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Investing in Health: Strategies for Employee Wellbeing Enhancement

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The meaning of employee wellbeing has changed in recent years. Traditionally, it was not a major focus of employers. Companies always offered some perks, but they were mainly interested in the team’s productivity. Burnout and stress were considered inevitable results of a demanding work environment.

However, studies revealed how much businesses actually lose due to employee turnover and absenteeism due to stress and dissatisfaction. On average, a person takes a minimum of 8 days of sick leave per year for these reasons. So, employers started to realize that a happier workforce brings financial benefits. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic made it obvious that the importance of wellbeing should be readdressed.

Why employee wellbeing matters.

Employee wellbeing is traditionally associated with free gym membership offers or other regular incentives at work. However, it is a much deeper concept that considers an employee’s physical, mental, and social well-being. In simple words, it is a favorable working environment that minimizes stress, promotes healthy work habits, and offers resources to support employees’ emotional and mental health.

The numbers tell it all. Unhappy employees cost U.S. companies an estimated $1.9 trillion per year. Other studies show that companies with strong well-being programs have a much lower sick leave usage rate. So, investment into well-being it is not just a feel-good initiative; it is a wise business decision.

How to enhance employee wellbeing?

Happy, healthy, and engaged employees will pay back with increased productivity and a positive company culture. Here are some effective ways to achieve it.

  • Flexible work schedule. People highly value the ability to manage their schedules and personal commitments. You may offer options like remote work, compressed workweeks, or flexible project timeframes. Focus on results and not just on the number of hours worked. If possible, allow your people to work during their most productive hours, for example, early in the morning or later in the evening. This type of autonomy enables employees to better handle their personal commitments and builds their trust and responsibility.
  • Mental health support. Do not underestimate the importance of mental health practices. Introduce regular discussions of the most common mental issues and provide resources that employees can use to prevent stress, anxiety, or depression. These include Initiatives like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and mental health awareness training. You will help your people identify and address potential problems well before they bring negative consequences.
  • Wellness programs. If your employees’ lifestyle is not balanced, their productivity will inevitably suffer. How to promote healthy habits? Find wellness programs devoted to physical activity, healthy eating, regular dental checks, stress management techniques, and mindfulness practices and offer your team to participate. It will encourage your people to improve their routine habits and reduce the risk of burnout. You can invest in yoga classes, and meditation workshops, or provide access to mindfulness apps. All of them will allow people to learn how to deal with their emotions and stressful situations.
  • Clear communication and feedback. Establish a culture of transparent communication. Regularly provide clear feedback, ensure employees understand their roles and goals and maintain open channels for employees to voice their concerns and suggestions. Create an atmosphere where information and ideas flow freely. When your people feel comfortable talking about what they like and what they do not, they build a more collaborative environment. It leads to better problem-solving, innovation, and effective decision-making. Communicate in multiple ways, including via manual and automated emails, SMS using an automated text message system, and work chat apps such as Slack, to make sure you’re reaching employees effectively. 
  • Professional development opportunities. Invest in your team’s career growth. Feeling stuck in a repetitive role can lead to burnout. You can offer tailored training programs, mentoring opportunities, fun team-building activities, and access to educational resources. Companies that let their people learn, always benefit from their hidden potential over time. And employees who see the opportunities for their professional development are more satisfied and are less likely to look for a new job.
  • Workload management. The ability to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life is a perfect solution for both employees and employers. Try to set realistic expectations and provide sufficient support to prevent burnout. Make a rule to minimize communication during after-work hours. This allows employees to disconnect and recharge. Teach employees to use their paid time off for vacations, mental health breaks, and personal needs. Besides that, do not forget about technology. It can be a powerful tool for managing workload. Use project management tools, communication platforms, and automation software to streamline tasks and optimize workflows. 
  • Employee recognition. Employees are more engaged and motivated when they feel their work contributes to a larger purpose. Regularly acknowledge and reward employee contributions, both big and small. This way, you demonstrate that everyone’s work is valued. Various bonus programs motivate employees to achieve more. A culture of recognition attracts top talent who seek a workplace that values their contributions. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be loyal and stay with the company. This approach reduces costly turnover.

How do others do it?

Wellbeing at work is often associated with traditional incentives like free gym invitations or just access to some wellbeing apps online. However, many companies demonstrate genuine care for their employees by offering exclusive initiatives. Here are a few examples.

  • Etsy, an online marketplace, is among the first brands that support a dog-friendly culture. The company allows its employees to bring their pets to the office. Studies show this can reduce stress and greatly increase employee morale. The ability to have pets nearby allows employees to easily reduce anxiety levels.
  • Genentech, a leading biotechnology company, tries to balance work and family concerns. They offer a backup childcare program. It is a solution for those unexpected situations like a sick babysitter or a closed daycare. This invaluable perk allows parents to focus on work knowing their children are safe and well-cared for. Of course, this approach reduces stress and promotes work-life balance.
  • Salesforce, a software giant, has launched an interesting social responsibility program. The company offers employees paid volunteer days. This initiative creates a sense of purpose beyond work and strengthens employee engagement. Besides, it also strengthens the company’s connection to the communities it serves.

Wrapping up

Employee wellbeing is not a fashion tribute. It is a wise investment for any company. Happy and motivated employees are more productive, miss fewer days, and contribute to a positive company culture. Are you ready to transform your workplace from a loss to a gain? Start with little steps. Use the strategies described in this article to get started. Do not be afraid to experiment until you find what works best for your team. Even small initiatives bring meaningful results. Remember, the creation of a healthy and motivated workforce needs time, but the effort is worth it!