear that all work must stop immediately. If a particularly tight deadline or demanding project demands extra time, offer TOIL, so that your employees can make up the time elsewhere. Overworking should always be the exception – it’s not normal, and it should never be expected.

6. Remove the common sources of workplace stress

Mental health specialists Verywell Mind put together a list of some of the biggest causes of stress in the workplace. You might be surprised by some of the items listed, and by just how simple the solutions could be. For instance, many employees feel stressed because it’s unclear what exactly what’s expected of them. So, make everyone’s job responsibilities, and your expectations, as clear as you can. And if anyone’s job requirements are going to change, make sure you signpost the change, in writing, as early as possible.

Additional Resources on Employee Wellbeing