But what exactly does it mean?
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to define, because it means different things to different people (and different organisations).
But if I had to, I’d describe workplace wellbeing as a happy, healthy workforce, in mind, body and spirit…
(It’s up to you to decide what exactly that means for your company, culture and values.)
Let natural light in.
Time and time again, studies have shown that natural light boosts mood, energy levels and productivity in the workplace.
Employees who are exposed to natural light often find it easier to sleep (and therefore feel more revitalised) and are generally healthier.
If your office is currently windowless, it really might be time to start planning a move.
Scientists say that having plants in the workplace, will offer an external stimulus for our brains; it gives us something else to focus on for a while and basically gives us an (unconscious) rest.
Along with that, I’d say that plants make us feel a little more at home and relaxed, boosting our mood and comfort levels in general too.
Open plan or closed?
There are pros and cons to both open and closed office plans, so you’ll have to make a judgement call, based on your company and culture.
Open plan offices lack privacy and can lead to employees getting distracted, but they help to foster a sociable and open culture within the team (especially in smaller businesses).
Closed offices are obviously more private and your employees may not get distracted by other people so much, but building relationships is certainly more difficult and it can be lonely.
Get your ergonomics right.
Dead boring, but dead important.
Think prevention, not reaction and look after your employees’ physical health!
Make sure you have the correct health and safety procedures in place and that all members of staff have access to (and are aware of) ergonomically friendly equipment and workstations.
Watch the temperature.
This is difficult, because on the one hand, you want your employees to have the ability and responsibility of changing the temperature of the office for themselves…
But on the other, you’ve then got to deal with those awful office temperature wars!
Pick an average temperature and use a room thermometer to make these decisions fair – you could always offer desk heaters for your colder employees or fans for your warmer ones.
Add a splash of colour.
Bright colours will help to suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone) and boost energy, keeping your staff alert, focussed and productive for longer.
Think blues, greens, yellows and reds.
Inject some personality.
Your company culture should be in harmony with your office environment.
This will help people to understand, connect to and feel like a part of something greater (especially if it’s a positive, fun and vibrant culture).
Contribute to gym memberships.
This is something that many companies (including us) offer their employees.
Making a contribution each month to gym memberships/ classes/ sporting teams will encourage your staff to get fit and healthy – one less excuse not to go!
If you’re a bigger company, you also have the option to build a gym and facilities onsite and/or put on your own fitness classes – Yoga is a particularly popular one.
Set up a cycle to work scheme.
Encouraging staff members to cycle to work instead of driving is a great way to boost wellness, employee engagement and look after the environment!
Offer healthy food options.
If you have a cafeteria at work, it’s really important that the majority of food you serve is relatively healthy – but make sure it tastes great too!
Replace the chips and pizza with healthy sandwiches, soups and salads…
Provide free fruit.
Offering your staff free fruit is a great, cheap, easy way to encourage healthy eating.
Having a steady supply of fruit at your fingertips makes it easier to snack healthily instead of picking up random junk food from the shop at lunch etc.
Gamify Health and Fitness.
Why not create competitions and/or games to encourage your staff members to get fit?
- You could challenge them to cycle (on an exercise bike) during their breaks and the team that goes the furthest by the end of the week wins a prize.
- You could use activity-tracking “wearable technology’ (like an Apple watch) to record how far your staff members are walking and give a prize to the team that walks the furthest.
These are just ideas, but you get the gist!
Start a sports team.
Starting up a team, for example, football, netball, hockey etc. is a great way to encourage fitness, but also to enhance teamwork and relationships between co-workers.
If you’re a bigger company with a lot of staff, you could set up matches between different divisions or even a company-wide tournament. If not, you could enter local competitions.
Encourage charity events.
The training alone will be great for fitness levels, but there’s also the added bonus of doing something worthwhile for others, which will make staff feel great about themselves.
Have a proper ‘break room.’
Your employees need somewhere to properly chill out during their breaks.
Having somewhere to go to rejuvenate will certainly make them more productive in the afternoon.
Some companies even set up a “games room” with TVs, video/board games and books etc. so staff members can truly take their mind off work for the hour.
Encourage people to take their breaks.
Everyone needs a break. In fact to maximise productivity, it’s actually advised that we take regular short breaks during the day.
If your employees are reluctant, worried or even scared to take their lunch break, then you won’t be getting the most out of them and something’s got to change.
The same goes for annual leave.
Encourage work-life balance
Similarly, you should be encouraging a good work-life balance.
Staff members who work outrageous and unsociable hours are guaranteed to be more stressed (and unhappy) whilst lacking energy and productivity.
They’re also much more likely to burnout.
Often larger companies offer their employees some sort of counselling service; a safe (confidential) place to seek support and guidance from someone they can trust.
This is obviously great for preventing stress-related mental health issues in the workplace.
Say “thank you.”
Your employees need to feel appreciated, valued and worthwhile at work.
From something as simple as a ‘thank you’ card right through to an elaborate reward scheme, showing your gratitude will boost happiness, energy levels and productivity.
Encourage healthy relationships.
Work friends cheer us up when things get tough, they’ve got our back when we’re feeling under attack and they generally make our working lives that little bit more fun and happy!
They increase our sense of belonging, our confidence to speak up and our determination to work hard – and that’s just the start.
This post is just the start…
Of course, there are hundreds of other ways to boost wellbeing in your office; the ideas we’ve outlined above are just a few examples to inspire you.
As you start enhancing wellbeing at your office, you should see a substantial…
- Increase in productivity and output.
- Decrease in sickness and absenteeism.
- Increase in employee engagement and happiness.
- Improvement in customer service and staff retention.
…which, in the long run, will really help to boost your business.