Workplace wellbeing: 4 ways to improve yours

How to improve your workplace wellbeing – whether you’re an employer, manager or employee…

There are multiple motivations for companies to increase their workplace wellbeing efforts. For many company owners, the productivity benefits will be of paramount importance. Yet it also provides yet another competitive advantage at a time when great job-seeking candidates prove more challenging to find!

Of course, if you’re reading this from an individual perspective you’ll need little convincing as to why it would be helpful for you to feel less stressed, more supported, and all-around healthier throughout your working weeks. With this in mind, let’s look at…

4 ways to increase your workplace wellbeing, according to recent news reports:

1. Use your lunch breaks!

Source: HR News

This topic crops up time and time again, which is why it’s less of a surprise to hear that British workers are giving up 19 million hours worth of lunch breaks per day!

10% of professionals are grabbing lunch at their desk on a daily basis and 22% will give themselves less than 10 minutes for lunch.

However, legally, all employees working more than six hours a day should receive 20-minutes of uninterrupted lunch-break. Lunch breaks also provide all sorts of health boosts – from lifting your mood to reducing stress and increasing your concentration.

  • Managers/employers: here’s yet another message to make sure all bosses are honouring this right! If you know your employees are regularly skipping their breaks, you need to act fast.
  • Employees: take your breaks! If there’s a major reason you don’t feel that you can, you should discuss this with your manager or HR contact.

2. Move more often.

Source: HR Review

81% of British office professionals spend somewhere between four and nine hours a day sitting at their desks. This tots up to 67 days per person annually!

Alongside this, few people feel comfortable in the chairs provided and many report daily aches as a result. Although, legally businesses must conduct regular ‘workstation risk assessments’.

Research conducted with ergonomic equipment and sit-stand desks across a four-week period led to increased workplace wellbeing, higher comfort and greater energy levels.

  • Managers/employers: let this be a nudge to conduct those risk assessments and find out how your team is feeling. Explore better desk and chair options. Encourage everyone to take short breaks to get up and move around.
  • Employees: we should all aim to stand up and move at least every half an hour. Even if that’s just to pop up and down a flight of stairs, take something over to a colleague, head to the loo or put the kettle on.

3. Introduce or become a Mental Health First Aider

Source: The Telegraph

About 1 in 6 of us will experience a mental health problem at work at some stage. Full-time working females are twice as likely to encounter something of this nature. That’s a lot of the working population and may contribute up to 12.7% of national sickness absence.

Younger workers can also experience additional challenges, including exam anxiety and social media pressures alongside workplace isolation.

  • Managers/employers: why not introduce a mental health first aid person or team, dependent on the size of your business? Visit Mental Health First Aid England or St. John’s Ambulance for training details and advice.
  • Employees: you could volunteer to be a mental health first aider at work. Share some of the research behind this, alongside some of the training course details and see whether this is of interest to your employer. Here’s a recent advice piece we shared on LinkedIn for workers experiencing anxiety or depression.

4. Watch your environment

Source: HR News

64% of HR professionals believe a poor workplace environment can have a ‘substantial’ impact on employee sickness rates.

Naturally, absenteeism is of national concern as it now amounts to a cost of £18 billion a year. Think it’s always been the case? Well, 59% of people now take more sick leave than they used to a decade ago.

A more positive workplace setting is believed to provide encouragement and a sense of purpose. Great news for workplace wellbeing levels!

  • Managers/employers: this may take a spot of anonymous surveying, but it’s important to find out how your team perceives your workplace. You should also watch out for any hints of staff bullying, chronic negativity and/or low spirits. Also monitor your own actions to make certain you’re leading in a positive manner.
  • Employees: this may feel out of your control, however, you can also start with your own actions. Watch that you’re not using every chat as an opportunity to grumble, say please and thanks to your colleagues and try to respond to new ideas in an open way. Where possible, speak to a trusted manager or HR colleague if you have any concerns regarding the atmosphere for yourself or your colleagues. Of course, sometimes a fresh environment is also the best solution!

Further reading:

Managers looking to do more to increase their workplace wellbeing rates may also be interested to read:

  1. The real reason employees are calling in sick via HR News.
  2. Job insecurities are hurting your employees on People Management.

Should colleagues be friends?

How well do you need to get on with your co-workers? Should your colleagues be friends?

Over the past six months, this topic has formed multiple posts on Stylist magazine. We’ve linked these below (however, warning, some of their ads feature auto-play video).

It’s not just Stylist discussing this topic. In fact we’ve seen it raised by an assortment of news sites, lifestyle magazines and even Mumsnet.

Why is this such a conversation starter?

Most likely because the question of whether our colleagues should be friends is a complex one. Plus, at the same time, it’s a scenario that we can encounter on an almost daily basis.

To summarise what we’ve read so far:

  • Many people feel the pressure to make friends with colleagues simply due to the sheer amount of time they spend together.
  • Yet for many others, this is just a natural human bonding process and one that can run pretty deep. To the extent that it’s led to the buzzword and hashtag ‘Work Wife’.
  • Working alongside your closest friends can actually lead to better results, with studies suggesting our performance is improved through these trusting relationships.
  • That said, issues can naturally arise when friendships face difficulties and/or personal boundaries are crossed. One example described the moment a colleague confided in them about their affair with another team member. Another, the situation when a former ‘best friend’ threatened to reveal private WhatsApp messages regarding a host of work complaints.
  • Unsurprisingly, findings suggest that it’s easier to disagree with ‘non-friend’ colleagues on a day-to-day (i.e. work project!) basis. And that the ramifications of falling out with a close friend at work can be disastrous. So much so, people leave roles as a result.
  • But these are worst-case scenarios. And, on the whole, working with friends can generally make us feel good. When you’re waking up to a fresh 40-hour week, who doesn’t want that?!

So, what does this all really tell us?

That essentially there’s no set answer to this question! Actor Kim Cattrall put it well: “no, colleagues don’t need to be friends; you can just come together and do a job well and then part without guilt”.

We like this quote on several levels. Firstly, the use of the word ‘need’. If you’ve naturally become good friends and work well together, then that’s great. Yet this is by no means compulsory and it doesn’t make you a bad employee or colleague if you don’t experience this.

The main thing we draw from this quote (and the conversation in general) is how essential it is that you can simply work well with and alongside your colleagues. That you can each perform your daily tasks to your best ability.

If you can’t, then other questions come to mind. Do you need to speak to management or HR about any specific concerns? Are thoughts of colleagues causing you an inordinate amount of stress in or outside of work? Is there anything stopping you from looking for a fresh start elsewhere?

Some extra considerations

  • It’s fine to draw boundaries. You don’t have to add colleagues on Facebook and/or invite them to your wedding/birthday party/any other event if you don’t want to! It’s also okay to meet for drinks and have a laugh without revealing your innermost thoughts and secrets. And especially if you’re new to the team!
  • There are a few extra rules you may wish to follow. TheMuse shares five here – regarding boss-employee friendships, consideration, cliques, how much to be yourself, and the timing of things.

Colleagues driven you to distraction and beyond? Here are our insider tips to becoming an expert job hunter!

Stylist Sources (& remember those auto-play ads!):

Why retention matters

Why retention matters in recruitment…

It may seem odd for a recruitment agency to ever discuss staff retention rates. You may think we’d be wanting such levels to be poor so we could widen our candidate pool? Yet (while we always welcome interest from job-seekers!) this really isn’t the case.

Retention matters: to employers and employees

You could say it’s all about taking a long-term focus. Recruitment isn’t about making a quick placement. Instead, it’s about doing everything we can to find the best person for the job opportunity in question.

In the case of a permanent opening, this involves an awareness of what will attract a candidate to stay in the role over the longer-term.

Retention rates certainly matter to employees; few people want to work for an organisation where people are clearing their desks every few minutes. At the mildest level, this is unsettling to be around. And at the worst, it can fast garner a poor employer reputation (with everyone wondering why exactly nobody is sticking around!).

From the employer perspective, a strong retention rate also supports a positive atmosphere and productivity levels.

Retention matters: to the future of recruitment

We can also look further ahead. On the whole, the longer an employee enjoys working for the same company, the greater the skill-set they develop. They’ll naturally reach that point where they’ve outgrown their role.

When a business has a top team, they’re more likely to hit company goals and achieve growth. This opens the opportunity for businesses to create new roles and offer internal promotions.

Again, this may all sound counter to a recruitment agency’s interests. Surely in-house promotions don’t require external recruitment support? Yet it’s at this stage that the most qualified recruiters can assist employers in shaping their new teams.

To continue such a successful process, it’s all about finding the right candidate to fill the new vacancy created by the internal promotion. Qualified recruitment consultants will consider everything from working culture to team fit, experience, future ambitions, and more.

Retention matters: to our national economy

You can see how good employee retention rates are in everyone’s best interests – from the candidate to the employer and all of those supporting this process. Naturally, good business also strengthens our national economy. Which is why the REC (our accrediting body) is always championing such a focus.

With this in mind, let’s turn to our latest retention resources!

  1. Why 95% of top talent leaves their role, according to leading HR professionals. We shared this piece via LinkedIn. If you’re not already following our company page, it’s well worth doing so to stay on top of the latest business and career insights.
  2. Creating an experimentation culture. And explaining why workers want this!
  3. Encouraging employers to focus on staff wellbeing.
  4. Sharing more reasons why many UK workers leave their roles.

Looking for local recruitment support? Call our office today: 01225 313130.