QUESTION: Mental health and wellbeing are getting a lot of focus in Ireland. I was hoping to get some advice on how to incorporate some aspects into my workplace to help improve wellbeing?
Staff dissatisfaction at work and stress at work have become significant factors for employers to contend with. This poses a concern in itself, separate to the significant cost of managing these for the employer. IBEC (2011) stated that 11 million days are lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5 billion which highlights that improving employee wellbeing should be at the core of employer agendas and will in general be in the best interest of the all team members.
Benefits: Improved workplace wellbeing can lead to sustained improvements within the workplace including increased creativity, improved employee loyalty, improved productivity and better overall customer satisfaction. In light of this information, many employers are now concentrating on workplace wellbeing initiatives and have achieved considerable improvements from doing so. Ensuring wellbeing is inherent in the workplace will give rise to benefits such as retention of healthy happy employees, decreased rates of illness/injury, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, increased morale and satisfaction.
Mental Health: By reducing stigma and creating awareness within the workplace the organisation can be at the forefront of recognising what constitutes mental health, how to reduce workplace stress and how to assist others. This will place the organisation in a more positive position to significantly assist the management of mental health issues with its employees – the Company’s most valuable resource.
How Do I Introduce Wellbeing Into My Workplace?
Information: According to the findings by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF), many of Ireland’s workers want to become healthier and would like to see their employers playing a role in this. Provide information on general wellness ideas i.e. group walks after work, charity events i.e. Darkness into Light, nutritional ideas, following Operation Transformation etc.
Communication: Meet with employees on a regular basis one to one to discuss performance and goals. Have brainstorming sessions with your team for improving happiness and well-being at work.
Culture: Create an open environment for employees to learn about their own well-being and share ideas with their colleagues.
Identify and Assess: Review the organisational systems e.g. material conditions, work, productivity, income levels, stability etc. Understand that these elements intertwine with employees wellbeing on factors such as autonomy, competence, feeling safe and secure, being connected with others to create happiness at work.
Training: Provide training on a number of topics to help reduce stress or to create awareness; time management, wellbeing and mental health awareness, dignity and respect etc.
The HR Suite can advise you and your organisation how to be proactive in introducing wellbeing awareness to your organisation. If you require further information or advice on the above, please do not hesitate to contact our HR Consultants on (01)9014335 or (066)7102887 or email us at email@example.com
Kelly O’Connor, HR Consultant