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5 ways to address wellbeing in the workplace

5 min read  |   29 June, 2022   By Laura Wipfler

A group of smiling employees stand in an office.
    

A year never passes without there being yet another wellbeing trend or fad dominating the workplace. But putting the quirks and gimmicks aside, what do people really want to support their wellbeing at work? How can you approach this as an employer? 

As part of our recent People First Culture Series publication, we surveyed over 1200 employees of SMEs on this topic. We teamed up with Lizzie Benton, Company Culture Coach, to give us her take on practices that can really make a difference.  

Lizzie quote for blog webp

What are the most popular wellbeing supports?   

To get a true picture of what matters to people and their workplace wellbeing, we compiled a list of the most popular wellbeing benefits and asked SME employees if these were what they wanted.  

The clear winner among everything that’s currently offered to people, was flexible working. 

 

Company benefits given to employees that were seen as beneficial:

CS Benefits given to employees that are beneficial (yellow)

 

According to our research, 48% of SME employees were offered flexible working. A further 27% were not offered it, but said that they would find it the most useful benefit.  

Flexible working isn’t just something people want. Those who have it, find it highly beneficial to their wellbeing.  

Flexible working comes in many forms, but ultimately it supports the blurred lines that are now ever-present in our work-life. 

Beyond flexible working, 35% of SME employees felt that wellbeing days would be helpful.   

If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that health is something we can never take for granted.  

Wellbeing days not only offer your team further education on their own health and lifestyle but offer up the chance to connect as a team on more meaningful matters. Imagine a company culture where everyone felt healthier and more confident to openly talk about stress or mental health. That’s a future we should all be striving for.  

 

New ways to approach wellbeing support  

 As a business, wellbeing initiatives may not only be costly, but they also take time to implement. This is why choosing benefits that are going to truly be utilised by your team, can feel overwhelming. There are many stories where companies have adopted the latest wellbeing trend, only to realise it was never helpful to their team in the first place.  

In the past businesses have been prescriptive about wellbeing, offering only what managers or leaders think would work - instead of talking to the very people these initiatives are going to impact.  

It’s the end of free-fruit Fridays and yoga. Workplace wellbeing now needs to go beyond tokenistic gestures and provide people with the genuine care and support they need to work well. 

Lizzie's 5 plays to put into action:

1. Consider flexible working if you haven’t already  

Whether that’s a 4-day work week, working from home, a 6-hour day, or compressed hours. Look at the options that are out there and set up a trial together.  

2. Get feedback from your team on your ideas  

Don’t take on any wellbeing trend without running it by your team. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype, but get their feedback on whether this will be genuinely helpful.  

3. Regularly check in on what’s working  

Regularly check in with your team about their wellbeing needs and compare that to what the company is offering. Have open discussions about what’s working, and what’s not working. Avoid a suggestion box as this never gives context. Be brave and commit the time to find solutions together.  

4. Look at innovative options  

Be imaginative with your team about the wellbeing packages you could come up with. If anything could be part of the wellbeing in the company culture, what would it be? Don’t limit yourself to just what’s currently available.  

5. Co-create a wellbeing calendar  

With wellbeing days, consult with your team about what learning or support they would love to see, and perhaps create a calendar of events. It’s important to collaborate with your team on this because there will be some things people won’t feel comfortable with, for example, not everyone wants to do yoga in front of their team. So, get as many ideas together from all team members. Whatever you do, don’t make it mandatory. Nothing makes people feel more stressed and anxious than being forced to attend a wellbeing event they don’t want to go to.  

Interested in learning more about the current state of wellbeing amongst the employees of SMEs and how this links back to your company culture?

Download our People First Culture Series – Edition 1 today. 

65% of SME employees are less likely to take sick leave when working from home

Laura

Author: Laura Wipfler

Laura is Breathe's Senior Content Marketing Manager & strives to make all content the very best it can be. A keen tennis player, Laura enjoys spending time in the great outdoors & with her cat, Otto.

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