Does your Workplace Culture Negatively Impact Employee Wellbeing?

More and more businesses are becoming aware of the impact employee wellbeing can have on their productivity. And research has found that companies that prioritise employee wellbeing have actually outperformed the market. When you take on an employee, you take on their skills and experience. But you are also responsible for their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Physical wellbeing

Physical activity can reduce a person’s risk of health problems and aid recovery1.

Physical inactivity has been linked to a lot of different health conditions including strokes, cancer, obesity and mental health problems. And in fact, undertaking physical activity can prevent health problems. Lots of workplaces often get involved in charity bake sales or competitions, and unintentionally make it easier for employees to snack and eat at their desks. And who doesn’t indulge in the odd cake on a colleague’s birthday?

You can encourage your employees to be physically active and healthy through workplace health initiatives like step-counting and fun runs. You can also encourage them, where possible, to walk or cycle to work (even just part of the way) and provide information on local walking and cycle routes. You can also encourage your staff to keep active on their lunch breaks rather than spending the whole time at their desks.

Helping your employees to be more physically active can be beneficial to your business because active workforces tend to recover more quickly from illnesses. This means less work absence and more productivity.

Emotional or mental wellbeing

Mixed anxiety and depression is estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain2.

Does your organisational culture promote wellbeing? Employees who feel trusted, valued and respected are more likely to be engaged, and therefore more productive. Many businesses credit their success to their culture, because it is the foundation for everything that they do. Creating an environment where employees feel the values of the business translate into their working lives is likely to increase their productivity and engagement. But a positive and open culture also means being open and supportive when it comes to emotional and mental wellbeing.

Mental health can sometimes be overlooked, but it can drastically impact upon your employees lives. Providing support is only part of the solution though: EAPs and counselling can help to deal with some of the symptoms of mental health, but there are also more intangible aspects that need to be addressed. There is a lot of stigma around mental health in some workplaces that needs to be eradicated. This stigma can be a huge barrier to continued working or even return to work after being absent due to ill mental health.

If you want to ensure the emotional and mental wellbeing of your employees, it’s important that you instil in your workforce the requirement to be accepting of mental health issues. Providing education on this topic can help to alleviate the stigma and inform employees about how to support colleagues with poor mental health.

Financial wellbeing

41% of adults do not know what their current account balance is within £503

One area you may not have considered is financial wellbeing. We have anecdotal evidence from clients we have worked with that the culture of their workplace has a detrimental effect on their financial wellbeing.

Some employees can feel the pressure to spend at work. If your peers normally go out for lunch then you can feel pressured into going along, buying a large meal and drinks; and this can happen several times a month, if not a week.

Many workplaces also have a culture of encouraging their employees to get involved with charity ventures, which is fantastic. But at times it can seem like every week a colleague is asking for donations to another worthy cause, and individuals are compelled to give each time, even if they can’t really afford to.

Another aspect of spending at work is peer-pressure and “keeping up with the Joneses”. Some job roles in particular provoke the need to be the best or at least to benchmark against your colleagues: to have the latest car; the most expensive suit; or latest shoes.

Fostering a culture of saving and planning for the future rather than frivolous spending can help to combat some of this. In addition, providing employees with benefits to help them save, education on how to use them and education on financial basics can help your employees manage their money better.

Your workplace culture could be the key to improving employee wellbeing. Addressing your approach to your employees’ lifestyles could help to create a happier and more productive workforce, and save you money.

1. healthyworkinglives.com
2. mentalhealth.org.uk
3. Money Advice Service: Barriers and Building Blocks



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