Lucy Spencer from Conscious Business Solutions looks at what can you start doing today to help improve the health of your employees.
The way we operate in business is changing for the better post pandemic. One of the main wins to come from this is that businesses are finally taking more notice of employees’ wellbeing.
For some, there is a genuine desire to improve the health of their employees. For others, it’s still a financial decision. The cold, hard truth is that it costs a business money if employees are off work (or trying to carry on at work) when they have a physical or mental illness.
In 2022, Deloitte’s mental health report recorded the cost of mental health related sickness absence at £53-56 billion per year.
So, what can you start doing today to help improve the health of your employees?
When you’re hard at work and feeling rather time poor, one of the last things on your mind is to consistently check in with employees. Yet this can be one of the most valuable things you can do. It will allow you to find out how they’re feeling. This isn’t just a casual check in. You need to find out how they’re really feeling.
Sometimes just being listened to can help. But also consider if there’s anything, either in or out of work, that they’re feeling anxious about that you can help with? Are they feeling over worked, so suggesting some tasks they could delegate could relieve the problem? Or do they need to be signposted to someone who is experienced with the issue?
Listen without judgement to the employee and ensure confidentiality.
2. Access to a professional
Employees need to know the process in your company to easily access a professional. This could be a simple list of contact details made available on your internal document storage system for a GP service or organisations to help with mental health problems such as Mind.
It’s also becoming increasingly common to provide access via an Employee Assistance Programme to a GP or counsellor that can help an employee through their health issues. Many wellness apps provide similar services, along with access to videos designed to improve employees’ wellness via activities like mindfulness exercises or yoga.
Whatever you have in place doesn’t need to be complicated. You just need to ensure employees have access to help and they’re aware of how to get this.
Your office environment has a part to play in people’s health too. On a physical level, does your office layout support your employees to complete their best work? This could involve having an area away from the desk to take a break and perhaps a space designed to support collaboration.
How about bringing the outdoors in by adding some plants around the office? They help to relieve stress, boost creativity and clean the air.
The behaviours encouraged in a workplace also have an impact on the environment and so people’s health. Creating a Code of Ethics in collaboration with employees is a great way for a company to determine expected behaviours. This could cover items from the policy on discrimination and bullying to requirements around privacy and security.
4. Morning routine
Providing advice on a healthy morning routine may to some seem like an overstep for a company. Yet when you commit to supporting your employees to be as healthy as possible, this can be a useful practice. After all, your morning routine really can set you up for the day.
Everyone is different so each employee will have to work out what best suits them. Providing guidance on a wide variety of activities will therefore be helpful. These could include yoga, qi gong, meditation, breathing techniques, and journalling.
These four suggestions are great starting points to improve employee health and wellbeing. They can be built upon to create a caring and supportive work environment that prioritises employees’ health.
So, what will you be implementing in your company?
Discover more about Conscious Business Solutions here.
Click here to visit the Devon & Plymouth Chamber’s Wellbeing Hub.