Jane Sunley, best-selling business author and Founder of Purple Cubed
In days gone by workplace health and wellbeing used to be mainly about the physical – the avoidance of injuries at work and the like. Then people started introducing a more holistic approach with free fruit, nutritional advice, gym memberships and even in-office massage. The 21C approach goes beyond these good, though fragmented, interventions to a well-considered integrated approach encompassing physical, emotional, social, life skills and financial wellbeing.
If you’re sceptical, consider that the number of UK work days lost to stress have increased by 24% over the last six years. Yet just 39% of UK managers believe that senior management are committed to employee health (Simply Health UK).
Done well, there is an inextricable link between health & wellbeing and employee engagement. It stands to reason that if a person is healthy in all aspects, they will be firing on all cylinders when it comes to their work. High engagement and low wellbeing = burnout; low engagement and high wellbeing = disconnect; a balance therefore has to be struck. Business in the Community’s ’Workwell model’ explains this integration succinctly here.
Since you employ individuals with their own circumstances and needs, it is important that an individual approach to wellbeing is firmly in place. This not a time for sheep-dipping and hoping that it will work. Foisting stuff on people who don’t want it can do more harm than good. Ongoing dialogue is therefore essential. Digitising is a great way to ensure people communicate and provide feedback freely. You’ll ensure your approach to wellbeing is clear and transparent, fair, truly personalised, tracked, recorded and evolving.
And of course, as with all great interventions, commitment to employee wellness is cultural and must be championed at the highest level. This is not a ‘fluffy HR notion’.