Ever wondered what you can do to make your employees more relaxed and less stressed out when they’re at work? It’s a question that even the biggest companies struggle to answer. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we decided to find out how employers can bring more zen into their employees lives, without having to resort to hiring a workforce of Buddhist monks or laid back surfers.
It turns out that the solution is very simple. To create a calm and content workforce, employee wellbeing needs to be firmly placed at the centre of your business.
Wellbeing is one of those words that is bandied around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Technically speaking, wellbeing is the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy in both a physical and mental capacity. A person’s personal life is understandably a contributing factor to their overall wellbeing, but as we spend so much time at work throughout our lifetime, it’s hard for it not to have an impact too. Research shows that employers can have a huge influence on their employee’s sense of wellbeing in the way they choose to run their workplace.
Experiencing some level of stress at work is often unavoidable, but if your workplace is a naturally fast-paced or high-pressure environment, your employees may not be working as effectively as you think. A recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 50% of employees who felt continually stressed at work were less patient with customers and clients and 80% admitted to finding it difficult to concentrate on their daily tasks.
The study also revealed that stress can be attributed to colleague disputes within the workplace and has also become a major cause of long term absence for both manual and non-manual workers.
In comparison, businesses who work to reduce employee stress tend to have happy and healthy staff which lends to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention. Employees who feel good about themselves are generally more productive and sociable, which allows them to make more valuable contributions to their workplace.
So what can you do to make this happen in your own organisation? Here at Concept, we want to make our employees feel happy and healthy from the moment they walk in the door in the morning to when they leave at the end of the day. To do this, we’ve tried hard to incorporate wellbeing into the daily running of our business. Here are some examples:
It’s no secret that exercise makes you feel great, although not always during! There’s actually a bit of science to back this up. When we exercise, our bodies increase the production of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals have been found to have mood boosting properties which is why many people experience a high after an exercise class or gym session. Study have found that serotonin and dopamine can also improve a person’s self-esteem, focus and function. So while you might think that exercise is only good for physical health, it can actually do wonders for your mental health too.
Promoting group exercise within the workplace is a cheap and rewarding way to keep your team both physically and mentally fighting fit. We hold regular yoga sessions for our team, which gives them the perfect outlet to un-wind, get fit and forget about work for an hour or two. This is also a great social outlet where the different teams can get to know each other.
Naturally, you want your team to work as hard as they can. A lot of businesses tend to give their workforce the stick rather than the carrot where performance is concerned, when in actual fact the carrot will win every time. Human beings like to complete tasks that make them feel good, if completing their work is only met with a prompt to do more – they aren’t getting that sense of accomplishment that keeps them coming back for more.
That’s why we give our team the opportunity to win trips to luxury spa days as part of our incentive scheme, which not only boosts morale but also encourages our employees to put their health and wellbeing first. After all, who wouldn’t feel both physically and mentally happier after a day of being pampered?
We understand that our employees have a life outside of work so we also offer an early finish incentive too. This gives the team a chance to spend more time with their family and friends which understandably does wonders for their mood and increases their productivity at work.
Have your employees clambering over themselves to exceed their targets with incentives they’ll be talking about for months to come. Consider activities or rewards that are not only enjoyable but also health conscious too. For instance, you could unleash your teams competitive side by using app challenges that encourage them to walk more or drink more water each day. Or dream a little bigger and offer trips to fitness and wellbeing retreats overseas for a mini break.
Why not get your team to take a vote on what the quarterly incentive should be? Having their input will make your team feel more acknowledged while also increasing their excitement tenfold. Plus, as an added extra, having incentives that are fun yet health conscious will also help you stand apart from your competitors by making you more appealing to new recruits.
Simple as it may sound, just creating an environment where employees have someone to talk to makes all the difference. We want to ensure that our employees feel acknowledged when they’re at work and are able share their feelings and concerns with us, particularly when they are just starting out.
This is why we hold regular catch-up sessions with our new starters to give them an safe outlet in an informal setting where they can share their thoughts and to raise any issues they may have. These sessions are usually held with someone who isn’t their manager and focuses solely on their wellbeing rather than their job performance. Thanks to these sessions, work can be done to remove any unnecessary stress or anxiety that might be affecting them to make their work life better.
Why not try setting up “buddy meetings” across your different teams? Inviting your team to take a load off and vent not only helps with team bonding, but it also reduces stress in the workplace considerably. In fact, research has found that 69% of businesses with buddy systems in place have higher job satisfaction rates, better performance levels and lowered stress levels. So by encouraging your team to talk openly to each other about how they are feeling, you’re actually helping to boost their self-esteem and productivity at work too.
Even though it seems like these de-stressing techniques are encouraging our team to not work hard, we’ve actually seen quite the opposite. The Concept Resourcing team are more productive and a lot happier since we started implementing these wellbeing based activities into the office and we’ve noticed a significant improvement throughout the business as a result.
So why not follow our lead and start thinking of ways in which you can improve the work lives of your employees. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference and it won’t take you long to notice the effect it will have, not only on your employees but your business too.