By Heartburst Digital, 20 October 2021
Looking after your staff at work is crucial and with October being National Safe Work and Mental Health month it has never been a better time to commit to making improvements in order to build a safe, happy and healthy workplace.
Many people are now working remotely, and while some may prefer working from home others may find it stressful as their homes are full of distractions which don’t make it an ideal work environment. Having a negative workplace environment can have a huge impact on individuals mental wellbeing and their overall health. Making sure your employees feel relaxed and safe at work whether that be at home or in the office is not only beneficial for them but your organisation as well, as they will be able to do their best work.
That is why we’ve put together some information about why looking after your staff at work is so important and about the benefits it could bring to your organisation. We also discuss some improvements you could add to your workplace strategy and how to put into action.
Why is it so important?
Creating a strategy to look after your staff is so important, especially in current times, with a lot of people feeling isolated while working from home, more effort needs to be made to ensure they feel connected. Without strategies to help people feel connected at work individuals may experience a lot of stress that can lead to many mental health problems which can cause impacts on their quality of life. According to the State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report (PDF) only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy, that is why it is crucial to prevent your staff from feeling this way so they can focus on the work and enjoy doing it.
“Our corporate wellness depends on the holistic wellness of our team. We care for each and every person not only as an articulation of our passion for people, but also in the full awareness that individual wellness is a precondition for corporate health.”
- Lee Jones, Group CEO
Ensuring your employees have a safe and healthy workplace, who look after their wellbeing is not only important for them but also your organisation. The better your employees feel at work the more likely they are to stick around, according to Major Recruitment it takes an average of 82 days to fill a vacant position. This can cause major disruptions for not only other employees but your organisation. Creating a positive work environment is the best way to build loyal employees and save huge amounts of time and money on recruitment.
Strategies you can put in place
Some strategies you can use to help create a positive environment at your organisation whether your employees are working in the office or remotely are;
Introducing new activities
Introducing new activities at your organisation can help your employees to connect outside of their daily tasks. Activities you could introduce regularly may be a team building exercise, sports or even zoom trivia. At Heartburst when we are in the office we have a weekly badminton competition at lunch to help and provide an opportunity for everyone to get involved and learn more about each other. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, what is important is that it involves connecting the team and making them work together.
Open up regular communication
One of the most important strategies you can implement to ensure your employees feel safe and supported is by opening up regular communication between leaders and employees. The AIM Leadership Survey 2019 states that 72.28% of workers have left an organisation due to either the leadership team or direct manager. Providing a safe and open space where employees feel they can talk about their concerns or issues they may be having will help ensure they feel looked after and don’t feel the only option is to leave.
A great way to get your employees talking while helping them keep each other up to date with projects or campaigns is to have a weekly meeting that everyone attends. This can be in the office or over zoom for just 30 minutes at the start or end of every week where people can give updates on projects, internal matters or just tell funny stories from the week. This will allow everyone to communicate and keep on top of what's happening regardless of whether they are involved in the project or not, it is still nice to include everyone so they feel part of the team.
Leaders need to stay informed
Leaders are known to be very busy as they have a lot to keep up to date with. But they still need to stay informed, good leaders are across everything that is going on within an organisation, while this doesn’t mean they have to know all the small things that are going on. This form of leadership helps show employees that they can rely on their leaders and turn to them for help if needed, which can relieve a lot of stress and pressure.
Acknowledge achievements and provide encouragement
Acknowledging your employees achievements and providing encouragement will help them feel appreciated and valued within your organisation. Acknowledgement can be just a shout out or if it is a significant achievement you may consider giving them a gift or a raise. Showing recognition will remind employees that you see their hard work and dedication which will push them to continue their good work and stay loyal to your organisation.
A great way to ensure all employees are looked after, is by encouraging regular breaks. All employees should feel as if they are able to ask for time off without fear of rejection, this will allow them to disconnect from work and alleviate stress so they can feel fresh when they come back to work.
If not all members have adequate leave as an organisation you should still encourage breaks even if it is just 15 minutes away from their desk. If you notice employees struggling or having a hard time ask them if they would like to take some time and go for a short walk or a coffee, small things like this help to defuse stressful situations and clear people's heads so they can approach tasks differently.
Looking after the wellbeing of employees at work takes time, so make sure you are available. If an employee is struggling and is looking for support it is crucial that they feel like they can come to leadership for assistance. While it’s hard to make time for everyone you can delegate or schedule some time in the near future to address the issue. Making sure people don’t feel ignored and feel comfortable to approach leadership is so important to prevent small issues escalating and affecting their mental wellbeing.
How to put it all into actions
Creating a strategy is great but you need to continually monitor and review it to ensure it continues to work for your organisation. By reviewing your strategy regularly you will be able to see areas of improvement, make sure to include employees in discussions so they can have their say on what needs to be addressed, so no problems go unnoticed. Communicating with everyone within your organisation to constantly improve your strategy will help remind them that their health matters to you and that your a team who will work together to tackle anything big or small creating a stronger, healthier and happier workplace.
Implementing a mental wellbeing strategy, will allow your organisation to better look after your employee’s mental health to ensure they feel positive about their work environment and look forward to coming to work. Having a safe, happy and healthy work environment will ensure employees can focus on their tasks at hand and do the best of their ability to help achieve all your organisation's goals.
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