Global companies have long being looking after their employees wellbeing in a number of innovative ways. Google has installed climbing walls, mini golf courses and even sleeping pods. There are on-site fitness centres, an array of healthy food options, financial planning advice, substantial parental leave entitlements, medical support and complementary therapies. Employees can also access personal development and learning opportunities tailored to individuals’ interests. Most businesses can’t afford such investment but there are some smaller changes that can make a huge amount of difference.
Jo Allison, an analyst at behavioural insights company Canvas8 says “Employers are beginning to understand that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind, and creates a better community and improves output from their teams. If the boss cares, then others give themselves permission to care too.”
According to government statistics, 26.8 million days were lost due to ill health in the UK in 2017 at a cost to £9.7 billion to businesses. So wellbeing in the office is something to be taken very seriously but how can smaller businesses possibly compete with big companies? Across the country there are an increasing number of innovative ways in which businesses are supporting their staffs’ wellbeing at very little cost. For example, employee incentives firms, such as BHSF, Perkbox and Reward Gateway can offer staff benefits such legal advice and round the clock access to a GP at a low cost to employers. Some firms are implementing a system which bans email after 7pm or offers a weeks paid leave for an employee to pursue an interest. John Dean, managing director at consultants Punter Southall Health & Protection says. “Wellbeing is absolutely something small businesses can both do, and afford,” he says. Whether it’s ensuring staff have proper lunch-breaks, to introducing fitness challenges, or offering flexible working.” he argues there are simple steps SMEs can introduce to significantly impact mental wellbeing in particular – now the leading cause of absenteeism from the workplace.
Some simple steps to consider.
Furniture – ensure it’s comfortable and fit for purpose. This includes break out furniture as well as desk furniture.
Temperature – a flexible climate control system means that employees can adjust the temperature to what suits them.
Outside areas – if you have any outside space, make it an inviting place for employees to use. Some fresh air in the working day can do wonders.
Fitness – not many businesses can afford their own gym but encourage sporting activities such as cycle schemes and gym membership.
Surroundings – plants and artwork has been shown to increase productivity. Chose decoration carefully – colours can have different effects of the feel of an office.
For more information about wellbeing in the workplace, click here.