How to curate your workplace well-being program
Before COVID-19, well-being in the workplace was already ‘a thing’. It’s easy to forget those trend-setting companies that introduced workplace well-being initiatives simply because they were fantastic employers. In 2021, well-being at work looks a little different to pre-COVID times, but it’s still an area in which forward-thinking companies set themselves apart. Office design company Evoke Projects shares the latest mental, physical and organisational health well-being initiatives.
Early workplace well-being initiatives
As the large Silicon Valley tech firms competed for talent over the last 15 years, workplace well-being initiatives became a way of attracting the best people. For example, Google offered free food, gymnasiums and in-office massage. Apple had a medical practice at its HQ and subsidised employee education. Smaller companies followed suit with well-being programs suited to their employees.
Elements such as gym memberships are still attractive today, but employees are looking for so much more. Mental health initiatives and intangible benefits such as recognition are part of the rich fabric of our health and well-being in the workplace.
Curate your own modern workplace well-being program
Well-being programs are just as important as salary and promotion prospects to employees. In fact, a study reported that 37% of job candidates will accept a lower salary in exchange for a workplace with an appealing culture, facilities and technology.1 Below, Evoke Projects has outlined the latest ideas for you to draw upon in designing your own well-being framework.
Mental health workplace well-being initiatives
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Mental health can be addressed through a formal EAP. EAPs are defined as work-based intervention programs designed to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological well-being of all employees. Visit the EAPAA website for a list of members who can help you design an EAP for your business.
- Mindfulness program. Normalise talking about mental health through mindfulness programs. Smiling Mind is one such program that offers mindfulness and meditation training, a workplace app and tools to support workplace culture.
- Education. Grow the mind through free or subsidised education opportunities both for work-related improvement and self-development.
- Financial well-being program. Access to financial experts who can help people budget and plan their finances will give people more control over their money. Flexibility around pay to assist with stressful personal circumstances will also make employees feel supported.
- Work-life balance. This is a bit of a catch-all phrase so think about what it means for your team. For example, working from home can lead to employees feeling that they must be available 24/7, which diminishes work-life balance rather than improving it. The ‘right to disconnect’ is gaining momentum; Victoria Police won this right in recent negotiations. Would it be a good workplace well-being initiative for your team?
Physical health well-being programs
- Incentivise fitness. For example, Qantas offers points to their health insurance customers through an app that tracks their steps and activity through wearable devices. Consider a similar initiative for workplace well-being where staff get benefits for staying active even when they are outside work.
- Oldies but goodies – on-site gym, subsidised gym membership, yoga or exercise class in the office, bike parking facilities, showers and lockers.
- Healthy eating. Make it easy for staff to access fresh food. Cooking demonstrations and classes can be a fun way to educate staff on making healthier food choices.
- Walking meetings. Set a target of 1-2 walking meetings per week where staff walk in a nearby park or do laps around the office on a rainy day.
- Height adjustable desks. Through your office design, give all staff access to a height adjustable desk during their workday. Invest in laptop stands for home workers.
- COVID-19 safety. It goes without saying in 2021 that COVID safety is all-important. Communicate clearly what you are doing in this area to keep staff safe.
Organisational health well-being initiatives
- Health and well-being start at the top. The culture and leadership of a company make all the difference to workplace well-being. Companies that pay lip service to workplace health and well-being will soon be found out by employees. Resources need to be allocated and time made available.
- Collaboration opportunities such as clubs and charity work. Being connected and feeling part of a team is important for workplace health and well-being.
- Recognition. Managers who take the time to give praise and recognition will build stronger relationships and engender loyalty. Asking staff for their ideas and feedback is another way of showing recognition because you are giving them a voice that is heard.
- Flexible working. People are 12% more likely to report being happy at work if they have freedom and autonomy.1 Working from home is now part of the standard working model, but true autonomy will give employees the choice about when and where they work.
- Diversity and inclusion. Support all groups within the workplace with diversity and inclusion programs and training.
- 69% of businesses reported better employee satisfaction and engagement after implementing healthy building features.1 The WELL Building Standard v2 is a roadmap for ‘creating and certifying spaces that advance human health and well-being.’
For more information on workplace designs that promote wellness and well-being, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.
1. Hassell and Empirica Research cited in