At this year’s CIPD Annual Exhibition and Conference, well-being in the workplace was the topic of many conversations, insight sessions, and conferences.
The last two years have been turbulent, to say the least. Covid-19 has impacted many aspects of our day-to-day lives, including our work, work-life balance, and well-being. As we emerge from the pandemic, we now face fresh challenges including the cost-of-living crisis, political uproar, and burnout.
Enhancing well-being in the workplace is paramount. But as leaders, we must be genuine in our actions and words. It’s all good and well saying that we care, adopting hybrid work models, providing four-day work weeks, and offering our people paid time off to ensure they can put their mental and physical health first. But if our people don’t believe that we truly care about them, they’ll not only find it hard to trust us, but they’ll likely look to take their expertise elsewhere.
Failure to prioritise the well-being of our people could additionally lead to a decrease in productivity, an increase in conflict, higher levels of stress, and prolonged periods of absence.
But how can we support our people and enhance their well-being in the workplace?
The Importance of Fostering Well-Being At Work
In 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shared that 822,000 employees in the United Kingdom were suffering from work-related stress, anxiety, and depression. Meanwhile, Bupa’s Workplace Wellbeing Census, which was published last year, shows that although the pandemic amongst other things has affected our well-being, it’s also fuelled greater focus surrounding employee well-being.
For example, the census highlights that employers have taken time to understand mental health and mental health in the workplace. Furthermore, employees believe that well-being services in the workplace have improved.
Fostering well-being at work is important for many reasons. Not only does it enhance and support our people’s mental and physical health, but it:
Improves workplace happiness
Reduces workplace stress
Decreases high staff turnover rates
Supports organisations in retaining top talent
Enhancing Well-Being in The Workplace
Leaders play a key role in fostering and enhancing well-being in the workplace. However, no one person is the same. This means that as leaders, we need to find and adopt approaches and resources that work best for our people.
“We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy and committed workforce is vital to our business success.” - Alex Gourlay
To enhance well-being in the workplace, we can:
Promote Psychological Safety
Psychological safety in the workplace ensures that people feel safe to share their ideas without worrying that they will be judged, laughed at, or belittled. Yet, according to a study conducted by Workhuman, only 26% of employees felt psychologically safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organisations and leaders who promote psychological safety in the workplace are more likely to find that:
Employees are engaged
People feel as though they can speak up
Job satisfaction is higher
Employee turnover is lower
Employees have better physical and mental health
To promote psychological safety and enhance well-being in the workplace, there are many things you can do. For example, you could:
Encourage open communication
Empower your people to expand their skills
Ensure your people know that it’s okay to make mistakes
Offer Additional Support
When it comes to enhancing well-being in the workplace, it’s essential to consider what support is already in place for your people.
Taking a step back, ask yourself who your people can turn to when they are struggling with their well-being. Is there a dedicated team or HR professional? Do you provide well-being resources? Do you offer external support in the form of counselling? Do you promote or host activities that reduce stress and increase physical and mental well-being?
If the answer to any of the above questions is no, it may well be time for you to consider providing additional support to your people. In doing so you can work towards giving your people the tools they need to improve their health and well-being.
Assessing what support you currently offer and asking for feedback will additionally enable you to consider what else you need to be doing.
Promote Flexible Working
Although many organisations across the world have adopted hybrid working models, are promoting flexible working, and are trialling or implementing four-day work weeks, some companies are now requiring their people to once again work long hours from the office (Elon Musk, we’re looking at you).
Much research has been carried out and shows the benefit of flexible working on our health and well-being. For example, CIPD has shared that flexible working increases job satisfaction, reduces absence rates, and enables employees to manage long-term health conditions and disabilities better.
Contributing to this, additional studies show that flexible working and working from home increases well-being in the workplace as it reduces stress at work by 56%.
Ask For Feedback
Often as leaders, we give feedback to our people regarding tasks they’ve completed. We also share feedback from stakeholders and clients. But research shows that not all leaders ask their people for feedback to determine how effective their leadership is.
When we consider that leaders who ask for feedback rank higher for leadership effectiveness, it’s vital that we start asking for feedback if we are to enhance well-being in the workplace.
Is there anything I could be doing differently to support your well-being?
Could the organisation do anything else to support you?
In asking these questions, you will have the opportunity to assess what you are doing well and what could be improved to support your people.
Work With A Leadership Coach
Enhancing well-being in the workplace and prioritising our people’s physical and psychological health is of utmost importance. As noted above, doing so has many benefits.
If you are committed to enhancing well-being in the workplace, the above tips make great starting points. However, you may also benefit from working with a leadership coach for additional support and a different perspective.
Contact Us Today
To find out more about how working with an external coaching provider can assist you in enhancing well-being in the workplace, contact us today.
Written by Rebekah at The Leadership Coaches.