The Top Five Wellbeing Initiatives That Boost Employee Engagement And Productivity

Wellbeing Initiatives Feature

Between increasing workloads, demanding deadlines, and long periods of sitting, the modern-day work environment can have a negative impact on employees’ health, meaning its more important than ever for companies to develop initiatives to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees. In fact, employees want their workplace to show this type of concern as a recent study by One4all Rewards revealed that just under half of Irish employees claim they are likely to stay with an employer that shows concern about their mental health, with 2 in 5 claiming they would leave a job where an employer did not care about their wellbeing.

According to Gallup and Healthways, the five essentials elements of wellbeing are:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life.
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.

The benefits of wellbeing initiatives include; improved morale, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, and better team work and social networks.  But what type of wellbeing programmes deliver these? One4all’s research revealed that just under 7 in 10 employees would put flexible working hours in their top five health and wellbeing initiatives for the workplace, with 60% choosing free/subsided health insurance and 41% selecting a work from home policy. Other initiatives employees were interested in included mental-health/counselling services (38%) and health and wellbeing advice (37%).  

Top Five Wellbeing Initiatives

  1. Flexible work hours: Flexible office hours allow employees to create their own schedules, rather than the traditional 40-hour nine-to-five work week, and decide when and where they work. Employees like the option of flexible work hours as they can adapt their schedules to fit around their personal life, avoid painful commutes, and they like having a sense of autonomy.
  2. Free/subsided health insurance: Workplace stress is one of the nation’s leading health challenges. Stress negatively affects physical health; employees can become overtired and this makes them vulnerable to illnesses. Benefits like health insurance and regular office health assessments are initiatives companies can introduce to keep the workforce healthy, reduce absenteeism and boost overall productivity.
  3. Work from home policy: Studies have found that rush hour commuters waste approximately two and a half full days out of a year sitting in a car. If an employee has a painful commute, it can eventually drive them to search for work in companies closer to home. Implementing a work from home policy is a great way to boost employees’ job satisfaction. They’ll waste less time commuting, be more energised and focused on projects, and be happier in their roles.
  4. Mental health/counselling services: More and more employees are becoming aware of the importance of their mental health in their working lives; they won’t stay in companies that demand so much from them, both physically and mentally, and yet leave little room for mental health care. Mental health is important for employees to be satisfied and great in their roles so providing support is essential in the workplace. Create an open environment where employees are encouraged to discuss their struggles and provide the support services they need to address and overcome any issues.
  5. Health and wellbeing advice: Everyone knows the importance of staying fit and healthy but busy schedules mean employees often don’t have the time to eat the right foods and engage in some form of physical activity. Offer fitness classes in the workplace to encourage employees to exercise, whether it be before/after work or during their break. And provide healthy options in the work kitchen and vending machines to promote the benefits of good fuel like fruit, nuts, energy bars, and nut butters.

Feature image credit: Freepik/yanalya

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