All workplaces have a responsibility to care for employee wellbeing. They must ensure that employees understand what support is in place and exactly how to access it. To manage the wellbeing of your people, proactivity is so important.
Prevention doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or even time-consuming. Here are a few simple practices and initiatives to implement in your company if there is room for improvement. (Disclaimer: There is always room for improvement!)
Create a culture of wellbeing
Free lunches and table football are great, but they only touch the surface of employee wellbeing. An environment where people feel appreciated, cared for, and understood is what truly matters. Understanding an employee's concerns, values, needs, and hopes for the future is the first step toward creating a culture of wellbeing.
For this to be embedded in your culture, it should be felt at every level. If it isn’t, then it can feel like a token effort or a tick-box exercise which will likely have the opposite effect. All employees should feel included, respected, represented, and cared for in a safe environment.
Managers play a critical role when it comes to creating a culture of wellbeing. For 70% of people, their line manager is the defining factor of whether they feel included. And this matters because the more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collaborate.
Over the last couple of years, we’d bet our bottom dollar there isn’t a single leader in the world that hasn’t felt stressed, worried, or anxious. So, we know how real this is. A culture of wellbeing is no longer a tick box exercise but part of an agenda that addresses the social part of ESG objectives. Managers should always feel supported and their hard work recognised to enable them to care for their team and lead them to success.
With a culture of wellbeing and an environment built around care and respect, all employees will feel empowered to speak out if they need help or support before things become more severe.
Ensure there is an open and supportive approach to employee wellbeing
It’s important to remember, that any new initiative or strategy might not be perfect, and can always be improved and adapted. The best way to do this? Listen to employees. Find out where there may be blind spots and always address these in real time before it’s too late. The problem with employee surveys is they don’t provide real-time insight. It will likely take weeks or even months until blind spots are uncovered, and even longer until these issues are rectified. By this point, employees may have already reached a point of severe stress or burnout, and may even be considering resigning.
An employee’s wellbeing may be impacted by various factors; work, home life, family, health, relationships, and other challenges life throws at us all. No longer can we think of engagement as something that happens at work and wellbeing as something that happens outside of work. The pandemic has in many ways catalysed what we needed to happen around humanising the workplace and employees should no longer be expected to ‘leave their home life at home.’ Instead, support employees through these situations. It's important employees can ask for support and be open and honest, without fear of judgement or repercussions.
Managers must also feel supported by their senior leaders and the wider organisation. The complexities of employee wellbeing can feel daunting, particularly for new managers or those who haven’t received recent training or guidance. Managers of today face a multitude of new challenges and with so many KPIs to hit, employee wellbeing is difficult to measure and arduous to report on accurately.
All leaders must think about their employees as a whole person, not just a worker. This means prioritising wellbeing beyond the tick-the-box activities and really creating a culture that integrates into brand promise, adding wellbeing measures to their executive dashboards, and understanding critical warning signs that don’t appear on traditional KPI spreadsheets. To do this, here at Loopin, we’re enabling managers to have productive, connected, and meaningful conversations about things that matter to really help people thrive.
Managers can use Loopin to create a psychologically safe space for teams, bringing wellbeing and inclusivity together, as well as getting insights to truly lead with care and empathy.
Loopin allows you to stop working reactively with employee surveys and start identifying your team’s pain points in real-time, so you can target your efforts where it’s most needed. Loopin is completely free for 30 days for companies of any size, meaning you can try our range of features out before signing up to anything official. Click here to get started.
Don’t underestimate the design of the working environment
Workplace design is really important, particularly for hybrid teams who may only come into the office space once or twice a week. With so much being done virtually, the physical environment should be a place for collaboration, creative thinking, social interaction, and in-person support. All of these can be enhanced by the physical space, with studies showing how the physical environment has a serious role in shaping the behavioural and psychological wellbeing of employees.
A few things to consider are lighting, colour, layout, space, temperature, and furnishings. Here are four quick and easy ideas:
1. Give employees different places to work from
Nobody wants to be stuck in the same seat alllllll day. It’s dull and can make employees feel stifled. Give your people different places to work from so they can switch up their environment. Sofas, bean bags, hammocks, pods, and even standing desks are all great additions to the physical space. This also gives people a space to collaborate with their colleagues and come up with creative new ideas too.
2. No matter how cool your office space is, encourage employees to get out of it!
No matter how many plants, neon lights, and table footballs you have (these are all great btw!) be sure to encourage employees to get some fresh air. And not just for their lunch breaks. A Stanford University study suggests that walking meetings increase creativity by 81-100%, specifically “divergent thinking," which is a type of thinking that allows for a person to let go of the world they currently work in and think freely and openly.
3. Who hates staring at dull boring walls? We all hate staring at dull boring walls!
There is n-o-t-h-i-n-g more stifling than a cramped office space with no colour or creativity on the walls. Why not celebrate the achievements of the team with a celebration wall to recognise their hard work? Put up coloured frames with photos, certificates, and milestones. There are some great examples on LinkedIn and Pinterest to inspire you.
4. Give employees full creative freedom when it comes to their space
If you want employees to come to the office a few times a week, give them a space that they actually want to come to. Let them add their own personal touches. Give them a small budget for some paints to add some finesse and flair to the office. For many people, working at home is great, but so is having an alternative space that feels safe, comfortable, and welcoming.
The underpinning theme of all of these initiatives is to provide both physical and psychological safety to employees.
Whether your team is entirely remote, office-based, or a mixture of the two, with a welcoming and creative physical space, and an open, supportive approach to employee care, your people have the opportunity to not only engage but thrive within their role.
Have another idea to add to the list? Join the conversation on social media via LinkedIn.