Organisations, managers and individuals all have a role to play to ensure a wellbeing culture. A place where people want to work which supports our mental and physical health rather than harms it.
The cost of doing nothing for organisations should make the case clear, this is not a nice add-on but essential to support employees and an organisation’s productivity.
Wellbeing is impacted by a variety of factors including:
Relationships with co-workers and managers
Workload and stress management
Job control and autonomy
Value and meaning
Security and change management
Support with mental, physical health & caring responsibilities
I want to pick up on two key areas - autonomy and connection. Apart from financial security what do we want from our work?
We want to have a voice, feel trusted and make decisions rather than be micromanaged and treated as a robot or a commodity. Autonomy builds self esteem, creates a development culture and supports individuals to feel making a meaningful difference in the organisation.
We also want to build relationships, gain a sense of camaraderie. We know isolation negatively impacts our mental and physical health, so how can we build this sense of belonging especially if we are working from home? It has to be an active part of the working week, rather than something that happens organically.
To improve these areas and the others listed above organisations need to prioritise wellbeing, starting with a strategy that incorporates all aspects of the working day. You can download our 5 keys to an impactful strategy to get you started. Although having a strategy is only useful if it is a live document that constantly evolves, engages the whole organisation and has meaningful outcomes.
Another consideration for organisations is the transition to a 4 day working week or other flexible working patterns, parents may want to work 5 days but within school hours for example, as with anything in wellbeing it is not a one size fits all. Working smarter not longer improves wellbeing and productivity.
The recent 4 day working week trial has seen the majority of companies extend the pilot due to great results, surveys stated 39% were less stressed, 40% were sleeping better. Sick days fell by about two-thirds and 57% fewer staff left the firms taking part.
Leaders have a role to play in building connections, improving communication and allowing autonomy. In our recent blog on Leadership & employee wellbeing we explored compassionate leadership, the questions to ask to gain trust, ensure people feel valued and invite engagement.
They can also lead on normalising wellbeing, having it as a question in each team meeting and 121. There are many ways to do this- on a scale of 1-10 how are you feeling, or one positive from the week and one struggle? Genuinely asking how people are and listening to the answer. Looking out for signs of stress and reaching out to people. Mental Health First Aid or a management mental health awareness course will enable leaders to have the confidence and skills to do this.
Individuals can often feel they have little power or control over the culture of an organisation but actually, the everyday actions of those who work in an organisation are a huge part of its culture.
Take control of your emails; Set specific times in your day when you’ll read and respond to them, such as morning, lunch, and end of the day. This way you avoid constant disruptions.
Step away from your desk; At lunchtime, go for a swim, have a phone call with a relative, take a walk. Take your mind off work even if it’s just for 30 mins, let yourself relax, switch off and have your own thoughts!
Build in opportunities to connect with colleagues, whether that is a Monday morning virtual coffee to start your week in a positive light or a face to face walk at lunch on a Thursday, can you build these in regularly and ensure they are not the first thing to slide when things get busy. When we become stressed we often let go of the actions that support us.
One small action
Think about where you work, is there one small action you could take from today that would make a difference? Whatever your role, what is it that would make a difference to you and maybe the wider team?
If we all started today we could make a difference to wellbeing
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