Over recent months, you’ve probably seen more and more wellbeing initiatives being mentioned in the press. Just last month, we saw several corporate teams participate in the Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon and we’ll have February host the Wellness Week.
The trend from wellness activities has evolved to a holistic approach to wellbeing over the years. Wellbeing is more than just the physical wellness and the rounded approach looks also at components like financial health, emotional health and spiritual health.
And it certainty comes with numerous benefits. Studies have shown increased engagement, leading to a 41% drop in absenteeism and an increase in sales and profitability by 20% and 21% respectively [Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace study 2017].
You may say that’s very well for large companies. After all, they have whole teams devoted to implement comprehensive programmes. This is something SMEs can’t keep up with. Financial and people resources are just not there. This doesn’t need to be case.
Here are our tips for you to benefit from looking after your employees’ wellbeing:
- Link it with your organisation’s strategy and culture
Before you start rolling out your wellbeing initiatives, define your overall objective and how it ties back to your organisation. For example, if you want to reduce your medical claims, speak with your insurance provider about the nature of your staff’s medical claims. Identify the specific actions within your wellbeing programme to prevent such claims in the future.
Listen also your employees and what they are looking for. Is this something your organisation wants to pursue? Misaligned priorities and unmanaged expectations can quickly stop any great scheme from take-off!
- A healthy office
We’ve seen boring offices with poor ergonometrics all too often and wonder why employees are experiencing back pain. Low cost options are to set up work areas with back-supporting chairs and to provide laptop users with a docking station and a large screen. Bring nature into the office by decorating with plants of different sizes and open the blinds for natural day light.
- Smarter food choices
You can support your employees making smarter food choices by removing temptations like chocolate bars and sugary drinks in the vending machines. Instead, have them filled with fruits or nuts. If you are providing lunch (or other meals), source from healthier restaurants and educate employees on the nutritional values. A trained nutritionist, often arranged by your health insurer at a small or no fee, can share their tips on healthier cooking and food substitutes.
- Get moving
You see more and more individuals wearing their fitness trackers. Get your employees moving by having walking meetings while the weather is still gorgeous. Encourage employees to take the stairs instead of the lift and turn it into a stair challenge, where the fastest climber or team of climbers wins. Set up a table-tennis table in your kitchen area or social room. Let them be active during their breaks.
- Reduce stress
Help your staff become more resilient by teaching mindfulness and stress-reduction techniques. Increasing self-awareness, identifying stress triggers or performing breathing exercises can ease the employee’s reaction towards stress. Training employees and teams on realistic time management, prioritising work and organising their workspace, files and tools are small activities resulting in big improvements.
- Financial wellbeing
With the rising cost of living, many employees are feeling the punch. Consider engaging an independent financial advisor to provide financial support and education. They can cover basics like setting up monthly budgets in group sessions and discuss ways to get out of debt and long-term (retirement) planning in individual meetings.
- Offer flexible work schedules
Traffic jams are a regular reoccurrence in the daily commute and can contribute to a stressful start into the day. Introduce flexible working schedules (with or without core hours) to allow employees to avoid such traffic jams or to drop off/pick up their children at school. Working from home can be another way to increase employees’ productivity. Offer (temporary) part-time schedules which are especially appreciated by mothers returning to work after pregnancy.
- Make it a daily reminder
Successful wellbeing programmes become sustainable when they are engrained into the organisation’s culture. The different activities can’t be a once off but need to be continuous. Use your company newsletters, staff or town hall meetings or social media as ways to communicate your wellbeing programme, your achievements just like your struggles (after all, it’s a journey).
Let your holistic wellbeing programme become part of your organisation’s competitive advantage. Benefit from highly engaged employees and increased sales.
Agni Skafidas of OLAM shares her total rewards and wellbeing expertise. OLAM is a consultancy firm simplifying HR to fit their client’s needs and culture. They know how to translate best practices and global standards into pragmatic solutions for their clients, allowing them to focus on their core business activities.