Workforce wellbeing is still a relatively new entrant on the priority list of companies small and large. For a long time, where wellbeing at work has appeared on the corporate radar it has often been seen as a non-essential ‘nice-to-have’ part of corporate culture, with a cookie cutter strategy rolled out from one employee to another.
Yet study after study has shown the huge impact that prioritising team wellbeing can have on job satisfaction and productivity at work. So why is it that even amongst companies that have set aside a budget for employee wellbeing initiatives, a one-size-fits-all approach is still commonplace?
What does inclusive wellbeing actually mean?
In a workforce with a whole host of different wellbeing wants and needs, creating an impactful wellbeing strategy requires companies to adopt a more inclusive, employee-centric approach. Inclusive wellbeing means providing support in a multitude of formats – from creating a culture where employees can share their ideas and wellbeing goals, to encouraging team movement challenges driven by a shared purpose, such as a charity fundraising goal with an incentive from the company to take part.
At a time where millions of workers are feeling stressed, exhausted and struggling to get outside and move during the working day, the case for creating workplace strategies to help each employee to improve their wellbeing has never been stronger.
Inclusive wellbeing can mean putting in place a flexible structure that allows everyone – from senior managers through to junior employees – to feel comfortable and supported in taking the steps they need to look after their wellbeing. This might include designating a set amount of time each day for all team members to get away from their desk or having meeting-free periods each week – and leading by example for those in leadership positions.
So how can companies deliver meaningful wellbeing and inclusion initiatives?
For one, it starts with listening to your employees. Rather than the old school approach to wellbeing which consists of a HR team selecting some perks for the entire organisation, engaging with the workforce at all levels, from senior management through to junior teams, is one of the most powerful ways to get an insight into what matters to your team.
All too often, inclusion and wellbeing ideas are developed in an echo chamber, yet you have front row access to your employees to ask what they really want and need to improve their wellbeing at work.
Another important consideration is that inclusive wellbeing requires companies to avoid assumptions about their teams. At the heart of inclusion lies flexibility, and companies must help each individual to look after their wellbeing in the way that works for them. Seemingly harmless ideas – such as step counts – can inadvertently exclude less mobile employees, so keep an eye out for these often subtle proposals which can have unintended consequences for inclusion.
Whether you hold regular town hall meetings for the entire organisation, or opt to appoint a wellbeing committee to make sure every voice is being heard, inclusive wellbeing is about walking the walk and not simply talking the talk when it comes to embedding wellbeing into company culture.
Inclusive wellbeing isn’t about forcing your employees to tick boxes, but it is about giving them the platform they need to put their health – both physical and mental – at the top of their priority list so that they can show up as the best version of themselves, at home and at work.
These are just some of the insights from our workplace wellbeing report, bringing together the voices of thousands of employees to discover the true state of wellbeing at work. Make yourself a cuppa and have a read!