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The importance of workplace wellness – strategies to create happy & healthy workers

The importance of workplace wellness – strategies to create happy & healthy workers

What can be more important to you other than being happy and healthy at the workplace? If your answer is profits, customer service and market share, this article is for you!

What can be more important to you other than being happy and healthy at the workplace? If your answer is profits, customer service and market share, this article is for you!

Most part of our life is spent at our workplace. Therefore, any issues that your people have regarding the surrounding, wellness, health or being unhappy is something serious and needs to be addressed. If you fail to establish a culture which encourages wellness and happiness, your people are more likely to be less attracted to your business. The reason behind this is that the employees these days give more value to job satisfaction and happiness over pay and other benefits. No doubt, spending time and resources on building a strong vision and brand is important. But, the most important element of your business which does not come in the above-mentioned list is ‘your people’.

What steps have you taken to ensure that they are doing well and happy? Recently, we compiled all our resources to understand which are the factors that have the most effect on the happiness and well being of people at the workplace. When it comes to feeling happy at work, factors such as enjoyment of role, trust and balance between work and life are more important to employees than salaries. 

Tips to improve workplace wellness:

Emotional Intelligence training

Superior emotional intelligence (EQ) contributes greatly to improving the performance, wellness and stress level of your workers. Sounds like a dream come true, right? In order to effectively come up with a culture of mindfulness and self-reflection, training sessions or even ‘lunch’ and ‘learn’ should be done. These sessions provide practical exercises and takeaways to help in improving EQ.

Here at The Happiness Index HQ, we have an in-house specialist who has empowered us to diagnose our EQ personality types: 

  • Emotional – expressive, empathic, creative, energetic 
  • Instinctive – knowing decisive, territorial, conviction, certainty 
  • Rational – logical, organised, objective, process-driven 
  • Reflective – intuitive, self-aware, insightful, visionary 

This test is of great help as it helps in understanding how to communicate with each other and work in collaboration. Also, because we modify our behaviours to make sure that we complement the working practices of our co-workers, it proves to be an effective wellness technique. The test helps us in deciding when to stop if a person is more sensitive towards a certain behaviour or personality type. 

Ask daily wellness questions

One way of approaching this can be by asking your people daily a question that makes them consider the way they approach their day in terms of healthy body, mind and working practices. It is not necessary that you collect their responses in a verbal or written way only. Simply asking the questions will also result in the individual taking time and considering their choices and answering internally. This also helps your people to think positively and make necessary changes to their working practices. Here are some examples of the questions that can be asked: 

  • “What are your personal goals toward your own health and well-being today?” 
  • “What form of exercise will you partake in today?” 
  • “What can you do today that will make you happy?” 
  • “What can you do today to improve someone else’s day?” 

Focus on flexibility but respect personal time

“Working nine to five” IS A PRACTICAL MYTH these days! Thanks to modern technology, people expect to be given the ability to complete their duties even if they are away from the office. People can work regardless of the country they are in or the time – whether it’s day or night. If everything will get done systematically on time, is it even necessary to have someone physically present at the work desk? 

However, not everyone can deliver their work effectively from home. Therefore, it is crucial to know what your people are comfortable in and what works best for them. If there’s someone who does work from home very well, allowing that person to work from home would lead to a boost in his/her performance and also will give him a break from the stressful commutation and the stress of office politics. 

Consider The Losada Line

This strategy has been borrowed from the workplace psychology guru Shawn Achor and his book The Happiness Advantage. This theory revolves around focusing on the number ‘2.9013’.

According to Marcial Losada, who was a famous mathematician, this is the ratio of positive to negative interactions required to make a workforce happy and ultimately successful. In short, to wipe off the feelings of negativity and sadness, all we need is three positive comments or experiences or even expressions. Dropping below this ratio will affect your worker’s wellness and performance. This is a result of a drop in his/her performance. However, if your ratio goes to 6:1, then you are in the golden range. Here, you will be having the highest performance and the workplace wellness also increases extensively. Therefore, start giving out compliments to your people and ask them to do the same to others. It is a win-win situation for both of them.

Sleep happy, wake happy

A self-reflection exercise that encourages positive thinking is another powerful approach to the problem. This, also, is a by-product of the Losada Line. All you have to do it is that before you go to bed, rewind the entire day. Think of 3 good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours, even if they are not of much importance. This action of yours makes sure that your mind is filled with positivity and a good feeling and thus you start to see the goodness in everything that’s around you. 

Encouraging your people to do this will result in you having a team of happy workers who have the ability to find positivity in every situation.

“It’s better to give than to receive”

Businesses are quick to invest in perks in their mission to boost wellness and productivity. But, the truth is that it takes way more than that to make a sustainable difference. By partnering with the local environmental drives or charities, you enable your people to help others and experience how their efforts can bring about a change on a bigger scale.

This will give them a sense of purpose and make them proud of being able to work for a business that actually cares about real-world issues. This feeling, in turn, will improve your staff wellness and happiness. We have recently partnered with Hope for Children, a charity that helps in enriching the lives of the underprivileged children around the world. If I were to talk from a personal point of view, I find it extremely motivating that the harder we work and progress, the more we will be able to contribute to this noble cause. 

If you need to be convinced even more, this action of yours will also help you bolster your relationships with your customers. The UK Small Business Consortium has demonstrated this in the following way, “88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”

Use your space cleverly

Many companies are trying to recruit resources straight out of the university. Also, many students are used to the modern hot desking approach that promotes flexible working. The reason why these non-corporate office style designs are extremely popular is that the businesses need to be agile in order to keep up in competitive markets. 

If you wish to further promote this flexible approach, small tweaks to your existing office to maximise your space can be done, while encouraging collaboration and catering to different working styles/needs. Interactive walls that people can draw on, offices that moonlight as breakout areas or even nap rooms when not in use are some of the examples of what can be done. Maybe, you can turn your conference room into a game room so that people can play a game of table tennis during breaks or during a meeting. You can consider getting power sockets installed in comfortable chairs so that the people can plug in their laptop and work with comfort. One important thing which can be fit into the office design is health and fitness. If you install furniture that doubles up as exercise equipment, you’ll be encouraging your people to be less sedentary at work, thus helping them avoid a major health risk. Examples of these can be standing desks, exercise balls for chairs or treadmills with laptops attached to it. 

There is no end to the options that are available. Find the solutions that are the best fit for your budget and culture. Also, make it a point to take feedback from your people about the changes they wish to see. 

Fill their stomachs

The way to your worker’s heart is through their belly. If your office provides access to organic, healthy and tasty food at affordable prices, it might encourage people from different departments to come and eat together and thus socialise. 

Keeping your budget in mind, you can even provide them complimentary meals or at least some healthy snacks/fillers like fruits, salads, health bars or juices. One other option is to install a drinks fridge for people to chill after work or in between breaks. Besides all this, you can also provide them with advice and healthy eating programmes. This way, you can educate everyone on how to eat healthily and also tell them about the positive outcomes that it will have on their work and social life. 

Provide financial and retirement education

One of the mandatory employee wellness initiatives is to provide financial education that’s based on the different stages of everyone’s life and career. For instance, if the person is a new starter, you can explain about investment and how pension schemes work. On the other hand, for other workers, you can provide them with retirement coaching to alleviate concerns and prepare for a future where they might be unemployed. 

All this will be helpful in encouraging thoughtful career planning, creating positive changes and to be able to demonstrate your care for everyone’s well being. 

Communication is key

The cornerstone of a healthy and happy workplace is Communication. Creating an environment that encourages and gives everyone the power to share their feelings/concerns is a very healthy technique. You can consider implementing a flexible feedback programme that allows each and every individual to put forth their concerns and express sentiments. 

Workplace wellness is the most important factor when it comes to high performance, high retention rates and high revenue. If you follow the above tips properly and concentrate on your people and their well being, you’ll be able to create a culture of health and happiness. This, in turn, will make your workplace more attractive for new talents and help you become a workplace for the future. To get more guided approach by our team of experts, connect with us in the contact us section. We will help you to achieve your goals faster.

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Ms. Nivedita Chandra

IIM Calcutta Alumni & B.Tech Computer Science. More than 17 years of experience in driving HR Transformation across Global and local organisations. Worked extensively in improving employee experience through technology. Industry experience ranges across Automobile, Manufacturing, Banking, Educational, Technology, and Logistics companies.

Leveraging the synergies of both her consulting and leadership coaching experience, she created ValueMined – A Consulting and Coaching firm to mine hidden value of human and digital potential for organisations and individuals.
 
After 20 years of a corporate & entrepreneurial journey, her biggest achievement is having worked with people across the 6 continents, learning different cultures, ethics and values. She believes that no matter how different we may seem on the outer, we are all the same at our core.