Employers have a duty of care to their employees to ensure that staff have a safe working environment and an ergonomic workstation, but what about our employees wellbeing? A recent study carried out by Perkbox revealed that 79% of us are often stressed at work and in 2020/2021 workplace stress was responsible for 50% of all work related ill health costing UK employers £45Billion a year. It’s important to remember that not only can stress take a toll on our mental wellbeing but in a large majority of instances has an effect on our physical health. It’s been reported by the Charity ‘Mind’ that 1 in 5 of us call in sick due to stress resulting in 12.8m working days being lost due to stress per year [HSE research].
As an employer it is our responsibility to break down the barriers to ensure our staff feel productive and challenged in the workplace, as well as supported and empowered with open channels of communication. In a world recovering from a global pandemic and as the cost of living continues to rise, it’s now more important than ever to implement a wellbeing strategy and encourage your staff to find a healthy work life balance. With more than 79% of UK workers experiencing burnout [Employee Benefits.co.uk] Spotting the signs of workplace stress may help avoid the escalation to burnout. Signs to look out for vary but may include;
- Loss of interest in work and or concentration
- Reduced quality of work
- Decreased sense of humour
- Increased sickness & absence
- Poor time-keeping
- Tiredness and irritability & poor sleep quality
- Physical illness i.e. stomach problems, nausea, aches, pains and headaches
It is reported that possible causes of workplace stress may include;
- Unclear job expectations
- Lack of control
- Lack of support
- Poor work-life balance
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics
So how can we support our employees?
- Relieve some of your team’s daily stress and focus on employee wellness by allowing flexible working hours when it’s appropriate. Permitting an employee to shift their schedule by as little as one hour could make all the difference.
- While it’s not the right fit for every situation (or for every employee), most organisations have at least some roles that can be handled working remotely, making this a great option for an employee wellness program.
- Supporting your staff to advance their learning, whether this be in the form of on the job training and development, or off site learning. Staff feel valued and encouraged by an employer that invests in their future.
- Empower your staff to make decisions, by giving your staff the option to contribute to the business they will feel invested in the success of the company, engaged in the journey and pleased with the progress. Open channels of communication between staff and managers can be as simple as ‘my door is always open’
- Encourage your staff to find a healthy work-life balance. Make work-life balance a priority by encouraging staff take their annual leave, lunch breaks and coffee breaks, optional Family Days and time off for medical appointments go a long way to easing the stress of day to day life.
- Celebrate your success together! Company wide or personal successes should be celebrated, whether it’s a monthly sales goal, or a individuals performance it’s important to recognise each individuals contribution. Celebration can come in the form of a financial reward, or company outing, to something as simple as monthly newsletter shout-out. Never underestimate recognitions positive impact on attitude and productivity.
An employee wellness programme is proven to reduce sick days, increase productivity and employee retention. Starting small can still make a big difference, by putting the health and wellbeing of your people first you support the health and wellbeing of your business.