While January can seem a long and slow month, it is the start of a new year and many employees will be embarking on new year resolutions to better both their mental and physical well-being.
An individual’s well-being can impact how they function in the working environment and so employers may wish to take the opportunity of a fresh start and a new year to think about how they support and promote an employee’s wellbeing within the workplace.
A few really easy ways in which employers can promote the well-being of their workforce are suggested below:
One of the easiest ways to promote an employee’s mental well-being is to allow flexibility (where possible). In such a well-connected world, for many roles, there is very little requirement for employees to be tied to their desks. We are seeing the use of ‘walk and talk’ meetings much more with employees taking internal meetings outdoors, for some fresh air and some movement, often resulting in a fresh perspective.
In a more traditional sense, encouraging flexible working (both where and when an employee works) can do wonders from the well-being of the workforce. Whether this be on a formal basis of agreed ‘in the office days’ or a more flexible approach of allowing employees to work from home when they are not required in the office can really improve an employee’s work life balance, employer’s may wish to think about their requirements and how flexible they can be. Allowing flexibility in an employee’s schedule can really alleviate some of the stressors balancing work and home life can bring.
As an employer, it is important to strike the balance between being supportive and being too intrusive. In some cases, checking in with employees, having regular catch ups over a coffee or a run down of what work they have on can be all that is required to help promote a healthy working environment and support their well-being. However, some employees will require some more additional support, such as signposting to confidential counselling services, mental health first aiders, HR professionals or managers who can provide a confidential space to share any challenges.
Physical health is also important and whether or not employers provide a gym membership or access to physiotherapy, yoga classes or team walks at lunch time, sometimes encouraging employees to take regular breaks away from their desks (including getting some fresh air) and take their annual leave can do wonders to promote their well-being.
As well as the above, it is important that managers are trained and can spot when someone’s well-being is being impacted either at work or by an external factor. Employer’s may want to consider training managers on communication skills and how to best encourage staff to raise any issues they are having, ensure they know what support the workplace offers and how to treat someone suffering from a dip in their well-being sensitively and fairly.
For more information and advice on well-being support for employees, please contact our specialist Employment Law team on 03330 430350.