Why Focusing On Your (and Your Employees) Health & Wellbeing In The Workplace Is Critical For Business Success!

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When it comes to businesses that are aiming for sustainability and success, health and wellness is not often a particularly important focus for those in management who are driving the growth of the company, but it should be.  

In fact, a study by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in Geneva found that every €1 invested in occupational health and safety generates a return of €2.20. So health and wellness schemes not only save money, they also lead to increased profitability. Continue reading to find out how you can invest in your own wellbeing and provide a healthy, positive and safe work environment for your team! 

What does "Wellbeing" actually mean?

Wellbeing is “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” However, it is important to realize that wellbeing is a much broader concept than moment-to-moment happiness. While it does includes happiness, it also includes other things, such as how satisfied people are with their life a whole, their sense of purpose, and how in control they feel. 

Why is Wellbeing important? 

Several organizations and researchers take a health-oriented approach when defining wellbeing. The World Health Organization defines it as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”right up arrow 

According to this definition, wellbeing includes everything related to staying physically healthy — including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s all the steps an individual can take to manage stressors in his or her life and take care of his or her own health and well-being. 

“When self-care is regularly practiced, the benefits are broad and have even been linked to positive health outcomes such as reduced stress, improved immune system, increased productivity, and higher self-esteem,” says Brighid Courtney, of Boston, a client leader at the wellness technology company Wellable and a faculty member at the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). 

How do you recognize that you or someone else may be unwell?

Most stress symptoms are temporary and will resolve on their own in a fairly short amount of time. However, for some people, particularly children and teens, these symptoms may last for weeks or even months and may influence their relationships with families and friends. Common warning signs of emotional distress include: 

Eating or sleeping too much or too little 
Pulling away from people and things 
Having low or no energy 
Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches 
Feeling helpless or hopeless 
Excessive smoking, drinking, or using drugs, including prescription medications 
Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why 
Having difficulty readjusting to home or work life 

Why you should prioritize the Wellbeing of yourself and your employees?

One in four of us experience a mental health problem, typically anxiety, stress or depression. In 2018/19, for instance, 600,000 workers in the UK alone experienced workplace stress, accounting for 44% of work-related illness, both physical and mental. However, there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental health, meaning most of us suffer in silence and do not access the help, guidance and support we need. 

Most people spend the majority of their waking lives at work. High stress, long hours, tough targets, lots of computer-time, difficult colleagues and clients, financial worries, and a poor work-life balance can all take a physical and mental toll. It’s imperative that staff wellbeing is taken seriously. After all, everyone wins when a workforce is happy and engaged and morale is high and job-satisfaction secured. As a result, productivity soars, sales increase, and sick-leave is kept to a minimum. 

How do you do it?

Productivity is a regular common denominator among successful businesses. Without a productive workforce, a business isn’t likely to reach its fullest potential or meet its objectives successfully. Independent studies by Gallup were conducted on the well-being and productivity of almost 2 million employees and the performance of more than 80,000 business units. The findings concluded that there’s a strong correlation between employee well-being, productivity, and the performance of a firm. 

If this is the case, how can a business work towards higher levels of productivity? According to the Gallup study, an area to focus on to lead to increased productivity is boosting employee health and well-being. As a business owner, you should invest more resources in this area, whether it be through providing in-house childcare to free gym memberships or offering healthy and nourishing snacks. On that note, here is why you should prioritize your employee’s health and well-being. 

1. Take mental health as seriously as physical health – make sure your employees know they can, for instance, take sick days for mental ill-health as well as physical problems.If you recognize that someone may need professional medical help, don’t be afraid to advise on it, remembering it is a sensitive matter.

2. Encourage employees to take breaks – All UK employees have the right to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes if they work longer than six hours a day. Make sure they know this, an encourage your employees to take time away from their desks!

3. Get people to go outside – time outside in the sunshine and fresh air is especially important for firms based in large, impersonal office blocks.Organizeoutdoor workspaces or simply encourage staff to take a short break outside—it can make a huge difference to wellbeing! 

4. Get senior staff and executives to recognize good work – many employees will feel a huge confidence boost if they receive praise and feedback from senior executives. It helps them feel valued and that their standing within the firm is increased—encourage it! 

5. Encourage leadership to speak out – change starts at the top. Encourage senior executives and leaders to speak about their own mental wellbeing; this has been proven to change company culture and encourage others to follow suit.

Moreover as a manager, leader or entrepreneur you should : 

  • Build awareness of importance of wellbeing among people – organize talks, provide coaching opportunities 
  • Make people aware that they need to search for support when they feel they need it 
  • Make people aware that talking about emotions is important – it is not exaggerating  
  • Stay in touch with your team and take care of them (that builds purpose) 
Invest in Wellbeing Programs for yourself and your employees!

Companies who want to deliver quality virtual wellness programs to their employees have very limited options. There are less and less variety of program offerings, specializations, and customizable modules. The biggest challenge with most online wellness programs is that they are not focused on employee assistance, or what your staff needs, and wants. 

Another challenge with traditional online wellness programs is in the past these programs were only offered onsite, but the workplace landscape has changed and will continue to change due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. COVID)  companies are having to adapt as we have, and are putting their focus on mental health first, and having great success with implementing processes that have evolved into virtual wellness programs! 

At My NU Ways! we support your wellbeing as a business owner and also the wellbeing of your employees. You can purchase our Business & Life pack for yourself or for your team and have access to valuable resources, coaching & consulting that will help you and your team reduce stress, improve health, wellness, and mindfulness and increase employee engagement! Click here to learn more! 

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