Updated: Oct 26, 2022
In the last two years due to Covid-19, people all over the world have woken up to health and wellbeing becoming the first line of defence against chronic disease.
The Global Wellness Institute describe health and wellbeing as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. They go on to say that active pursuit is neither passive nor static, rather an "active pursuit" associated with intentions, choices and actions. Holistic health extends beyond physical and mental health, it incorporates many pillars, including personal goals, work-life balance, environmental, spiritual, emotional and social health.
The global wellness economy was $4.4 trillion in 2020 comprising 11 sectors. Personal care and beauty along with healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss were the top 2 sectors accounting for 44% of the market.
Why Your Business Needs To Invest In A Health And Wellbeing Programme
In 2021, 50% of all work-related illnesses in the UK were attributed to stress, depression or anxiety. The main reasons for these conditions were workload pressure, including tight deadlines, too much responsibility and lack of managerial support. It's important to take care of your employees!
6 Reasons To Invest In A Health and Wellbeing Programme
Avoid The Great Resignation Or Big Quit
Glassdoor associate economist Richard Johnston says the great resignation is in full swing in the UK. Some are less sceptical, but either way, employees have been forced to rethink work-life balance and their priorities since Covid-19 struck. Actively pursuing health and wellbeing in the workplace could be the one thing that swings it for you when a candidate is either considering leaving or considering joining your business.
Reduce Costs Related To Sick Leave
Depending on the company's sick leave policy, this could have a major financial impact. But more importantly, by encouraging employees to take responsibility for their health and supporting them along the way, fewer sick days will lead to healthier and happier employees.
It goes without saying that if your colleagues are taking sick leave, then you will experience a drop in productivity. What about people who are sick but don't take sick leave? These people may have chronic and silent diseases. Do you know what these people are going through on a daily basis? Do you know how they feel and how they get through the day? With knowledge and support, and the drive to own their health, employees could reduce symptoms by making lifestyle changes that focus on whole health and wellbeing, as a bi-product increases productivity
Power Up The Culture
Think about the time when you invested in your health or simply felt fit and healthy. You would have felt energized, positive, and ready to take on anything thrown your way. Less lethargic? The list goes on. Imagine the power of a team that feels supported in, focussing on then achieving health and wellbeing goals, and how it could transform the culture of your business.
Boost Employee Engagement And Morale
Employees who feel supported and have a purpose in their work will engage more and care more about their work. Earlier I talked about health as something that is not only exercise or nutrition, but also relationships with co-workers, family, friends, the environment around them. Investing in the health and wellbeing of your employees, by focussing on all the pillars of whole-health, will increase engagement and therefore morale.
Swerve The Big Burnout
A lot of working employees are burning themselves out because they're stressed and pressured by their work and their line managers. Despite this, they feel the need to push on. There are many reasons for employee burnout, but one of the main ones is a lack of boundaries: feeling the need to say yes, constantly working because technology enables us to work at home as well as in an office. I remember once receiving a recommendation from a senior manager in the 90s. He told me to reply to work emails after 7 pm rather than immediately, and that I would get further up the ladder by doing so. I ignored his advice. The point is, today's world has made it the norm for people to be available at all hours. It takes a strong person to resist the temptation to respond to those emails and messages even when they're done with their contracted hours. Portugal has now made it illegal for employers to contact staff by phone, message or email outside of the contracted hours in order to promote better wellbeing for employees.
How Do You Do It, Where Do You Start?
The process of designing your health and wellbeing programme can be overwhelming, but remember that it doesn't have to be perfect. Just start somewhere and keep taking steps to improve it, and remember that it is neither static nor passive: health and wellbeing are always pursuits.
You don't need a huge budget either, there are so many things that you can do that are free in terms of cash but may need an investment of time. You can expect the return on investment to be in the area of productivity, making some of the free solutions worth a punt.
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to health and wellbeing in the workplace. You don't have to do them all at once but just make a start. Once you've started, continue developing it over time and test what works best. If there are any things that didn’t work well, try to refactor them or improve them.
7 Things You Can Do Right Away With £0 Budget
This is the latest buzzword, everybody is talking about the art of practising gratitude. There is enough research out there now to support doing it. The To-Do lists won't go away! Assuming your team know and have the right tools to manage their To-Do lists, they will remain focused on getting tasks on and off the lists. What if you held a 10-15 minute stand up with your team first thing in the morning that focussed on the things your team are grateful for, perhaps based on progress yesterday, or since the last Gratitude Stand-up. How would the team feel if they left the standup full of motivation to stand and be proud of their achievements in the next meeting? As I said, the To-Do lists don't go away so why always focus on them? What about as an owner or Director of a business, you sent out a gratitude email every now and again? A budget free theory to try out.
Hybrid working and autonomy are things to consider here. What is really stopping someone from working from home if it works for them and makes their life that little bit easier outside of work? Does it really matter if they are given the autonomy to choose whether to be in the office or not? So long as they complete their tasks and achieve their objective then it's a sensible thing to consider. It comes down to a matter of trust and line management more than anything else. Granted, not all roles can be done from home but for those that can ask your team if it will help them and trial it.
Create A Sense Of Purpose
According to Hays data, 62% of professionals were willing to take a pay cut in favour of a more fulfilling role and a role with purpose. Have you ever been there in that role thinking, why bother, wishing away your days until the next payday? Creating a sense of purpose will help to change that. It doesn't matter what role, level, position or title, having a purpose in all aspects of life is a key part of holistic health. Your team spend so many hours working on your business. Give them a purpose, explain what it is and support them with making it work.
There is nothing worse than selling the dream culture during the interview process for the reality to become something different; be honest, if it's a high-pressure environment set that expectation during the interview. What this means is, focus on your employer brand, as well as your business brand. They are 2 distinct areas that require thought and energy. I can bet the last penny you have invested in your business branding. Have you invested in your employer branding?
Create A Safe Place
Ensure your team have a truly safe place to go to voice their concerns about issues relating to their holistic health. In a survey of 1000 people, carried out by Cezanne HR 45% don't believe HR will act impartially and 43% believe senior management is favoured by HR. Going back to the report on sick leave in the UK, 50% of all sickness in 2021 was due to stress, anxiety and depression with one of the top reasons being lack of support from management, it is so important your staff have a safe place to go to discuss these things and particularly if its in relation to their line manager. Health coaching supports healing relationships by encouraging those affected to take positive action rather than let broken relationships fester.
Be THE Example
Don't use the word "wellbeing" and build a strategy around it, if it feels like the latest buzzword or something you really ought to do but don't really want to. You must live it and breathe it. When you've decided to move ahead, lead by example, be the example! Look out for employees who feel the need and the pressure to constantly "burn the midnight oil" because it makes them appear committed; ask them not to do it and explain the reasons why (risk of burnout, impact on productivity etc) and see how the conversation plays out. Then, keep a lookout, has their productivity increased, do they have more energy and motivation during the contracted hours, are they having more fun? You can't focus on anxiety and supporting people in one breathe then send an email that triggers it in the next. Be the example.
Run Employee Surveys
With questions tailored to employee wellbeing. Surveys must be anonymous to ensure high levels of engagement. Results from the survey can be shared with management and employees, and businesses can use the results to prioritise the different aspects of health that matter the most in your business.
5 Ideas You Will Need A Budget For
Collaborate With Experts
Local yoga studios, fitness studios, personal trainers, chiropractors, massage specialists, herbalists, for example, Offer subsidised reduced rates or free sessions for your employees to make it more attractive for them to engage.
Mental Health Matters
It really does so it's good to put this at the top of the health and wellness programme agenda. Work out what this means and how you can support your employees with it. Educate your team and management team. Support your team, Doing something in this space could be the one thing that makes a big difference to a person's life. I recommend bringing in the experts and investing in professional training in this subject. There are numerous charities and CIC type businesses, most likely on your doorstep, who can assist in raising awareness and provide support in this area.
Employ or work with a private health coach who is trained in holistic health and wellbeing. Health coaches who offer business packages will carry out 1-1 or group coaching sessions and will champion employee talks and meetings. Be sure to recruit a reputable coach with the appropriate level of training. A good place to start if you're based in the UK is, UK Health Coach Association or the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners - both have directories of qualified Health Coaches.
Hold Wellness Mornings/Days/Festivals
Invite local wellness businesses to attend your event. Ask them to focus on sharing their expert knowledge in relation to business matters such as reduced attrition, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, increased energy levels. Events like this will improve employee engagement too.
Bump Up The Nutrition
Lots of things you can do here to educate your team on the benefits of increasing the nutritional value of every meal. Offer healthy snacks, smoothie mornings, nutritious lunches. It doesn't have to cost the earth but it's a conversation starter and a means of engaging with your teams on the subject of health and wellbeing.
Hopefully, this has planted the seed! Prioritising your employee's health wellbeing is becoming the new norm: don't delay, get working on your health and wellbeing programme right away.
This blog was originally published by Health Steps here (Amanda Robinson's blog)
Author: Amanda Robinson dipCNM, ANP, UKHCA
Amanda is a qualified health coach who graduated with a health coach diploma from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. A member of the UK Health Coach Association and Association of Naturopathic Practitioners. She is the founder of Health Steps www.healthsteps.co.uk
If you would like to chat with Amanda about how she can help you with your Business Health and Wellness programme you can email her at email@example.com or DM her on the channels below: