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Nov 13, 2023
As leaders and policymakers realise the importance of taking care of employees’ mental and emotional safety – not just their physical safety – investing in a workplace culture prioritising wellbeing is quickly becoming paramount.
Before delving into how to create a culture of wellbeing, let’s start by understanding what workplace wellbeing is.
Wellbeing includes physical, mental, social, and emotional health. It’s a state where we are happy and satisfied – we feel good about ourselves and the world around us. It doesn’t mean we live stress-free lives; it means we are equipped to effectively navigate life’s everyday challenges, both personally and professionally.
Full-time employees spend around 20% of the year in the workplace. That’s a significant amount of time away from family and friends, so it’s important your employees feel valued and mentally safe when they are at work.
Poor employee mental health costs Australian businesses billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and is the leading cause of absenteeism. While the economic figures are staggering, there’s also the human cost to consider. With one in five adult Australians experiencing some sort of mental illness in the previous 12 months, organisations that prioritise workplace wellbeing can take an active role in helping employees create healthy and balanced lives.
A workforce with high levels of wellbeing is more engaged, productive, and motivated. It also tends to have lower absenteeism rates and greater loyalty to the organisation. When employees feel their wellbeing is valued, they are more likely to contribute their best to the organisation’s success.
Workplace wellbeing is more than acknowledging awareness days and providing a weekly free lunch. It’s a strategic leadership commitment to fostering a culture that sets the tone for the entire organisation. It’s a commitment that shows employees they are valued and that there are policies, systems and supports for physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
These could include policies on reporting and handling bullying or harassment claims or rules about contacting employees after hours. The policies you set for your workplace will be unique and should include any relevant legislation for your industry and be guided by input from your employees.
Once you’ve committed to workplace wellbeing, consult with your employees to find out what’s important to them and what issues they’d like to see addressed. You can send out a survey or use a tool like the NSW Government Workplace Wellbeing Assessment to gather feedback.
These insights will help you form an action plan to find the tools, resources and supports that meet your needs.
Fostering a culture of wellbeing is not solely the employer’s responsibility. Employees must take ownership of their wellbeing as well. You can encourage employees to actively participate in wellness programs, take advantage of available resources, and make healthier choices in their daily lives.
Open and transparent communication is key to fostering a culture of wellbeing. Regular updates, workshops, and feedback mechanisms can ensure that employees are informed and engaged.
Creating a mentally well workplace won’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term commitment to changing your organisation’s culture and mindset. Building a supportive community within the workplace is crucial for employee wellbeing and takes time, but it’s worth the investment.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. Cultural change isn’t a simple task; bringing in outside support can make the process easier and more effective for everyone.
Ongoing analysis will help you measure results over time. These metrics could include improvements in employee satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced job performance.
As more emphasis is put on creating a culture of wellbeing in the workplace, it’s becoming more than just a nice-to-have or box-tick idea. Prioritising employee wellbeing is now a strategic advantage and the future of work. It benefits your organisation and employees, reducing operational costs and creating an environment your employees genuinely enjoy.
If your organisation is registered in the Albury LGA, you can access 12 months of AI-powered chat-based mental wellbeing for your employees at no cost to you. Registrations for the Albury Regional Mental Health Initiative are open until 20 December.
Contact our team to discover how you can incorporate workplace wellbeing within your organisation on 1800 868 254 or set up a meeting.
Guides to help you uncover human resource insights, and make the right changes to improve team delight.