Wellbeing at work - why it matters?

Candice Tomlinson | 18 February, 2021

            Wellbeing at work

Wellbeing is a rather topical concept and one we’re all well familiar with. However, there’s often a gap between what we know and what we do. Let’s face it, we know what we should be doing to ensure wellbeing and balance in work and in life yet implementing these key actions on a consistent basis proves to be rather tricky.  

Truthfully, we all know all too well that having that third glass of wine on a Friday night is most likely going to leave us with a cracking headache the next morning, however I am sure that we can’t all say that we always abide by the ‘no more than two drinks’ rule. This is because, as humans, we struggle with bridging the gap between what we know and what we do. And it’s not surprising that this also holds true for organisations, as is clearly represented by the World Health Organisation statistic which estimates the global cost of lost productivity due to depression and anxiety disorders is valued at $1 trillion.

Over and above this, we know that it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Australians experience mental health conditions every year. And mental disorders account for 13.3% of Australia’s total burden of disease and injury, at a cost of $20 billion annually in lost productivity to the Australian economy. 

So, it’s pretty clear from these statistics that wellbeing should be a pivotal priority not just for individuals, but for organisations alike.

The perks of wellbeing!

According to a report by Willis Towers Watson, companies with highly effective wellbeing programs are twice as likely to significantly outperform peer companies. This may be due to the fact that organisational health equates to stronger financial performance and better service delivery performance too. But it could also have something to do with the fact that having fitter, healthier and happier employees also means:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced sick leave and absenteeism
  • Better staff decision making
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Reduced long-term health problems

And while this is all great for improving the bottom line, what’s equally awesome is the positive impact it has on your employee’s quality of life:

  • Better work performance
  • More satisfying relationships
  • Stronger immune systems
  • Better physical health
  • Reduced cardiovascular mortality
  • Fewer sleep problems
  • Lower levels of burnout
  • Greater self-control
  • Better self-regulation and coping abilities

And these are to name but a few!

How can you, as a leader, take action?

It’s evident that there’s a very strong business case for wellbeing. In order to bridge the gap between what we know and what we do, as leaders of organisations, we have a responsibility to:

  1. Set wellbeing as a priority – recognise the business case for wellbeing and put employee wellbeing firmly on the table as a strategic priority. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has set the bar high, dedicating $1.9 billion to wellbeing in the New Zealand national budget.
  2. Embrace employee and client inclusion – get feedback from both internal and external stakeholders as to how to get wellbeing right for your company.
  3. Educate and implement wellbeing initiatives – wellbeing should be a top down approach. This is what grew Mirvac’s employee engagement from 37% to 90%.  One way you could do this is by engaging with us at EPS. We run a comprehensive Wellbeing program that is practical, user friendly and easy to implement. Our program can be tailored to your team’s needs and availability and can be run in a series of short, sharp workshops rather than eating into already overloaded full days. The program focuses on wellbeing on three levels – organisational, team and individual wellbeing.
  4. Encourage and celebrate wellbeing achievements – make it aspirational.
  5. Make wellbeing an ongoing priority – not a one hit wonder project.

What can we, as individuals do, to improve our wellbeing?

Besides berating ourselves if we do have that third glass of wine, there are many simple wellbeing strategies, tactics and actions we can employ personally to improve our overall wellbeing. In our Wellbeing program, we cover a range of these practical actions from both an emotional and physical perspective. We explore how the brain works, the brain gut connection, stress responses, both physiologically and emotionally, and stress and anxiety reduction techniques that can be utilised very easily and effectively on a day-to-day basis. We have a very honest conversation asking ourselves some critical questions about energy, balance, thoughts, fears, nutrition, sleep, tolerance, patience, lethargy and so the list continues. We start showing up to ALL of these feelings, embracing them and then deciding how best to handle them. We also help you set the wheels in motion using Martin Seligman’s proven PERMA model. This positive psychology model is hugely valuable as a foundation for improving wellbeing.

10 practical tips you can start today!

Here are 10 practical actions to tackle consistently for improved wellbeing:

  • Move – stand up, go for a walk, take the stairs
  • Focus on your breath – deep breathing techniques are the quickest stress relievers
  • Awaken your senses – a splash of cold water on your face does wonders
  • Start your day on a positive note – create a gratitude discipline daily 
  • Do what makes you happy – participate in activities that bring you joy
  • Be present – appreciate being in the ‘now’ and be aware of how you use your time
  • Get curious – ask questions and take a sincere interest in others
  • Get involved – focus on a cause or organisation that you’re passionate about
  • Invest in quality time – spend time with people you really care about
  • Celebrate your successes – acknowledge your strengths and achievements

If you’d like to explore our approach to wellbeing, start a discussion with us now.

Let’s build that bridge – applied knowledge is power!

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