How to promote a wellbeing culture at work

When we are feeling good and our wellbeing level is high we often feel more motivated and more fulfilled, and this impacts every part of our lives positively. Our emotional health is made up of our ability to look after ourselves, to manage ourselves in times of challenge and to sustain healthy relationships.

We are particularly invested in this year’s International Week of Happiness at Work because, in common with organisations around the world we are slowly making the transition back into our office after months of working remotely.

This is a pivotal moment for organisations everywhere as our workforces reconnect; it’s important that we can feel supported in managing the full range of feelings which are likely to be represented in our workplace as we come together again.

According to the WHO, we spend more than one-third of our adult lives working, so creating a working environment where we can thrive is a no-brainer for production and profitability. Emotionally healthy co-workers are more likely to be creative and effective in their roles, leading to stable workforce retention, and building teams that enjoy stronger collaborative relationships, as well as a better work/life balance. It follows that increased employee engagement plays a key role in supporting positive wellbeing and mental health.

A few ideas to build a culture that supports wellbeing in your workplace:

  • Start simple – like buying in new coffee/teas each week, or introducing a fresh fruit bowl or a variety of healthy snacks

  • Play together regularly – eg a 5-10 minute work break in the middle of the afternoon can serve several purposes – it can provide a helpful energizer for the afternoon dip, build a sense of belonging through shared fun (a lovely serotonin boost), and encourage creativity

  • Timetable a discussion with your colleagues about what makes each of you feel supported at work, and what steps you can take immediately to create a healthier, happier workplace. Review this regularly to check in with how this is feeling for everyone

  • Provide a mechanism for collecting and encouraging feedback – and act on it

  • Lunch together as a group regularly, and not always at your desk

  • Greet your colleagues warmly each morning, taking a few moments to connect

  • Deliver praise and recognition often

  • Enable a good work/life balance by listening to employees and offering greater employee flexibility

  • Encourage workplace wellness, both physical and emotional

  • Ensure your HR policies consider emotional health as part of employee reviews, and offer meaningful perks like health insurance, gym discounts, or cycle to work schemes.

Walking the walk

In our workplace, we get together every mid-morning for a quarter of an hour over tea/coffee. We have only one rule during that time: we don’t talk about work. It’s a great way to learn more about our colleagues and feel more invested in each other personally by understanding what’s going on in each other’s lives. It’s also proving to be an invaluable time to reconnect after months of online meetings: it’s a gentle, familiar method of easing ourselves back into different routines. We encourage you to try out these simple practices.

Need some support?

We offer a range of training for workplace settings, including programmes for supporting co-workers during the current COVID crisis, promoting emotional health at work, as well as ways to support parents in the workplace. Get in touch to see how we can support your organisation and help you to build an emotionally healthy culture in your workplace, where psychological safety is maintained and employees understand how to support their own emotional health and that of those around them.