Many of us spend the majority of our time at work. It may seem a given that employers therefore invest time and effort into making sure that their workplaces are a positive place to be. However, when juggling many balls running a business, the mental wellbeing ball sometimes gets dropped.
The way we feel at work can impact on our levels of enthusiasm, engagement, motivation and productivity so promoting wellbeing at work is key. We know that it can feel hard to know where to start with workplace wellbeing initiatives, so here are three pointers to help you make a start.
Make a Good First Impression
In our working lives, we have all experienced the frustration that comes with delays with IT access, not having the right equipment, and difficulties aligning diaries for meetings. When starting a new job, these issues can be compounded and cause unnecessary additional stress. Nobody wants to feel like they’re having to firefight from the very start!
Have a well thought out induction
The onboarding and induction process is an employee’s first taster of their new role. Having a well thought out induction plan can help the new starter to feel welcome and able to integrate with their team and the business. Making this transition as smooth as possible can demonstrate that you have considered the new starter journey and are proactive in supporting your staff and promoting employee health and wellbeing.
Change and uncertainty are often triggers for anxiety and stress and so developing a supportive induction process is something that has been a big focus within my workplace wellbeing consultancy. When starting a new job, these feelings are common. By recognising this and taking measures to eliminate any additional stressors, we can support staff to feel more at ease.
Make use of your workforce
Current staff usually have a wealth of ideas and feedback, so it can be helpful to get their input on this! Getting them involved can help demonstrate efforts to reflect on process, interest in feedback and a commitment to improvement if the actions are implemented.
Make Work a Safe Space
We all know about health and safety, but what about psychological safety? Having psychological safety at work refers to us feeling comfortable to express our views, ideas and concerns without fear of being punished, criticised or humiliated.
We often spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our friends and family, so these relationships matter. Tensions and conflict can have a significant impact on staff health and wellbeing and this can be heightened if there is a lack of psychological safety, where people don’t feel able to talk about issues as they arise.
Have a clear process for reporting issues
Clear lines of reporting and escalation, and transparency about policies, processes and confidentiality can help people feel able to speak up about issues. Informal spaces to speak with colleagues, soundboard ideas and take breaks together can help foster a culture that encourages teamwork and collaboration and opportunities to support each other and share feedback.
Thinking of wellbeing in a hybrid work environment
A lot of workplaces have adopted a hybrid approach to work since the pandemic, splitting time between offices and home-working. This can make it challenging to bring people together in an engaging way. But if we put a positive spin on it, this creates an opportunity to problem-solve this together and generate staff wellbeing ideas collaboratively. A key point to highlight, however, is that inviting ideas is only of real value if there is a genuine willingness to explore them. If there isn’t capacity for this, it can impact on psychological safety, leaving people feeling disregarded or invalidated.
Take Interest in Your Team
Research has shown that relationships with line managers and line management styles have a direct link to employee wellbeing. Issues within this dynamic are the second leading cause of work-related stress, and stress is the third leading cause of workplace absences. On the flipside, good quality people-management has been found to be one of the core factors in employee engagement and wellbeing at work. Investing in this relationship is therefore key.
Be a supportive manager
Taking time to get to know your team, showing interest in their work, and supporting with their career goals can help with motivating and developing staff. When we are motivated, our engagement and productivity is increased which can help us gain a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
Acknowledge good news and successes
Often line management can be problem-focused. We may only reach out to our line manager if we need support, or line managers may only reach out to their team when there is an issue. Taking time to share or acknowledge good news and successes can help balance this and enable line management to feel like a space for support rather than scrutiny. We all like to feel appreciated and praise and recognition for a job well done can play an important role in the way we feel at work.