Mental health problems and stress can affect anyone, regardless of their position in the business. In fact, they’re associated with many of the leading causes of disease and disability in our society. Therefore, physical and mental wellbeing should be made a high priority in the workplace. Worryingly though, for many, this isn’t the case.
84% of managers acknowledge their responsibility in helping with employee mental health, but only 24% have any training in the area.
Yet promoting wellbeing in the workplace can strengthen employee engagement, reduce the likelihood of poor mental health, and improve team happiness. So why aren’t all businesses taking action, and what can they do to be more inclusive?
In this article, we look at how businesses can cater to wellbeing, and what BabelQuest has done to inspire positive wellbeing in our workplace.
Promote wellbeing in the workplace
If you were to position the importance of wellbeing in terms of business expenditure, where would you rank it?
A survey conducted by Reward Gateway revealed that wellbeing rated lowest in importance, alongside investment in infrastructure and equipment.
What may seem like a source of money-saving can actually have a negative effect on business expenditure in the long run.
UK workers take an average of 9.1 sick days annually due to stress, costing employers almost £29 billion per year.
So how can you introduce healthy physical and mental wellbeing in your workplace?
For every £1 spent on workforce mental health initiatives, organisations see an average return on investment of £4.20, with the most effective initiatives saving up to £9 per £1 spent.
First of all, don’t worry. The good news is you don’t need to spend large amounts of money. There are plenty of schemes and ways to promote wellbeing across your team.
A larger-scale solution for improving your workplace wellbeing is to introduce flexible working/hours. This may sound overwhelming, but actually, 75% of businesses across the UK offer some sort of flexible working, whether this is a change of hours or working from home. By building trust within your team and allowing them to work at a time and place that suits their needs, you’re providing them with healthier wellbeing alternatives. BabelQuest has even seen their annual number of sick days decrease, with most opting to work from home instead of logging off for the day!
Another initiative (we’ve recently adopted this too!) is to offer a yearly flexible benefits package. This entails adding a further [optional] sum of money to your employees’ original wages in which they then choose what to spend it on. So, whether it’s gym memberships, travel passes, physiotherapy, or counselling, you’re helping to fund an out-of-hours activity that will contribute to your team’s physical and mental needs.
There are plenty of other cheap, alternative wellbeing schemes that you can add to your workplace. From helping out a local charity or hosting team bonding days to providing a weekly ‘snack box’ with a variety of healthy treats, you’ll be well on your way to a happier, work-driven workplace.
Implement a wellbeing policy in the workplace
As international awareness for mental health grows, businesses like BabelQuest have opted to implement a wellbeing policy for all employees.
This doesn’t have to be a comprehensive, 100-page read, but instead acts as an olive branch to wellbeing, summarising how yourself and others around you can help each other in accordance with the roles and responsibilities set in the company.
But why did BabelQuest set up a wellbeing policy and what does it involve?
Wellness is one of BabelQuest’s founding values and our aim is to make our company a place where people want to work, where they have a sense of accomplishment, and where their efforts count and are valued.
Our workplace mental wellbeing policy has been created with a focus on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which originally came from Foresight’s ‘Mental Capital and Wellbeing’ project. The five ways are: connect, be active, take notice, learn, and give. These are a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing that the NHS also promotes.
Within our policy, we list the responsibilities of each team member - from managers to assistants - and provide actions to tackle wellbeing issues in or outside of our workplace. We’ve even recruited a wellbeing champion to work alongside our HR consultant!
By implementing a wellbeing policy in your workplace, you’re creating an environment that supports the mental wellbeing of all team members and provides them with an opportunity to be heard.
How else can you support wellbeing in the workplace? Read our article and explore another way BabelQuest caters for their team’s needs.
Make your workplace a pillar of wellbeing
In the UK alone, approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. Most of these issues go unnoticed by others, as sufferers are often afraid to speak out.
By promoting a healthy physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace, you’re already a step closer to tackling the illness. From long-term benefits like flexible working hours or implementing a wellbeing policy to annual away days or sponsoring a local charity, introducing a wellness initiative at work can increase productivity by up to 12% (not to mention the money saved from fewer sick days).
The conclusion is simple: the more time you invest in supporting your team’s wellbeing, the greater the reward for everyone.