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Having your finger on the pulse when it comes to employee wellbeing is becoming an increasingly important requirement if you want your business to be successful.

Numerous studies over the years have revealed the negative impact that stress, poor mental health and sickness can have on the bottom line. Absenteeism leads to low productivity, low quality of work and low staff morale.

Employee wellbeing is about how a jobs affects someone’s overall happiness. This includes duties and responsibilities, expectations, workload levels and environment.

By acknowledging that employee wellbeing should be a focus and looking at ways to maintain and improve it, employers can ultimately improve business performance and staff retention.

Set expectations

Steps can be taken to minimise the risk of poor employee wellbeing right from the recruitment and onboarding stage of the relationship. If you make it clear what is expected of employees – not in a draconian ‘you must do this and that and at this time’ kind of way – and how their role relates to the company’s overall structure and the big picture, you can channel the enthusiasm of a new starter.

Remove any guesswork and explain what they need to know before they need to know it. Introduce them to your processes and any employee schemes and benefits you have; tell them how valued they are and that they will be given all the necessary tools to succeed.

Have an open-door and pro-development policy

Encouraging regular catch-ups, both formal and informal, will give employers and employees opportunities to raise any concerns or issues, or even give praise. Having a widely understood open-door policy will also make employees feel at ease should they want to discuss any feelings of stress or being overworked, for example.

In addition, ensuring employees are continuously offered the chance to grow, both personally and professionally, can significantly increase job satisfaction. Attending training courses can also provide a welcome break from the usual day-to-day work routine and actually rejuvenate employees.

Be flexible but firm

Often, long commutes and balancing family life with work demands can take its toll on employees before they’ve even got to the office. Offering flexible working hours and/or the opportunity to work from home can go a long way.

Similarly, if employees are regularly working over their contracted hours, it could quickly lead to burnout, which can only be bad for business. Don’t encourage a culture whereby employees feel guilty for taking their lunch breaks or leaving on time. Instead, limit excessive working hours and discourage overworking and presenteeism.

Promote a healthy lifestyle

Health and fitness has become a priority on the corporate agenda for many businesses of late, and for good reason. Regular exercise has been proven to improve both physical and mental wellbeing, which can reduce the risk of sickness and injury.

Consider providing free and healthy food on your premises, even if it’s just a fresh fruit bowl replenished daily. And if you can’t justify fitness related employee benefits yet, like discounted gym memberships or a cycle to work scheme, look into cost-effective ideas such as activity-led and outdoor meetings or lunch time workout sessions.

Monitor effectiveness

Business owners, directors and managers should be committed to finding the most effective ways to measure wellbeing across the company. Staff surveys or one-to-one interviews can identify pressure points within a department or team and at an individual level. Being seen as proactive and approachable encourages employees to offer ideas and opinions in an informal and relaxed, and sometimes anonymous, environment. Welcoming and listening to an employee’s worries will make them feel valued which can only improves their wellbeing at work.

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