We spend an awful lot of our lives at work and so most employees expect to be looked after while they are there. This means that employers now need to take into account not just physical safety, but workplace wellness as well.
This simply means keeping employee wellbeing at the forefront of all decisions, and it can therefore be practiced by companies of all sizes and budgets. All it requires is a sincere commitment to looking after your employees and keeping their wellbeing at the heart of everything you do. Companies that make this commitment get numerous practical benefits in return, so we decided to take a look at a few.
Reduced legal liability
Health and safety is one way in which employers care for their workforce, but it has its limitations. Health and safety should always be a minimum standard, not a target. What’s more, traditional health-and-safety guidance is arguably best suited to physical risks, and so it should not be the only thing that you consider when it comes to looking after staff.
This is because employers also have a duty to protect their employees’ mental health as well as physical. This can be much more complex, especially since it’s effectively impossible to take a “rules-based” approach to it.
Implementing workplace wellness can do a lot to make your employees feel happier about their experience at work. If nothing else, this can help reduce your exposure to health-and-safety claims which may relate to mental health. As an employer, you should be aware that modern courts take these types of situations very seriously.
Easier recruitment and higher retention
Realistically, when the job market is tough, even talented employees may have to take what they can get. That said, talented employees are likely to be in demand regardless of the overall state of the job market, so it is important to ensure that your staff feel happy and looked after to avoid them thinking that the grass might be greener elsewhere.
An effective workplace wellness strategy can also help to avoid employee burnout, keeping staff happy and hard-working for longer and ensuring that deadlines are met, energy stays high and engagement is strong.
As soon as you are facing competition from other employers, however, you need to give people reasons to work for you. The good news here, especially for SMEs, is that most people look beyond salaries and benefits. They want to work in a place they feel happy and valued. What’s more, if they appreciate an employer, they’ll recommend that employer to other people.
In simple terms, there’s only so much the human mind can handle. If workers are feeling miserable, they’re going to be distracted by those feelings, and this will inevitably impact their productivity. In fact, it can lead to them being forced to take time off work to deal with their issues.
It is also worth noting that feelings can be contagious. In other words, one miserable worker can dampen the atmosphere throughout a team and the problem will spread in much the same way as a physical illness. By contrast, people who are feeling positive about themselves can help other people to feel better about their day and the general mood of the workplace can be improved.
There are times when employers need to give information to their employees. A lot of the time, however, employers should be talking with their staff, not to them. In many companies, managers really need feedback from lower-level employees to improve the business overall.
The reality is that employees are only going to give honest feedback if they feel that they can trust their managers. They will tend to give the most valuable feedback when they really feel invested in a company. This is most likely to happen when they feel like the company is invested in them and there is an atmosphere of openness and compassion. Implementing workplace wellness can go a long way to demonstrating this.
Enhanced public image
Unless you have a truly unique offering, people generally have the option to buy from someone else. In fact, even if you do have a truly unique offering, your customer base will usually be able to go without it. Putting this together means that it’s really helpful if people like your company and not just what is makes or provides.
Being known as a best-in-breed employer can do a lot to make that happen. By the same token, employers who are thought to be unfair or uncaring towards their workforce often find their public reputation can nosedive, doing irreparable damage.
Workplace wellness can take many forms, from a simple thank you to a team-building activity, time off or even care packages. Taking workplace wellness into account should be about more than just ticking boxes.
By implementing an atmosphere that is caring, understanding and respectful, you can change the way your business works for the better. It will inevitably benefit both the staff and the employer, and your reputation will likely see a boost further afield too. Adding a few measures to your business that helps make staff feel valued will have much wider implications where everybody wins.
Jamie-Leigh James is the Marketing Executive at Cema Vending are specialists vending machine suppliers and have been for over 15 years. Cema Vending are the place to go for businesses looking for a range of stylish, modern snack, water and coffee vending machines.