1. Introduction to Wellbeing
Wellbeing means different things to different people.
Wellbeing is defined as the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose. More generally, wellbeing is just feeling well.
There are many things that contribute positively or negatively to wellbeing. While work is one element, wellbeing can also be affected by what's going on at home and other areas of your life. In general, wellbeing can be broken down into 3 main areas:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Finance and money
Each of these may have several facets, for example, mental health may incorporate emotional and spiritual health.
While organisations have a role to play in wellbeing, individuals must also take responsibility for their own wellbeing (although they may need support to do this from time to time - see wellbeing support).
What is known is that wellbeing will have an impact on how someone performs at work and absence. Supporting wellbeing can therefore have positive outcomes for both the individual and the company.
Companies can provide a range of wellbeing support for employees. A good starting point is to have a wellbeing policy (see template wellbeing policy). You can also provide information and signposting (see wellbeing signposting).
Other supports that companies may consider are:
Employee Assistance Programmes: where employees have access to support which may include general information through to counselling. These may also be provided as part of a health care package.
Mental Health First Aiders: you can have a trained mental health first-aider (within the workplace or appoint an external first-aider who employees and/or managers can contact if they have concerns).
Wellbeing Apps: where employees can access information about wellbeing via an App. These can include information about all areas of wellbeing (e.g. physical, mental, financial)
Targeted wellbeing interventions: where you run wellbeing surveys and then there are targeted interventions by external wellbeing support based on survey results.
Yoga (or similar): some organisations offer yoga classes e.g. yoga at your desk over Zoom or video link. This can help with physical and mental wellbeing.
Other health related benefits or activities: this might include gym membership, cycle to work, organising company events (e.g. a sponsored walk for a local charity)
One of the best ways to assist employee wellbeing is to have a supportive culture. This will mean different things to different companies, but it may include:
- Ensuring there are regular check-ins with staff (especially those working from home or remotely). For example, you may want a daily 'Zoom' with all your team and then weekly 1-2-1 check ins.
- Having a supportive management style where employees feel they can raise concerns and ask for help (this is a whole topic on its own!).
- Make sure employees are clear about what is expected from them and have clear boundaries. This can significantly help employees as it will help them feel in control. See Job descriptions and policies.
- Consider the design of job roles around the key stress factors (as set out by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive)) of control, demand, role, relationships and change. Make sure you have a stress risk assessment in place. Where an employee has a particular concern, you can also carry out an individual stress risk assessment. See template stress risk assessment and individual stress risk assessment.
The pages on signposting give further guidance and can be used to provide information to employees on physical, mental and financial wellbeing.