Positive wellbeing is essential to our relationship with work, and feeling like your organisation doesn’t have your best interests at heart can have a negative impact on morale, productivity, and life satisfaction in general.
Measuring where you currently are:
When looking to promote workplace wellbeing, you will first need to identify where you’re at as an organisation, how you react to change, and how you promote or inhibit positive wellbeing already.
You can do this through private one-on-one chats directly with each employee, group sessions, or through surveys which can be anonymous if needed. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure that you’re keeping information that should be confidential private.
You shouldn’t ask about things such as mental health, physical health and private life directly, but they tie in closely with wellbeing as a whole so you may receive information about them during your initial evaluation. Always make sure you’re not intruding on people’s personal affairs while gathering information.
If you have a Human Resources department, work with them to develop a plan on how you can ask about wellbeing without being unnecessarily invasive. If it’s just you, it may be best to approach people individually, privately and confidentially.
Deciding on next actions:
If you’re a health and safety professional, the idea of control measures should be very familiar to you. If you see issues that are raised during your measuring of wellbeing as a type of risk, you will then need to find a reasonable and practicable solution to the issue. What this means, is finding a solution to issues that is both reasonable to the situation, and able to be put into place.
With many issues that cause a decrease in wellbeing, the issue can affect people differently. For example, if your organisation has a company-wide issue with morale, throwing an extra fifteen minutes on to lunch breaks as a one-size-fits-all blanket measure may have no effect for some individuals.
You will need to look to the root of the wellbeing issue and address that, which may require working on a case-by-case basis.
The benefit of the doubt:
If employees have reported that something is causing them problems with their wellbeing, but this thing doesn’t affect you, or you can’t understand how it would affect someone else, then it’s often best to give them the benefit of the doubt.
I find that an easy way to contextualise this is with the example of driving. Some people enjoy driving and the commute could be fun or at the very least not stressful. However, for those that do not enjoy driving, driving through rush hour every day can cause additional stress before the work day has even began. If you have employees reporting that they turn up to work stressed from the commute, even if this isn’t something that has ever affected you personally, you should give them the benefit of the doubt and look to find a workable solution to the issue being presented.
For the example above, you could introduce an optional flexibility that allows the employee to avoid rush hour driving, or provide them with access to a talking therapy to work through the issues that they have surrounding the stress that driving can create.
Improving wellbeing can be an investment:
Some organisations have suggested that improving wellbeing at work can return between £5 – £8 per £1 spent. These sorts of claims can be difficult to evidence and quantify, but the idea of seeing a return for improving wellbeing makes logical sense.
Employees with good wellbeing often have a higher level of work-life satisfaction, this can lead to increased performance, innovation and reduce time off work. They are also likely to have a higher workplace morale, which can help to foster a positive workplace culture and environment. A positive workplace environment can improve reaction to incidents and accidents by creating a more solution-based approach to problem solving as opposed to a blame culture.
All of these things can lead to a workplace that has a higher performance as whole, a higher level of production and even less incidents or accidents occurring.
NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing:
The NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing is a 1-day course that develops the learner’s understanding of what wellbeing is, it’s importance in the workplace and how it can be improved. The course is delivered online, via live video conferencing by one of our expert tutors and is a great step towards developing an effective wellbeing plan for your workplace.