With workplace absence costing the United Kingdom’s economy £18 billion pounds each year – and predicted to rise to £21 billion by 2020 according to research by the Centre of Economic and Business Research – employee wellbeing is a trending topic within HR departments at the moment.
Absences are not the only problem, according to the Office for National Statistics the output per hour worked in the UK in 2015 was 16.6% lower than that of other G7 nations.
But focusing on employee wellbeing is likely to increase productivity, an NHS Health and Wellbeing report shows NHS Trusts with higher wellbeing scores perform better financially, have higher patient satisfaction and registers fewer acute infections among staff.
Thinking of that, we’ve listed 8 simple things you can start doing to boost employee wellbeing: Natural light Natural light has the power to boost mood, energy levels and productivity.
A study by World Green Building Council shows workers that are exposed to natural light sleep on average 46 minutes more than those who are not, and that translates into a 18% increase in productivity.
Guess it’s time to open those blinds!
A splash of colour
Dull grey offices are a thing of the past – or at least they should be. University of Texas researchers have found that bland grey, beige and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression.
On the other hand, scientific studies have shown how colours can profoundly impact our productivity.
Green and blue can improve efficiency and focus. Red increases the heart rate and blood flow, making people more alert.
Yellow triggers creativity and innovation. You are what you eat Cliche of the century, mind you. But if it’s become this much of a cliche, there must be some truth to it.
If your employees eat healthy food, surely they will be healthier, feel better, be more productive and take less sick days.
A few of the things you can do to stimulate healthy eating is offering free fruit, having healthy options at the cafeteria and vending machines and providing a space where staff can prepare healthy food.
Implementing a flexible working policy reduces stress and enhances your employees’ work-life balance.
Many companies who adopted telecommuting have seen their productivity levels through the roof – Best Buy, British T4 Telecom, Dow Chemical show that teleworkers are 35-40% more productive, and American Express employees who worked from home were 43 percent more productive than workers in the office.
But you don’t need to go fully remote to see the benefits – allowing your employees to choose when to come to the office or to split time between remote and presential work brings benefits too.
Your staff can avoid rush hour commute by comping to the office later – in 2016, the Royal Society for Public Health published a report suggesting commuting can negatively impact both physical and mental health; and they can work when they feel more productive and arrange their work schedule so that they can attend doctor appointments, for example.
Contribute to gym memberships, create running or walking clubs, stimulate workers to take part in sporting events by sponsoring them, stimulate cycle or walk/run commutes by having cycle racks and showers available – do whatever is within your reach to promote exercise and fitness among your employees.
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, increasing alertness. Endorphins released after exercise improve mental health, and energy levels go up too because exercise intensifies your body’s ability to transfer glucose and oxygen throughout your brain and body.
Being active also means an overall better physical health and boosts the immune system.
Breaks for the win
Do you have a break room where workers can chill out, relax and take their mind off work?
If not, it might be time to think about one. Recent studies have found that a break once an hour increases work productivity.
It is important to encourage employees to take their full lunch break too and avoid eating at their desk.
Taking a proper break is a proven way to sustain concentration and enhance creativity.
People have the chance to socialise with members of other teams when spending some time at the break areas too, enhancing the potential for collaboration.
Say “thank you”
From simply saying ‘thank you’ to developing an employee reward programme, there is a range of ways to make your staff fell valued and appreciated.
Counselling A CIPD report shows mental health and stress related absences are the second biggest cause of absences in the UK, only losing to minor illnesses such as cold, headaches and stomach upsets.
Making a counselling service available to your employees could be the support they need to go through a time of stress or poor mental health, reducing recovery times and making them feel worthwhile and appreciated.