With a return to the office likely on the horizon, many employers are not properly prepared to take employees back into the regular working week. While vaccination rates are ever increasing it doesn’t mean that company’s do not need to continue to offer office workers secure environments. From keeping attendance to a manageable level to ensuring regular sanitization of work surfaces, these should remain at the forefront for the foreseeable.
But what about beyond the standard obligations that all companies now have for their staff? Not only does every employee have the right to ask their employer for more support, but it’s going to quickly become a real differentiator when recruiting and retaining staff.
In this article we will cover some tips for improving employee wellbeing, and what staff members should be pushing for to ensure their jobs are supporting their physical and mental health.
Encourage Healthy Eating
A return to the office likely means back to a more enforced routine, and this includes less flexibility around lunch. If workers have been operating from home they have been able to cook and prepare more freely, once in the office the diversity of meals available is suddenly reduced.
From popping out to the local fast food chain to quickly grabbing a packet of crisps before leaving for the day, the routine of the office naturally lends itself to unhealthy eating habits. Even something with good intentions, like buying in treats like doughnuts for your team, can be more damaging over the long term.
Supporting healthy eating is very simple for most businesses. Providing a small supply of fruit in an accessible area is a great first step, and keeping team rewards more focussed outside of junk food treats is yet another which promotes a positive culture.
Integrate the fruit into your regular online order, or if you want to go one further then get in touch with your local greengrocer to arrange produce farmed locally.
Offer Benefits That Focus On Wellbeing
Unfortunately many positives that company’s offer to their staff air on the gimmicky side. If your main perk is the staff ping pong table then you’ll likely be considered out of touch before long. In the current jobs market people have a considerable amount of choice, and often the benefits of a role offer as much as the base salary.
Something truly eye catching, such as a corporate health insurance policy, can really make a business stand out. Integrating high value benefits, even if it means sacrificing the more fickle perks you currently offer, will pay dividends in the future. Furthermore access to private healthcare helps reduce absence and ensures staff have access to top healthcare should they need it.
Promote Exercise, Both In The Office & Out
Regular exercise is linked to an improvement in mental as well as physical wellbeing. If your team primarily operates as office workers then a sedentary lifestyle is a big danger. Internally you can encourage regular movement throughout the working day, advice is that you get up and move around once every 30 minutes.
For larger corporations introducing work exercise classes either before or during work is a great option for people should they wish to participate. Encouraging an active lifestyle outside of the workplace can be a little more challenging.
Free or incentivised gym memberships are fairly common and can assist those that are already active in keeping a routine. Step challenges are a great way to add a bit of positive physical activity to those that are not into sport, and it’s a great chance to turn into an office challenge.
Ensure Work Ties Into Employee’s Personal Lives
The primary benefit that many felt once they were forced to work from home over the last year was the amount of flexibility gained. While working permanently from home isn’t realistic for most businesses, it doesn’t mean that more can’t be done to integrate work into staff’s personal lives.
While not possible for all, offering flexible working is a great way to ensure that staff have their personal lives prioritised. Beyond this, if you can’t offer flexible hours, then offering much more allowance for personal days is ideal. This could be used for anything from dentist appointments to time to visit family.
Further to this many leading companies now offer unlimited holidays. While this may be a touch revolutionary for most businesses over time it will likely become more common. Those using this approach have reported increased employee happiness and not much noticeable increase in total holiday per year.
Consider All Types of Wellbeing
Finally no matter which policies you choose to adopt it’s essential to create a variety of wellbeing incentives. There are three key areas to consider which are social, emotional and physical.
If you’re unsure about what kinds of wellbeing are required then you can either consult with a skilled consultant, or simply send out an employee survey to understand what they would like to see from you.