Wellbeing at Work: Purpose Before Profit

Implementing workplace wellbeing programs can allow organisations to improve the health and happiness of their staff. This has multiple benefits, including increased profits.

  • Release Date: 16 December 2022
  • Update Date: 21 May 2024
  • Author: Speaker Agency
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Wellbeing in the workplace has become a hot topic in recent years. The pandemic put a spotlight on the role an employer  plays in ensuring their staff are mentally and physically cared for.

Work environment and conditions can have a significant impact on a person's emotional state and performance. Helping to improve your employees' wellbeing is an important part of being a responsible and caring employer. It also has a number of benefits for your business. 

Research conducted by Mind found that 60% of employees felt more motivated if their employer supported their mental wellbeing. Promoting employee wellbeing can, in turn, improve the working environment, promote positive emotions, life satisfaction and employee engagement. It is a well documented fact that happy people are productive people.

There are many things to consider for employers that want to improve health and wellbeing at work. Not only will it positively impact your teams but it will reflect on the company bottom line as well. 

It's also necessary to think about how various factors influence the level of happiness in the workplace. 

Human happiness relies on quite a few internal and external dynamics. Good health, supportive social relationships, good life-work balance, and a sense of purpose. 

So how can employers and their management work on improving workplace wellbeing and what benefits can it bring? These ideas for wellbeing at work could help you to achieve a more harmonious working environment that's better for all employees.

Key Factors Linked to Well Being at Work

Whether employees feel that their workplace fosters good health and wellbeing can depend on a variety of factors. The level of wellbeing in a particular workplace can impact an organisation in a number of ways.

Some stressors for employees may be easy to identify, while others are not always so obvious.

Wellbeing and the Gender Pay Gap

The demographics, backgrounds, and identities of your employees are important to take into account when considering wellbeing in the workplace. One of the factors to consider is the differences between genders when it comes to mental health. Women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Women are more likely to suffer from mental health problems in lower income households.

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In the workplace, there are several factors that could contribute to poor mental health for women. Gender pay gap could be one of the things contributing to higher rates of depression and anxiety in women. 

Columbia University research suggested that depression and anxiety levels were equal across genders. When women earned an income greater than or equal to their male counterparts. Another study from King's College London showed that increasing flexibility and autonomy helped reduce anxiety and depression for women employees.

Workplace Wellbeing and Men's Mental Health

Men's mental health is also important to consider in the workplace. Women are diagnosed with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety more often. However diagnosis rates don't reveal the whole picture. 

Many men experience mental health problems. They are often more reluctant to come forward and discuss these issues.There has been more attention recently on men's mental health. 

Suicide rates are much higher in men compared to women. Almost a third of men say that work represent the biggest source of pressure in their life. It is a public health issue.

Diversity and Wellbeing in the Workplace

Apart from gender differences, there are various factors to consider. These might be disability, ethnicity, age, and more when it comes to promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace. It's important to recognise that employees from different backgrounds and with different needs will have their own challenges.

It is important to be considerate of neuro diverse employees and the unique ways they interact with their work. Celebrating various cultural and religious backgrounds is also very pivotal in promoting greater employee engagement and greater happiness.

How to Promote Wellbeing for Your Employees

Employers can do multiple things to promote wellness in the workplace. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recommends taking a holistic approach to wellbeing. One that would support both physical health and safety, and mental health at work. They have identified seven key "domains" of wellbeing that can help employers to make strides in improving wellbeing in the workplace.

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These domains are:

  • Health, including physical health and safety, and mental health
  • Good work, including the working environment, line management, work demands, and pay and rewards
  • Values/principles – leadership, ethical standards, inclusion, and diversity
  • Collective/social – employee voice and positive relationships
  • Personal growth, such as personal development, emotional growth, creativity, and lifelong learning
  • Good lifestyle choices, such as physical activity and healthy eating
  • Financial wellbeing – fair pay, retirement planning, financial support

Employers can look at these different types of wellbeing to consider how they can deliver the right support to their employees. Efforts to improve wellbeing in the workplace could include a range of initiatives. Offering counselling to employees, providing healthy snacks in the break room or developing training programs for personal development.

Wellbeing in the workplace isn't just the responsibility of one department or person. There should be multiple parties involved in making improvements in wellbeing. HR, senior managers, line managers and employees themselves should all work together.

But what are the most effective workplace wellbeing initiatives? With so many options, it can be difficult to decide what's worth the time and effort. 

Some wellbeing initiatives might sound good, but don't really have the effect that employers hope for. However, there are some statistics and case studies that can reveal what might be the most effective changes.

One example of a company that has seen positive results is the ecommerce company NextJump. They invested in helping their employees with health and fitness. These included managing energy, nutrition, and mental health through encouraging proper breaks. 

Providing healthy snacks and offering psychological and emotional coaching programs. After investing in their people, they saw their annual sales growth go from 30% to 120%.

Johnson & Johnson is another example of a company that puts a strong focus on wellbeing. However, instead of having separate programs to do various things, the importance of wellbeing is weaved through the organisation. They place an emphasis on creating and sustaining a culture of wellbeing.

Taking care of remote workers can be a challenge for employers. But with more employers with remote or hybrid teams, it has become more important than ever. 

Buffer is a company with a large remote workforce, which has created a culture of openness around mental health. They provide access to online therapists and free subscriptions to health apps. Their CEO has been regularly open about his own mental health on social media.

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The Long-Term Benefits of Good Workplace Wellbeing

Focusing on improving workplace wellbeing produces long-term benefits for employers and employees. Research has shown that there are plenty of benefits to improving wellbeing and taking good care of your employees.

Some studies have shown that happier staff  are 20% more productive and 34% less likely to leave their jobs. They are also 37% less likely to take time off sick.

Companies that make wellbeing a priority can boost their profits. Those that create a positive employee experience are 21% more profitable and can experience 37% higher sales. In fact, treating your employees well can have a direct impact on sales. 65% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that promote employee wellbeing. 

Workplace wellbeing initiatives often have a high ROI too, so you don't have to worry about the expense of implementing them.

One of the major benefits of investing in your employees is that happier employees are typically more productive. It can help to reduce the number of people taking days off work due to poor health. It can also help to reduce the number of people who show up to work when unwell but aren't productive.

Staff turnover can also be lowered with proper investment into wellbeing at work. A third of businesses that invest in workplace wellness has seen a reduction in staff turnover. When the average new hire costs around £30,000, your organisation could save a lot of money by investing in your staff.

Putting more focus on workplace wellbeing can benefit your company in multiple ways. There are many different initiatives that can be implemented to improve staff health and happiness.

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