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workplace wellness programme

How to build a Workplace Wellness Programme that works

With Workplace Wellbeing Day taking place this April 28th, it can be a useful time to re-evaluate the culture within your own team and organisation. Since the Covid-19 pandemic first began, the work landscape has drastically changed, with a 25% increase in costs rising from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover reported in the UK. Additionally, nearly half of employees surveyed in the same set of findings reported experiencing at least one characteristic of burn out in the previous year. With these increases, more and more companies are looking at what they can do to better support their own staff. Naturally, one of the first thing companies are likely to consider is reviewing their current Workplace Wellness Programme and offerings.

What is a Workplace Wellness Programme and does it work?

A traditional wellness programme is a workplace initiative for staff designed to help prevent and avoid illnesses while improving the general health of the workforce. This could include things like Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), yoga classes, healthy lunches, wellness challenges, etc; but you might wonder, do these programmes work? Well, this depends on how it has been set up.

How to build an effective Workplace Wellness Programme

workplace wellness programme

While yoga classes and free lunches can’t hurt anything, every organisation needs to first ensure that they have the basics of their work landscape mapped out properly. Every successful initiative or programme needs to have a solid foundation to build upon. According to the Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health (2017), there are 6 core standards of Mental Health within the workplace that all organisations should consider when focusing on the Mental Health and Wellness of their staff:

1. Create a Mental Health at Work Plan

As a starting point, the organisation should create (or update) their Mental Health at Work plan. This plan should shape the organisation’s approach on how they wish to improve and protect the mental health of their staff within the workplace.

2. Develop mental health awareness

Mental health awareness or literacy is vital in the general population, but especially at work, as it can empower your staff to improve and prioritise their wellbeing. Understanding self-care and where to seek help if needed are an important part of looking after ourselves. Improved mental health literacy for both employees and managers can increase the likelihood of early intervention and support for staff.

3. Encourage conversations

Mental Health should be openly discussed in the office just as frequently as physical health. We’re all quick to say when we’re struggling with a cold, but less likely to admit we’re experiencing sadness after a loss or break up. Only 56% of Irish adults reported they would feel comfortable telling their boss that they needed time off work due to a mental health difficulty. Currently most staff don’t find out about what mental health services they have access to until after opening up about having a mental health difficulty or large life event take place.

workplace wellness programme

4. Assess working conditions

When working conditions are poor, such as when psychosocial hazards are present, staff are more likely to experience poor mental health at work. It can be useful to assess the working environment in various departments to ensure that they include fair pay, job security, good working conditions, education, and training.

5. Promote effective people management

One thing that nearly all people can relate to is that people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. In fact a recent Frontline Leader Research Project by DDI found that 57% of people who recently left their job left because of a bad manager. By educating managers on how to effectively manage their staff’s performance, but also in how to help support their team if a mental health difficulty does arise, managers should feel more equipped to fulfil their role, and less of their employees should feel the need to quit as a result.

6. Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing

Once a mental health at work plan has been created, it’s important to ensure that it’s working. By routinely managing how staff are doing, it can provide insight on any possible changes that might be required to make the plan more effective. This can include things like anonymous staff surveys or focus groups with staff.

Take control of of your company’s Workplace Wellness Programme through these steps and witness the impact it has on employee retention, absenteeism, company culture, employee wellbeing, and much more.

Get In Touch

Don’t hesitate to get in touch via corpora[email protected] if you would like to find out more about our workplace mental health training courses and workshops and how they can support your Workplace Wellness Programme.

Written by: Nicole Paulie, Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Director at Centric Mental Health, PSI

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