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.

What’s your purpose at work?

How often do you consider the purpose or meaning of your work? The latest career news suggests this topic is growing in importance for many employees. Some of the findings may also surprise…

Far from any career-hopping stereotypes, millennials are looking for meaning:

The first news item that we’d like to discuss today comes from the Independent. For reference, this article classifies millennials as those born from 1980 to 1999.

Using research from education charity Teach First, we’re told:

  • Millennials aren’t really switching and swapping between careers as casually as the media might suggest!
  • More than 1/2 of millennials have actually opted to stay in the same career sector for fear of starting from scratch – or the possibility that a new route ‘will not work out’.
  • Only 19% of respondents would choose a high salary over personal fulfilment.
  • And, right at the crux of today’s conversation, this group is primarily seeking ‘greater meaning’, social impact, and a role that ‘will make a difference to other peoples’ lives’.

Managers would accept a pay cut for a sense of purpose:

Our second news item appeared in HR Review. In a separate survey focusing specifically on managers of unspecified age (so, this may also include some millennial workers), we hear:

  • Over 1/4 of British managers would take a pay cut to join a company with a greater purpose than making a profit.
  • 32% of people would leave their current role if they could not see evidence of this.
  • While 53% would resign if they realised the business’s values didn’t match their own.
  • All companies looking to recruit and retain talent should consider ‘the importance of having a defined company purpose that marries commercial success with social progress’.
  • Purpose-led employees are found to be ‘more positive, more engaged and have greater career confidence’.

In some ways, this shouldn’t surprise…

Purpose is proven to support our mental and physical health.  The sense of purpose lends us all some extra motivation. Including the motivation to stay well enough to hop up on a Monday morning and head to work. It also reduces stress and (rather helpfully!) minimises the risk of premature death.

Is finding a greater sense of meaning or purpose part of that niggle that something’s not right in your work? You may find our FAQ on ‘what next’ for your career a helpful read.

Measuring Job Quality

The first measure of Job Quality has officially been launched. What is it and what’s affecting job quality right now?

Who’s rating your Job Quality?

This measure comes from the CIPD in the form of a new annual survey. This means workers themselves will be rating their own job quality as well as its relative importance across a series of ‘seven dimensions’.

You may recall that the Taylor Review recommended such a measurement approach – and stated its importance across all job roles and arenas.

The results of the inaugural survey show:

  • Job satisfaction is relatively high at 64%. However, ‘low-level’ workers and middle managers are each facing high stress with poor support.
  • Furthermore, ‘low-skilled’ and casual workers are lacking development opportunities. 37% of this group has not received any training over the past year. What’s more, 43% say their ‘job did not give them opportunities to develop their skills’.
  • Middle managers are also experiencing the ill-effects of high stress. 35% report an excessively high workload, while 28% are facing mental health consequences.
  •  28% of middle management respondents are additionally struggling to maintain their personal commitments.

For further findings and the CIPD’s response, please refer to HR Magazine.

Thoughts from a recruitment agency…

It’s hard not to welcome any exploration of job satisfaction. This sits well with our recent report on the measurement of soft skills – something also proposed by the Taylor Review.

Both aspects are vital to the everyday functioning of our national workforce and place workers’ abilities and attitudes right at the heart of things.

The more that this is all discussed, the more employers will become aware of these topics. Hopefully leading to a happier and more productive workforce all-around!

What matters to you in your career or business needs? And what would you like to see more of on our news page? Tell us here.

World Mental Health Day 2017

Today is World Mental Health Day 2017 – no better time than to review the latest mental health work news…

Why do we need a World Mental Health Day?

Mind says more than one in six workers now face common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. What’s more, they cite work as the leading cause of personal stress.

The latest Mental Health at Work survey supports this statement. A survey of 3,000 workers says 60% have experienced a mental health issue due to their work. Additionally, 15% say their problems have led to ‘demotion, disciplinary action or dismissal’.

These stats have been shared by Sky News, that separately reveals how the Royal Foundation will be investing £2 million to the cause. Specifically to support workplaces, schools and the military ‘to make mental wellbeing a priority and make sure everyone can get access to the help they need’.

More mental health workplace stats… 

Whichever article you turn to, the findings are worryingly similar. In the region of 5.8 million UK workers have attended work when feeling mentally unwell due to embarrassment, old stigmas and fears of career repercussions. However, mental health also remains a leading cause of workplace absence – and a third of GP ‘fit notes’ (accounting for more than 5 million people) now apply to mental health matters.

What can we do to change this?

As employees, the first thing we need to do is to learn to prioritise our own mental health. Use the contacts and resources below as a starting point, alongside discussing any concerns with your GP.

Managers and team leaders have work to do help break the taboos and open up conversations and lines of support. Resources such as those from Mind may prove helpful.

Of course, employers should also recognise their role to support employees of all levels – which in turn supports the productivity and performance of the wider business. Review working practices and increase HR/team support wherever possible. For recruitment assistance, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email

Contacts & Resources:

  • Samaritans of Bath & District: 01225 460 888 (local charges) / 116 123 (free line). Confidential 24-hour support for all.
  • B&NES Talking Therapies: one-to-one appointments, plus courses and workshops. Anyone aged 18 and over that is registered with a BANES GP can access this service.
  • Mind: this prominent mental health charity offers a variety of insightful materials for individuals and employers.
  • Bryonny Gordon’s Mad World: a 10-episode mental health podcast that opens up the conversation with the help of Prince Harry, Gizzi Erksine, Will Young and more.
  • How to Reduce Stress at Work: our mini guide to help minimise this common workplace problem.

As a reminder, please always contact your GP regarding any mental health concerns. As the stats show, you are far from alone.

Burnout concerns at a high

It turns out burnout concerns are affecting people in the South more than their Northern counterparts…

Research reveals:

  • 25% of southern employees are most likely to leave their job due to workplace stress
  • 30% constantly ‘feel on edge’
  • 27% lack confidence in their ability to source alternative work
  • 16% report an aggressive management style

While this news appears worrying for the South, the national picture isn’t far improved. 22% of Northern workers cite workplace stress as their primary reason for leaving a job, and 18% of those in the Midlands say the same.

Helen Monk of Crunch Accounting –the source of this research study– comments: “it’s concerning to see a universally consistent picture of stress and anxiety caused by workplace issues. Perhaps not surprisingly, this issue seems to be affecting confidence levels and damaging self-esteem.”

We agree with Monk’s consequent suggestion that many people could benefit from ‘leaving for pastures new’.

Beat your burnout concerns:

Experience attests how high stress and reduced self-esteem can leave employees with a sense of ‘being trapped’ in their present role. Yet we’ve also seen how a proactive approach is the best way to take control and overcome some of these feelings.

  1. Start compiling your Skills & Achievements Master List. While it may feel tough at first, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your list grows, and what a boost it offers to read over!
  2. Swot up on our top tips for a Complete Career Change. This post shows how your plans can be achieved when you put the appropriate steps in place.
  3. Keep on top of the news. The latest headlines demonstrate just how active the employment market is, and how many businesses are urgently seeking skilled staff. Another sign that alternative work is out there!
  4. Check out our latest jobs! As you can see, we have a host of fantastic local clients looking for Temporary and Permanent assistance. We’d be delighted to receive your application.

[Source: HR News 25th Apr 2017]