HR for SMEs is a blog created in the beginning of 2018 with the idea of sharing knowledge. To bring to Small and medium enterprises owners the knowledge of a HR Manager.
Wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. So if you are looking for the definition of wellbeing at work, just try to apply this concept to the workplace.
However, it is not that easy. There are many concepts that you need to take into consideration and we will try to solve them on this article.
A study conducted by Cascade has revealed that only 13% of HR/ Business Managers believe their organisation has an effective wellbeing strategy in place. 67% admit that it is ‘a work in progress.
Let’s go step by step.
Wellbeing as the state of being comfortable in the workplace
Comfortable means comfortable. Don’t over do it if you don’t have the budget. Fancy chairs and stand up offices could be fantastic. However, if you don’t have the right budget, just make sure that your employees feel at ease at the office.
Basics of comfort at the workplace:
When we think in wellbeing and comfort at the workplace, most people tend to think on the nap cubicles that some big companies have at their offices. You might also be thinking about big gardens to do picnic, etc… that is nice, don’t get us wrong, but it is not the only thing you can do to make sure that your employees are comfortable at work.
Basic things like having a microwave and a nice place to have lunch or a coffee or tea when they are on break could make the whole difference. If you have the space, try to make some room for them to have lunch outside their desk. It is not nice to have lunch infront of their computer, but it can be even worst to have someone eating their cerals close to you while they munch and speak to someone on the phone for personal reasons.
If your team doesn’t work in an office environment, and they stand up all day long, make sure they can have their breaks sitting somewhere cosy and warm in the winter and cold during summer time.
Nice and clean toilet space:
Some of you might be laughing (or at least smiling) when reading this. However, if you have worked as an student in any shop or cafe over your summer holidays you might be picturing right now that horrible space where you could not even clean your teeth after lunch. Maybe you are thinking that you couldn’t even do the basics of a toilet without fear to get any kind of disease. An extra effort on this area is always very much appreciated.
As big as possible spaces to move around
If you have the budget and you are able to modify some elements in the office, make sure the place is as spacious as possible and they can move easily around without fear of bumping into a box or the archiver opening in the middle of the aisle.
I still can remember a place where I worked, not that long a go, and the HR archiver was in the facilities room because we didn’t have enough space in the office.
To close this part, remember, it is not about buying 1K chairs, which is fantastic if you can. It is about making sure they are comfortable at lunch and they feel like not doing an effort everytime they move.
We are human beings and we can adapt to any situation, but these things add up, and it could end up hurting their motivation when something else fails.
Avoid noise in the office:
One of the most common reasons why people want to do remote working is the capacity to concentrate better at home when everything is in silence and noone bothers them.
Chatting and that good vibe that there is in certain offices is fantastic. However, there are some other places when the noice of the office is unbereable and stress employees and collaborators. As much as it is possible, try to reduce it to improve the comfort feeling at the office.
Yes, they do decorate, but they also give a homy feeling and absorve noise and bad vibrations from computers and other machinery. Even if you think it is a hippy thing, it really works, if your space is not that easy to convert into a nice working space, try out with some plants here and there. And keep them alive please, there is nothing less homy as a place with dead plants on it 🙂
Wellbeing as the state of being healthy in the workplace
Physical health in the office
Trying to keep your employees healthy in the office is most of the times not even about promoting and improvement. It is mostly about avoiding a decrease of physical health by working at your company. Make sure their health doesn’t deteriorate just by working for you.
Make sure you follow all the health and safery procedures at the office and you should be fine. A little bit extra is always welcome.
Chair & desktop:
Make sure they are renewed and aligned with H&S regulations. If you want to go a little bit further, you can read about standing up offices and their benefits in case you want to innovate.
A study showed that the world loses around 244,000 million dollars per year in productivity due to myopia. Some small tips on how to improve your employee’s vision.
- Healthy diet and good nutrition
- Promote the use of sunglasses
- Promote breaks from looking at the screen every 30 minutes
- Include eyes exam on your benefits
You can read on a previous post the importance of promoting a healthy diet at the office, so I will not extend myself much about it, but just to remind you of the importance of having healthy people in order for them to be productive
This should be a basic within your H&S regulations, but if is not, just make sure you ventilate often and there is fresh air in the office.
Natural light is always a plus. If you can not have it, go for white leds which have been proven to improve the feeling of natural light and therefore their effect in wellbeing is really positive.
Mental health at the workplace
On the above mentioned study, the headline statistic was that stress is now considered ‘a way of life’ for 4 out of 5 UK workers. Encouragingly, the subject was hailed as a top priority for 18% of respondents, with a further 58% admitting it is of crucial importance so they will ramp up their efforts. But with 84% believing stress affects absences within their workplace
“Of the business owners and HR managers questioned, only 57% were aware of the cost of absence within their organisation. This suggests that, despite the apparent scale of the problem, there is still something of a dismissive mentality surrounding how worrying it really is and what to do about it”
“There is the outright fiscal impact of absence to consider of course, associated with reduced output, lost productivity and the need to employ temporary staff whilst also covering sick pay. But there are far wider-reaching consequences too including the detrimental effect on colleagues’ morale, the degradation of team dynamics and a potential drop in customer service. Above all though we need to be thinking about the root cause of the absence, and the steps that can be taken to prevent stress from having such an impact in the first place” said Cascade’s CEO, Oliver Shaw.
Interestingly the Stress Report 2018 found that, of the UK workers surveyed, 40% believe their employer takes enough proactive steps to protect the mental wellness of them and their colleagues. 53% have a place they feel they could go within the workplace to help alleviate the symptoms of stress and 61% think they could speak up at work if they started to experience these symptoms.
“It is important to note that employees can take steps to help themselves too. Whilst a supportive line manager is undoubtedly crucial in this debate, the research found that activities such as seeking colleague support, listening to music and taking regular breaks can also reduce the feeling of stress”
Wellbeing as the state of being happy in the workplace.
There is no worst feeling that waking up in the morning and fearing going to the workplace or being inmensly demotivated of doing anything related to your daily routine.
Happiness doesn’t necessarily means laughs and a pike of adrenaline everything that you enter into the workplace. It is not about that, it is about being happy to be working in a place. To smile if you talk about work rather than being angry or simply plain and bored about it.
It is not easy to find the balance for you to create an enviroment where everyone can be happy. It is mostly about making sure you understand what you can give to your employees and finding those that will be happy with what you give.
Imagine that you are an employer who really takes care of the team building activities and makes sure everytone have fun at work. If at your company there is no way they can be promoted or learn new skills, make sure you find the employees who are looking for that. Avoid those that would be looking just for the development if you can not give it to them.
Or just the other way around, as you can not please everyone, make sure you do what the majority of your employees will enjoy. Think about the employees you need for your company, due to skills, knowledge, expertise and salary. If they tend to be middle age professionals with family, maybe you want to promote flexible hours and working from home rather than afterwork parties.
This is not exact science, however, here you have some of the options to analyse when reviewing the state of happiness of your team.
Good relationship with peers
Team building exercises might not always be easy to coordinate but they are as simple as having some pizza together after work, or promoting that everyone has lunch together.
Good relationship with managers
Being a leader might not be the easiest thing in the world, specially when you have to ask for results later. However, it is clear to everyone that a good relationship with your manager improves the results and the retention rate in the company, not to mention wellbeing at the workplace. Try to do things in a more simple way and try to be as close as possible to your team. It always helps.
After covid19 everyone has thought about remote working. Not everyone is really trying, but candidates keep asking for some kind of flexibility around working from home. Just think about it if you haven’t done it so far. It is not that difficult if you follow the right steps and trust your team.
It is just about building the right processes and procedures and a good culture around remote working that promotes work and a fun team environment
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