Free ways to improve employee wellbeing
The economic climate is tricky for everyone right now and businesses are also feeling the pinch. So how do business owners ensure staff stay happy and healthy during these challenging times? The good news is that some of the most impactful changes a business can implement are completely free!
Nowadays, improving employee wellbeing and creating a great workplace culture is about more than just providing free fruit and a beer fridge. It’s about ensuring your people feel valued and supported. Here are our tips for small changes that can make all the difference.
No meetings in the first or last hour of work
Everyone knows the first hour of work is about having coffee, catching up on emails, and getting organised for the day. It’s a nice idea to keep that time free for general admin, rather than jumping straight into meetings.
Meetings that happen at the end of the day are often likely to overrun, so to avoid staff having to stay beyond their finish time, it’s worth keeping that final hour clear as well. Obviously, we appreciate this isn’t always practical as you have to be flexible for clients. However, if we’re talking about internal meetings, this should be an easy enough change to implement.
Listen to your team
The best managers are the ones that create a safe environment where staff feel comfortable enough to open up about any struggles or concerns.
One big way to do this is by having regular informal one-to-ones to see how people are getting on. During these chats, try to avoid leading statements – rather than saying, “You seem good, it looks like everything is going well”, simply ask an open question like “How are you getting on with X project?” or “Are you finding your workload manageable at the moment?”.
If someone seems particularly stressed, you could even open with, “You’ve seemed a bit overwhelmed lately and I wanted to check that everything is okay. Can I help with anything?”
Allow people to share how they’re feeling and really listen to them. From there, you’ll be able to address any issues before they snowball, and offer practical help and support.
Check in with people… and offer flexibility
If you see that someone is quieter than normal, ask them how they’re doing. If someone has been late a few times, rather than telling them off, check in with them. It could be that they have something going on at home that you can support them with. Perhaps they’d benefit from a bit of additional flexibility, or the opportunity to remotely a bit more. If there are simple things you can do to improve their day-to-day life that won’t negatively impact on your business, do them – it’s a win-win for everyone!
The same applies if someone is consistently staying late. Recognise and thank them for their efforts, but try to encourage a healthy work/life balance. Speak to them and find out why they’re putting in extra hours. Are they having trouble managing their workload? If people are unable to get through their work within their contracted hours, this is something that needs to be addressed.
People work far better when they’re given the autonomy and freedom to manage their own workload. Everyone works differently – some are more productive in the mornings, while others find they need to ease into the day with some simple admin tasks, before tackling more creative projects in the afternoon.
Allowing people to work in the best way for them will not only improve morale, but it will help you get the best out of your staff. Again, it’s a win-win!
Don’t encourage or reward hustle culture
This isn’t to say that there won’t be busy times when it’ll be all hands on deck – and, of course, you’ll want to reward those employees who step up and go above and beyond. But actively encouraging a culture that rewards people for consistently working outside of their contracted hours will quickly become toxic and lead to burnout.
As mentioned earlier, take the time to speak to staff who are consistently putting in extra hours to make sure they’re not struggling with their workload.
Have an open door policy
An open door policy is a great way to help staff feel supported. If this isn’t practical for your business, however, why not set aside an hour each week or month when you make yourself available for the team? Don’t book any client meetings during that time, and make sure that staff know that you’re there for them if they need you.
Further support and Links
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your well-being. The group offers peer support. They help to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups of mental health support we offer here.
Today’s Guest Blogger
Today’s guest blogger has requested to remain anonymous – however we really appreciate their amazingly helpful tips on helping employees in ways which aren’t going to cost your business financially.